The beginning of the cupcake craze was evident years ago when I visited New York City and stood in line at the Magnolia Bakery. My husband and I took a box of their cupcakes to a park and delightfully indulged. The cupcake craze isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Sprinkles Cupcakes in L.A. is the west coast answer to the NYC cupcake bakery, and now they even have a cupcake ATM, where you can “withdraw” cupcakes automatically on the street.
But even if you don’t have a cupcake ATM nearby to satisfy your cravings, you can get your cupcake fix on TV. Cupcake Wars is one of my favorite indulgences. Teams compete each week for the prize (everyone in my home town was glued to the set when local cupcake baker Zilly Cakes was on – and unfortunately lost).
What I love about Cupcake Wars is that although the contestants have to create a big show piece, similar to other pastry and sugar competitions, a huge part of the judging is about how the cupcakes taste, which is what we as home viewers can most relate to. The competitors tend to be owners, pastry chefs or caterers from small local bakeries around the country, so they feel very mom and pop. Some of the challenges are over the top, but the show always gives me ideas for cupcakes I want to taste, and the best news is you can find the recipes on the show’s web site.
If there isn’t enough drama as contestants try and often fail to impress the judges on that show, change the channel to DC Cupcakes where two sisters run a Georgetown cupcake shop via a reality show. The show focuses not only on the building of huge creations that the girls attach their cupcakes to (sometimes unsuccessfully – after all, a toothpick is no match for a cupcake) for parties and events, but also on the drama you’ll find in a family run business that is trying to make it big. If you like Ace of Cakes or Cake Boss, tune in to DC Cupcakes.
Still not full? Indulge in Cupcake Girls which answers the enduring question: Do they have cupcakes in Canada, too? Yes, indeed, and this show follows the owners and their staff as they seek to franchise their successful cupcake business across Canada. There’s a greater focus on the business aspect of baking cupcakes, but of course, it has all the reality show requirements of drama, tears and humor at every turn. Not to mention those amazing looking cupcakes.
Brette Sember is the author of the newly released The Muffin Tin Cookbook: 200 Fast, Delicious Mini-Pies, Pasta Cups, Gourmet Pockets, Veggie Cakes, and More!, which also includes some cupcake recipes.