Sunday, 1 February 2009

Let them eat (cool) cupcakes

Typically the UK press are kinda slow to catch onto the fact that cupcakes are "cool", however recent press articles make me think that they've finally caught onto the craze. The most recent article was in yesterday's Times.

And in these scary economic times, who can blame us for wanting to indulge in a candy-coloured treat? “Even in a credit crisis, people still have birthdays and weddings,” Swift says.

So, as Woolies lies emptied of its very shelving, the bakery business continues to boom. Primrose Bakery has just opened a sister store in Covent Garden. This, in turn, is rubbing shoulders with Candy Cakes, which is also expanding to more sites; meanwhile The Hummingbird Bakery (patronised by Elle Macpherson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Minnie Driver) is hoping to open its third store this year. “We were worried that it might be quiet because of the credit crunch, but it’s been quite the opposite,” says Tarek Malouf, the owner of Hummingbird. “We’ve had our busiest quarter since we opened.” For those who can’t face the queues, The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook is out in March.

The article mentions that Madonna and Nelson Mandela bought their birthday "cupcakes" from Candy Cakes (although I still class those as large iced muffins personally), and mentions the long running debate about the difference between fairy cakes and cupcakes - I've always thought the difference is cupcakes have frosting (ie buttercream or cream cheese frosting) and fairy cakes have royal icing (water and icing sugar) although they, via Waitrose Food Illustrated mention size as another factor!

This was also of interest;

Matt McAuliffe, product developer for M&S, recently spent a week studying at the Institute of Culinary Education, in New York, in an attempt to construct the perfect cupcake for a spring launch nationwide. “In America, the ratio of sponge to buttercream is about two-thirds to one-third. That’s really sickly — it has been hard to make it palatable for British tastes,” he says. “But at the same time, we wanted to have the spectacular icing.” His solution was to use fresh fruit to flavour the buttercream, and to fill the centre with fruit compote to add a touch of acidity. “There are lots of cupcake places in London, but we want to spread the trend nationwide,” he says.

I do hope that Marks and Spencer's are going to start doing some lovely cupcakes rather than the dodgy mass produced supermarket ones I've had so far!

The article has led me to plan a trip to Spitafields Market to check out Lily Vanilli's new stall there - I've had her fantastic cupcakes at Vintage Heaven and can't wait to try more :)

I think I should support these businesses during the credit crunch and buy more cupcakes!! Wonder where the third Hummingbird is going to be!?* And isn't it funny that not having cupcakes at a "celeb" wedding is now considered a faux

*just read this article re cupcakes in Friday's Times and the 3rd branch is going to be in Soho..wuhu within walking distance of work (just)!
Pic courtesy of Lilly Vanilli doesn't it look gorgeous!

1 comment:

lily said...

hey thanks for this!! the stall is at Swanfield market - just off brick lane. I'll be there every Sunday from 11-6 - come along! theres music & art & lots of cakes x lily