If you have been in communication with me over the last month you have probably noticed that I have been distracted by vegan cupcakes – making cupcakes, icing cupcakes, eating cupcakes, preparing ingredient shopping lists for cupcakes, and reading aloud from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.
J. and I were given this wonderful book on New Years by friends in Philadelphia. That very night we discovered that cupcakes go very well with champagne. Since then I have made cupcakes for my youth group at church, cupcakes for friends and coworkers, and cupcakes for coffee hour. We’ve had dulce sin leche cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes with cookies and cream frosting, and vanilla cupcakes with lemon butter cream icing. Neighbors borrowed our new book and made chocolate stout cupcake, and I borrowed their pastry bag to have a go at the art of frosting cupcakes.
Joy was spread around the world.
This morning I was pleased to read an email from a friend with a link to the article Strict Vegan Ethics, Frosted With Hedonism, a delightful NY Times piece on Moskowitz and Romero and their forays into a world of vegan baking that is both pretty and punk.
A quick internet search shows that we are indeed in the midst of a cupcake movement. There are gourmet cupcake bakeries and cafes opening from New York and Beverly Hills to Chicago, Pittsburgh and Sydney. There are sophisticated cupcakes, arty cupcakes, wedding cupcakes and even cupcake lawsuits. And of course, there are cupcake blogs, including vegancupcakes.wordpress.com, which means that my new favorite book has a companion narrative unfolding online.
Now what does the current cupcake craze look like? Magnolia Bakery in NYC, which opened over 10 years ago, markets the old fashioned cupcake. Yet this dessert venue stays open late into the night and weekend customers often wait in a line wrapping around the block. Citizen Cupcake in San Francisco pairs their desserts with cocktails. Cupcakes are clearly no longer a mere birthday ritual confined to the assigned seating of elementary school.
So, how do you like your cupcakes? I, like the authors of Vegan Cupcakes like my single serving desserts to be vegan and delicious. While some of the cupcake bakeries, such as Dozen Cupcakes, do feature a few vegan options much of the current cupcake craze still seems to center around butter, cream and eggs (sometimes organic). With so much energy currently being put into cupcake choice as a statement of identity, and so much flavor, creativity and style available in vegan cupcakes, why not have more on the menu?
And now, I think there might be one more cupcake waiting for me in the kitchen.