DTX Good Eats 2012
Baker's Woes

Reporter's rant: Let them eat cake — as long as it's not a cupcake

Reporter's rant: Let them eat cake — as long as it's not a cupcake

When I saw this video, “How to Eat a Cupcake, Like a Gentleman,” I couldn’t contain my laughter. Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” is the perfect (satirical) background music as a guy continuously fails at eating a cupcake.

No matter how he approaches it — from the side, bottom or top — it looks as if he’s simply stuffing his face. The only method that works is removing the bottom and putting it on top of the frosted muffin top and eating it like a sandwich. Um, that’s a lot of work. 

My angst about the cupcake trend is only exacerbated when I go to elegant parties with incredible food, and, sadly, cupcakes are served for dessert. It’s so anticlimactic, an utter disappointment.

When I hear things like “and there was no wedding cake at the wedding, just cupcakes,” I’m nauseated. What would wedding cake master Sylvia Weinstock say? Why are bakers no longer making whole cakes, adorned with chocolate shavings around the side or just simple and cleanly frosted?

I didn't learn to bake cupcakes in culinary school; the real pastry chefs focus on flat-topped cakes, even layers, poured fondant and piping — an art form that is spoiled by cupcake pans. Even my favorite bakery, Society Bakery, sells cupcakes — something I try not to reprimand them for, because their cakes are incredibly delicious.

Why is there even a demand for these paper-wrapped cakes? I really don't care to know. I'm just waiting for the craze that Sprinkles Cupcakes started to end. 

Here’s how I see it:

  1. Cupcakes are hard to eat. Half the frosting gets lost on your face.
  2. You’re limited to the size of the pan with cupcakes. But with a cake, you can cut a piece as big or as small as you wish.
  3. The moistness of the cupcake is so unpredictable. You can order red velvet every time you go to your favorite bakery, and it will always be different — and almost always a bit too dry.
  4. If you're gifting with cupcakes, you never know how many to buy. Will three suffice? Or is a baker's dozen necessary?                                                                                              

Why risk getting frosting all over your face or being dissatisfied with a sub-par treat? Ugh. If you’re going to eat dessert, do it properly. Bake or buy a whole cake with two layers — or seven, for that matter. Cut it however you like, grab an actual fork and indulge. 

You can (and should) have your cake and eat it too — just as long as it’s not a cupcake.

Sylvia Weinstock
Sylvia Weinstock — the cake master who's been in the business for more than 30 years — adds the finishing touches to a wedding cake.  Courtesy of Sylvia Weinstock
Sprinkles cupcakes
Sprinkles started the whole cupcake craze. Courtesy of Sprinkles