Closing Crumbs: The Death of the Cupcake [Update 7/14]
It’s not that I don’t like cupcakes; I love cupcakes, a lot. We have something special going on. I even volunteered to make a truckload of mini cupcakes for a friend’s party. I snuck some booze in the buttercream and the day was meant to be glorious. But nobody ranted and raved about the party happening in their mouths. Those little ingrates didn’t even kiss my feet. It gets worse: some of those very ingrates dragged me to a cupcake shop. I had to sit and watch while they rolled their eyes and moaned at every bite while I deeply regretted the money I spent on the mess of cake in my hands.
It was not my wounded pride that caused my disdain for the specialty cupcakes. I didn’t need to be told my cupcakes were delicious, I tasted the magic, I knew. The cupcakes at the shop, which will remain nameless for legal reasons (I forgot its name), were just terrible. The cake was flavorless and the texture resembled bad sponge cake instead of amazing cupcake. The icing, I kid you not, was solidified fat and sugar. So why was this shop so popular? Why were there lines out of the door and tourists snapping pictures of the display cases?
Because the shop was new, shiny and cute. It was a novelty amidst the novelty cupcake craze. Quality is not exactly expected in the middle of a craze. What was expected was a massive number of flavors for customers to feast their eyes on, albeit sickly sweet an indistinguishable from each other. The cupcakes had the added appeal of being “gourmet,” which meant fanciful decorations and fillings, and something pretty enough for customers to take pictures of and post on Instagram.
But that’s how it goes with food fads that get very popular too quickly. There is a scramble to get in on the trend, create a space that is visually exciting, and pull in customers. After fro-yo hit America like a brick, I’ve been to half a dozen gorgeous and modern frozen yogurt shops, and only one of them was truly delicious.
Hopefully, with the novelty effect of designer cupcakes winding down, the overwrought sugar bombs rolled in sprinkles and cookie crumbs will cease to exist, and my cupcakes will get the love, appreciation, and tears of joy they so rightly deserve. But if you fancy something sweet, but don’t want to give into the hype, just get some ice cream. Ice cream will not let you down.
UPDATE 7/14: Psyche, Crumbs is not closing. At least not all of their stores. Let’s be the bigger man and wish them well.