In Search of Cupcakes to Love

2010/10/23 § 7 Comments

I love looking at cupcakes.  They are just so pretty!  I love their infinite variety and creativity.  I love looking at cupcakes.  But I have yet to find ones that I can actually eat.  I mean, ones that I can finish.  Ones that I can love – to eat.  Because much as I love looking at them, I don’t want to eat them.  All cupcakes, bar none, are too sweet and sugary for me.  If it isn’t the frosting that’s too sweet, it’s the cake.  Or both.  So I can take a bite…and no more.  In cupcake-crazed New York, I’ve  tried quite a number.  I’ve braved the long line at Magnolia’s West Village shop, nibbled at cupcakes while imbibing wine at Sweet Revenge, took a bite off my friend’s cupcake at Sugar Sweet Sunshine.  There must have been  birthday celebrations in the office at least once a month and there were always cupcakes.  People  prided themselves in bringing what supposedly were the “best” cupcakes in town – Crumbs, Billy’s, Babycakes, Sweet Melissa, etc., etc.  Not one has changed my  mind.  So one can safely say that I don’t like cupcakes.  I can live without them and won’t ever miss them.  {But I’m willing to be persuaded otherwise cause they’re just too pretty…}

Part of the reason why I am disappointed in cupcakes, perhaps, is because I lived in Paris one summer.  Everyday, I would pass by a patisserie on my way home and I would look in longing at all the tiny cakes displayed by the window.  I would enter the shop and look at even more delectable looking miniature cakes.  And I would juggle my finances and forego several “unnecessary” things (that coveted scarf,  lunch, drinks with friends, etc) so I could have my cake.  And I certainly ate it too.  Not only did those cakes have beautiful names [charlotte aux framboises (which is an absolute favorite ), baba au rhum,  diplomatereligieuse chocolattartelette exotique, la verrine fleur de sel] they all tasted really good.  They did.  Never too sweet.  And always with some interesting note – a fruit, nut or liqueur.

It might seem as if I’m making an unfair comparison.  After all, mini french cakes are cakes that can be made from any and all ingredients unlike cupcakes.  Or is that really?  I watch Cupcake Wars on TV and it seems like cupcakes can now be made from any ingredient as well.  But my main point here  is that  those french patisserie also seduce me with their looks.  And boy….they do not disappoint.  They taste as good as they look.  They hold and keep my interest.  Whether with a robustness of flavour, or a delicacy of texture, or with the crunch of nuts, or the tartness of fruits or the warmth of liqueur – they keep me dangling bite after bite.  While those beautiful cupcakes, so pretty they make me smile…and make my heart skip a beat sometimes…always let me down.  Always.  So cloyingly sweet.  So one-note.  Sometimes dry.  And ultimately boring.  Why can’t someone make cupcakes out of taisan?  I love taisan!  That heavenly, moist, buttery, chiffon cake.  I will eat a million cupcakes if they were taisan.  And maybe plonk a berry or two or some other accoutrements to dress it up.  Lightly.  Then maybe.  Just maybe….i will finally find a cupcake to love.


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§ 7 Responses to In Search of Cupcakes to Love

  • ro11it says:

    This blog post is genius, i found a lot of happiness reading about your feelings an thoughts on something as simple as cupcakes. So simple but super intriguing. I havent had a cupcake for years, so maybe its time for one, in honour of your blog. 🙂

  • I’m ridiculously addicted to cupcakes too. There’s something so glorious about indulging in something that’s beautiful to look at…. which is why I need to steer clear of patisseries more often than I do… even the window displays are tempting! Love the pics you included in this post 🙂 Paris in Pink

  • Bun! says:

    I will help you find some cupcakes you can eat. I know just the ones!

  • Tea Joeli says:

    Such a lovely blog:)

    thanks for your sweet comment. I’ll be in NYC in a week or so, i’d appreciate your suggestions and tips. I’m sure it’s gonna be amazing:)


  • Me too. I can’t stand US cupcakes and it’s kind of devastating to see them popping up all over Paris. It feels like an invasion is taking place and everyone is happy about it! I know Parisiens love new trends and they tend to stick with them = even more devastating. I think I can say I’ve probably taken thousands of photos of Parisien pastries and I totally agree sugar is not the top note.
    It’s way down on the totem pole of French flavors. Even though I have not eaten so many Paris pastries, I’ve had enough to know that. I do find the visuals satisfy me almost as much as tasting, sometimes even more.
    It’s all a big mystery – this US obsession with sweetness or maybe not. We’ve bought into it and it bothers me that when French pastry chefs come here they get on the sugar line like everyone else to satisfy the lowest common denominator.
    But enough of my rant.
    Love you comparison pictures!

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