As long as we are talking about bubbles (which I did here and here and here), I should note that some people also think we are in a cupcake bubble (like this person and this person and even this person). I can’t disagree; here in SF there are three cupcakeries in just a 10 block area, each selling pretty much identical over-priced cupcakes with too much frosting.
And yet, there is something special about a cupcake. Look at this photo (taken by me, in case you thought I was just a pretty writer):
Seriously, how fun does that cupcake look? Really fun. And that, I think, is the key to the cupcake’s success. They are so little and whimsical and colorful that you can’t help but smile when you see them. Most important, they have that dollop of frosting on top. Of course it’s too much, and too sweet, but it looks like a swirly party hat, a pastel pillow of creamy goodness that you could jump right into. No wonder you can’t resist a cupcake on your plate.
When you see a full cake, it looks delicious, but also kind of serious, maybe even intimidating. You have to slice it, and share it, and then probably store what you didn’t finish, and then you have the pressure to keep eating the leftovers so that you can finish them before they start to get hard and crusty in the refrigerator. A cupcake, on the other hand, has none of those difficulties. No slicing, no leftovers, no pressure. Just pop it in your mouth (one, two or three bites…it’s up to you) and be transported back to your childhood.
So yes, there is definitely a bubble in cupcake bakeries, but the cupcakes themselves will continue to crowd out cakes, as long as we prefer fun to dour in our desserts made out of flour.