It seems that cupcakes are all the craze. As I flip through the glossy wedding cake magazines (yes, I'm getting married) I see the tiered mountains are being ousted by multitudes of dainty cakettes. But it's not just the wedding crowd that have gone mad for cupcakes, bakeries have started mass production too and it's not that uncommon to see people munching away on a post-lunch cupcake treat.
It seems this food fad started around ten years ago when Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey opened the Magnolia Bakery in Greenwich, New York. A few years after opening, the cupcakes featured on the TV series Sex in the City and became an international trend. Magnolia ended up with huge lines and, to cope with demand, instituted limits on how many cupcakes one person could purchase. Such is Magnolia's fame that it even has its own Wikipedia entry! In 2000, Jennifer Appel then split from Magnolia and opened her own Midtown store, Buttercup Bakery, multiplying the cupcake possibilities in Manhattan.
In Sydney, Cupcakes on Pitt (+61 2 9264 4644) does a roaring trade, but after visiting on Friday with Rob, in my opinion the frosting is a little gaudy. They don't have many base flavours either, as the cake is a choice of vanilla or chocolate and only the icing provides some variety. It's a bit squashy in there too and I almost got a cupcake-nazi vibe from the guy serving me. In short, it felt a little overrated. Still in Sydney, My Little Cupcake in Neutral Bay is also dishing out pastel-iced desserts. These come in ribboned gift boxes with a limit of one dozen purchased over the counter. Baby Cakes in Summer Hill make an assortment of flavours and colours as well, including cupcake towers.
In the Victorian town of Daylesford, Karen Brook's elegant Life's Sweet makes glamorous creations available throughout the state. Divided between designer and traditional cupcakes, Brooks produces some beautiful results such as the yoghurt and raspberry cupcake with raspberry icing (pictured); butter cake with lemon curd frosting; white chocolate with quince & rosewater icing; and Valrhona cakes with a dark ganache covering. I would love to sink my teeth into some of these. Another source, Crabapple Bakery in Prahan Market (+61 3 9827 8116), is well known in Melbourne for its wedding cupcakes. They have around 30 varieties and produce more than 5000 cupcakes a week. That's a lot of yum!