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Old 02-21-2011, 11:16 PM
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Laura Laura is offline

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Default will donuts and whoopie pies become the new cupcakes?

The Toronto Star:
The next baked thing: Cupcakes’ days numbered?
Published On Tue Feb 15 2011
Eric Vellend
Special to the Star
For more than a decade, the cupcake has ruled the pastry case with a pink-gloved fist. And for as long as she’s been the queen of desserts, food experts, pastry chefs and anyone with a sweet tooth have been trying to predict the next pastry to steal her crown.

For a while the French macaron looked to be a contender. The Parisian sandwich cookie, made from delicate meringue wafers and satiny buttercream, comes in dozens of flavours, a rainbow of bright colours and has developed a cult-like following among the city’s bakery hounds.

The precious pastry, however, wears its beret a bit too proudly and never became a pop culture sensation like the all-American cupcake. But ultimately it comes down to production and value.

“Macarons are hard to make; cupcakes aren’t,” explains Lesley Mattina, owner of OMG Baked Goodness in Brockton Village. “The skill and labour involved makes macarons really expensive for what you get.”

Mattina, whose signature pastry is a vegan chocolate cupcake, has seen no sign that the hand-held treat is losing steam. She regularly puts together huge orders for birthday parties, weddings and corporate events.

“A lot of people say the cupcake is going to go away,” she says. “I don’t think that’s true. Cupcakes are classic, easy and approachable.”

The passionate pastry chef is hoping that gourmet doughnuts become the next baked thing. A lifelong fan of “fried dough,” she recently installed a deep fryer at her shop and is now running fresh ginger doughnuts filled with lemon-lime curd as a weekend-only special.

“I wanted to make doughnuts that you can’t get anywhere else,” she says. “So far people are crazy about them — lots of OMGs.”

Michelle Edgar, co-owner of The Sweet Escape in the Distillery District, has also has added doughnuts to her line of pastries this year.

Inspired by a recent trip to Dynamo Donuts in San Francisco, she’s been experimenting with flavours that you won’t find at Tim Hortons anytime soon. Adding bacon into the mix — another food trend with the half-life of uranium — has created her biggest hit.

“So far it’s been great, especially apple cinnamon with maple glaze and diced candied bacon on top,” she says of the weekend-only treat. “People love anything with bacon.”

Edgar loves playing around with classic American confections, even junky snack foods, to make them “better tasting.” She recently introduced her upmarket spin on Pop-Tarts in ginger-pear and raspberry cream cheese flavours.

“People really like them. I think it’s because they’re not too sweet.”

As for cupcakes, they continue to fly off The Sweet Escape’s shelves with red velvet being the top seller.

“Red velvet is ridiculously popular,” says Edgar, who also makes red velvet ice cream and cheesecake. “It’s pretty, a bright colour and it’s not chocolate, not vanilla, but a hybrid of both.”

Another fan of homey American baking is chef Anthony Rose, who spent his formative years cooking in San Francisco and New York City.

Since the Toronto native took over as executive chef at The Drake Hotel, he’s been offering gourmet doughnuts such as brown butter glazed and chocolate Rice Krispie, and a sumptuous line of cupcakes at the hotel’s café.

“Cupcakes were at their peak about two years ago,” he says. “They’ve slowly gone down since then.”

Before opening Drake BBQ a few doors down from the hotel last fall, he worked with his pastry chef, Karen Vineberg, to develop a new comforting dessert that could be enjoyed in the same spirit as the shop’s saucy pulled pork and chopped brisket sandwiches. Whoopie pies came out on top.

“We wanted something you could hold in your hand, make a mess out of and have fun,” he says of the New England specialty, which has its roots in the Amish kitchen.

Drake’s whoopie pies look like giant Oreo cookies and are described by Rose as “two pieces of cake with icing in the middle.”

“It’s the next cupcake,” he says proudly.

In the U.S., both the New York Times and Food Network star Rachael Ray have crowned pie as the new cupcake, with evidence of dedicated pie shops, unique flavours and innovative baking techniques to back their claim.

But the trend has yet to gain traction in Toronto and will likely stay stuck at the border for awhile. Like the macaron, pies require a skilled hand to make, and will never be as pretty or kid-friendly as the beloved cupcake.

Among gourmet doughnuts, fancy Pop-Tarts and whoopie pies, the latter seems to have the greatest potential to become the next baked thing.

Like the cupcake, a whoopie pie taps into everyone’s childhood love of birthday cake and it’s the easiest of the three to produce.

But in the end a whoopie pie is nothing more than a cupcake top sandwich.

Maybe the next cupcake is the cupcake?

Baked goodness:

• OMG Baked Goodness, 1561 Dundas St. W., 647-348-5664, Prices: Cupcakes $2.50, doughnuts $2.50.

• The Sweet Escape, 55 Mill St., Building 47, Suite 102 (Distillery District), 416-214-2253, Prices: Cupcakes $2.50, doughnuts $2 to $2.50, pop tarts $3.95.

• Drake BBQ, 1142 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042, Prices: Whoopie Pies $2.49.

• The Drake Hotel Corner Café, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042, Prices: Cupcakes $2.50, doughnuts $2.50, whoopie pies $2.50.
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Old 04-24-2012, 12:48 AM
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i hope so!
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:33 AM
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donuts are much more expensive for counter top cooking, topping the hundred dollar mark for the counter top automated donut machine. the doough goes in one end and drops out donuts the other end, small mini donuts cooked to order. looks fancy in the picture but dealing with boiled oil is always messy.
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:37 PM
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I think (hope) the cupcake will always have its place and could never be replaced. Everyone loves cupcakes! And whoopie pies are great, but not when you want a cupcake. In my opinion, donuts are more of a breakfast food, and could not ever pass for a dessert in my family. Cupcakes are fun! Cupcakes are happy!
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:00 PM
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And you just don't get many decorating opportunities with donuts and whoopie pies. The cupcake is a convenient canvas and pedestal for your artwork all in one!
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Old 08-01-2013, 12:46 AM
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Talia770 Talia770 is offline
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Cupcakes are classic, they can never die! And they are so much fun to decorate. You can't decorate a donut like you can a cupcake.
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:23 PM
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MissPotato MissPotato is offline
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Hello! It's odd bumping in to this thread. I'm from the Philippines, and here, donuts are much more (way more) daily breakfast/coffee house/snack bar staples than cupcakes are. It's the total opposite situation, actually. This year, more and more bakers have started with their cupcake businesses, both small-time and the high-end ones in malls and plazas. You can see them everywhere these days. So really, for us here, the question is becoming "are cupcakes the new donuts?" (I think I just asked my boyfriend this very question a week ago! and PS--don't ask what his reply was)
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Old 08-18-2013, 06:58 PM
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Laura Laura is offline

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Default welcome Miss Potato

Thanks for your observation on the cupcake/doughnut situation in the Philippines. Please post more from the PI, pictures if possible. I've been to Japan and Thailand a few years ago, and while I didn't get the opportunity to see if the cupcake craze had taken hold there, I can speak to the doughnut situation. (As an American, I had long thought of cupcakes per se as a completely American phenomenon but they have apparently recently become just as popular in the UK and parts of Western Europe recently).
Both Tokyo and Thailand have Dunkin Donuts franchise locations, but though I have seen little evidence of competing pastry shops/locally-produced donuts in Thailand, some of the local, independent "hole-in-the-wall" shops there sell a fried dough pastry said to be of Chinese origins that is equivalent to a plain doughnut but smaller and without as much sugar (or frosting/fillings/toppings) as Occidental doughnuts. Japan, however, has gone in the opposite direction: Besides having Dunkin Donuts, they have coffee shops at which small, high-end, classier-than-cupcakes pastries abound. They also have doughnut shops of their own, most significantly the Mr. Donut chain (I think they have some Mr. Donut shops in the PI, too, correct me if I'm wrong). The Mr. Donut shops that I've been in while visiting Japan are like donut heaven: they have many more varieties of donuts with more elaborate varieties of decorations, frostings and fillings than Dunkin Donuts (the standard in the USA). They have a lot of things I wish they had in the US, on the other hand, I've seen Starbucks in Japan and Thailand sell a lot of things I'm glad they don't have in the USA (not dogs in pastry, anything involving seaweed)!
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:45 AM
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I really doubt they will. They're just not as diverse - the ways of decorating them are much more limited, and there aren't as many flavours and fillings. Not to mention the fact that cupcakes are very easy to make yourself, whereas doughnuts can seem a bit intimidating to an unseasoned baker. Whoopie pies are less daunting but still not as fun and creative as cupcakes.
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:59 AM
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I don't think so cup cakes have been a classic staple for so long. There simple is no replacement fo a cupcake because the possibilities of what you can do and where you can take a cup cake are unlimited. Have you ever seen a doughnut at a wedding instead of a cake?
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