Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cupcakes and Pies

     There are many things I never quite get.  I could probably spend the rest of my life writing about things I dont get and things I dont fully understand.  There are those, e.g. Ara Topouzian, who will say that the list of things I don’t fully understand is endless and that things I do not fully understand is all I write about.  If I only wrote about things I know about, I would probably only have one or two postings. 

     There are trends that mystify me on some level simply because I never bought into them.  The great cupcake trend was one thing of these trends.  Certainly when I was a kid, I liked cupcakes as much as any other kid.  We were excited to see them at birthday parties and special events.  They were prepared by one of the mothers lovingly for whatever event we were at and they were alwaysdisappointing.  A slice of cake was, to me, always better.  Cakes are  better tasting because they have more layers, and hence had more frosting.  The only exception was the iconic Hostess Cupcake with the white icing swirl and the cream filled center.  Every other cupcake paled in comparison.  I do believe the recent cupcake craze was born of the childhood memory of cupcakes and it resonated, loudly, with lots of people.  I would see grown ladies get all excited when a tray or tree of cupcakes was brought out at parties and weddings.

     I could appreciate the excitement but never fully got it.  A cupcake never tasted as good as a slice of a full cake made from the exact same batter and frosting.  This is true for one very simple reason.  A full cake is always moister than a cupcake.  It is a simple fact that has been confirmed by my brother in-law John who has a gourmet cake business.

     The cupcake trend, which the business media refers to as the gourmet cupcake trend, began in the early 2000s.  Individual shops and eventually chains popped up that made exotic cupcakes that sold for $4.50 apiece.  They were all the rage.  Crumbs was a cupcake shop that opened in Manhattan in 2003.  Over the years, Crumbs became a chain that grew to 67 stores in mid-2013.  The number of locations had doubled from 2011 to 2013.  On July 1, 2014, the company closed its operations and went out of business.  In 2011, the gourmet cupcake business grew 8%, in 2013 the market declined by 8%. 

     While the cupcake fad was raging, I was wondering what happened to pies.  What they used to call a hunkof pie was an Americana mainstay of the first half of the 20th Century.  I was wondering when a pie craze was going to hit.  It seemed as logical as the cupcake fad.  To me, a good apple, blueberry, cherry, pumpkin, or pecan pie is better than any cupcake. 

     So, you have heard it here first.  There will be a pie craze.  It probably wont last long but it will be tasty.

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