The Chronic Cupcake Condition

Ever since the episode of Sex and the City where Sarah Jessica Parker and Cynthia Nixon sat outside the Magnolia Bakery in New York devouring cupcakes and gossiping, cupcakes have become the Louis Vuitton of the baking world.

They are the crème de la crème of baked goods, and are being styled, photographed and marketed like supermodels at the envy of wide-eyed spectators.

Rainbow frosting, glitter and sprinkles have become the thickly spread cupcake cosmetics which draw us into a life of being subjected to sugar seduction by glossy magazines, books, blogs and websites.

But why has everyone succumbed to this apparently chronic cupcake condition? Was the simple Victoria sponge not enough for our ogling eyes? For our ready-meal generation, cupcakes are the ultimate in convenience foods. They are cheap, speedy to bake, versatile and have a wonderful novelty factor about them. They are easy to personalise for weddings and birthdays and best of all, they are (usually) mess free!

So with cake-cutting being a thing of the past, is the ever-growing cupcake phenomenon a pioneering movement inherent to our futures? Or is the humble cupcake more importantly a forgotten treasure of our past, which has been reinvented for the fast-paced consumer market of today?

The simple butterfly fairy cakes we made with our grannies are a distant recollection as we venture into the aesthetically dominated, specialised future of cupcake design. Has the recent cupcake fashion saturated our society because of a hazy memory of our beloved granny's cupcakes iced with a nostalgic, yet glamorous swirl of candy pink buttercream?

Cupcakes are certainly not the most recent creation, however, our society's growing obsession for them whips up an increasing demand for the little luxuries. They are popping up in chic bakeries, roadside café's and even schools all over the world, in hundreds and thousands of charming guises.

Is the cupcake condition taking over our lives because of convenience, passion for aesthetics, childhood memories, or a combination of all three? Will this fascination with these grown-up childhood treats linger as an integral part of our society? Or will the trend be over faster than you can gobble down a cream cheese frosting swirled, glitter topped vanilla cupcake?

By Sanjana Modha

Delve into all things cupcake related in our Cupcake Corner.