Are Cupcakes the latest Economic Bubble?

Surely the seemingly endless proliferation of cupcake shops has a ceiling somewhere?

Like any of the great historical economic bubbles, saying the appetite for tiny bespoke cakes will one day evaporate is to fly in the face of popular opinion at this stage of the curve. Having started as boutique store-style operations in a handful of wealthy urban areas in the US, it seems as though there is no end in sight for global growth. There are tiny cupcake shops rising in high streets around the world from Japan to Jordan, Canada to Korea and all stops between.

You can see the appeal to the thousands of small investors who have poured their savings and home tuned baking skills into those sugar frosted store fronts. If you measured up a regular cake by the square inch surely there are much better margins to be made on their teeny cousins? And, with the average cupcake measuring roughly two mouthfuls, your customer experiences less guilt about their purchase in this age of ObesoFear™.

That’s not to say there aren’t some big players in the cupcake racket. New York’s Magnolia Bakery, which featured in that trend-setting leviathan Sex and the City (remember Cosmo-mania?) is opening stores in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo. The owners of Sprinkles in Beverly Hills, who claim to have started the trend in 2005, are working on plans for 3 more stores, aided by their background as former investment bankers.

The Cupcake Kebab - The day the cupcake jumped the shark

As with any financial craze, once the bandwagon starts rolling everyone jumps on board and heads for the promised land. Search for “Cupcakes” on Amazon Books and you’ll find 18,368 hits. CelebriChefs bake up ever more elaborate creations with a studied nonchalance implying they knew cupcakes were big all along and welcome us, the unwashed fruitcake addled masses, to the sacred new Way of Cake.

Most horribly, reality television has sniffed the way the wind is blowing and The Food Network has recently shot a pilot for Cupcake Wars, in which four teams disappointingly fail to assault each other with tiny cakes but actually compete to see who can bake the tastiest. Can’t wait.

So my questions are these then…

Are cupcakes the latest economic bubble?

It’s happened with Tulips (1630s), Railway Shares (1840s) and Comic Books (1990s)… so at what point does the market for overpriced sugary cakes become saturated?

And why does the Guinness Book of World Records have a World’s Largest Cupcake category!?!?!?!

Let’s face it… once a cupcake gets past a certain point then it becomes, once again, a cake, right?

Is it filled with tiny strippers?

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One Response

  1. is that a real cake

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