UPDATE: One of my loyal readers and friends (let’s just call her “M”), stopped by my office on Friday, to set me straight on my comments below about cupcakes in the Capital Region area. M told me about a new place in Saratoga Springs, of which I was previously unaware: Spa City Cupcakes. Apparently, I missed the entry about it on Steve Barnes Table Hopping blog, a few weeks back. Many of Steve’s readers echo my comments about the trendiness and novelty of the sweet treats. Even though Spa City Cupcakes’ menu items certainly evoke some salivation, I stubbornly stand by my previous opinion – it’s just silly. But I digress. M called me to task on not doing my research…so thanks, M, for keeping me honest. Now, if I could just get you to comment on the blog, instead of coming up to my office and shaking your finger at me! ๐Ÿ™‚
Trendy? Or just plain dumb?

A reader writes:

Dear Wendalicious,

So. What do you think of the TU’s article on the latest Cupcake Craze? Is it a “flash in the pan” trend or do you think it will stick?

Shannon from Averill Park

Well, “Shannon” (if that’s your real name), it’s funny you should ask me this question about cupcakes. Well, to be brutally honest, it wasn’t funny when you ORIGINALLY sent the question (back in April – sorry), but it’s funny now.

This evening, whilst driving home from a picnic in Schenectady Central Park (Schenectady’s Crown Jewel), I was listening to a podcast of one of my favorite radio shows, “Good Food” from KCRW in Los Angeles. The host, Evan Kleiman, was interviewing the owner of a strange little website called Cupcake Fetish. It touts itself as “the most comprehensive cupcake directory and cupcake review website!” Hm.

Apparently, this woman decided to embark upon a cross-country journey (she called it the “Cupcake Crawl”), sampling the wares at every cupcake joint she and her traveling partner could find. Who knew there was even such a thing as a cupcake joint? I knew about the infamous Magnolia Bakery in NYC, and the Sprinkles Cupcakes franchise and mail-order shop, but I had no idea that this was an certified food movement.

This website actually has a mapping tool to help you locate THE CUPCAKE RETAILER CLOSEST TO YOUR LOCATION. Seriously. Just look at this ridiculous website’s stats:

690 stores in 17 countries
342 cupcake reviews
83,717 Unique Visitors

Do we really need this? Come on. It’s cake. Little cake. YOU CAN MAKE THEM AT HOME!

But based on those stats, the quest for the cupcake has become a food movement, my friends. I guess it just hasn’t moved to upstate NY yet. There’s not a pin on that map within 150 miles of here, in any direction.

So, to answer your question “Shannon”, I just don’t know. It seems kinda silly, doesn’t it? All this fuss over cupcakes? In my humble opinion, I think that there’s a limit to the effectiveness of niche marketing. There’s only so much you can do to a cupcake, and when people get tired of them and move on to the next trendy thing, POOF! That’s the end of your business.

I remain skeptical. It’s most likely because I DIDN’T THINK OF IT FIRST.

What’s next, you ask? My guess is this: cooking with soil (aka DIRT). Trust me on this one – it’s gonna happen.