Me and cupcakes go way back. We’re talking back in the day like jack rocks and hop scotch. There wasn’t a school event or weekend party where they didn’t make an appearance. While they were fun and cute, they weren’t out of the ordinary. But in the last few years, cupcakes have made a comeback in a big way. No longer relegated to the familiar spot next to the donuts at the back of the dessert table, Cupcakes are now front and center.
There are bakeries that specialize in cupcakes, cookbooks devoted to them and sexy upscale affairs where they are paired with Champagne. It’s not unheard of to serve cupcakes in lieu of a traditional wedding cake. So how did cupcakes go from afterthought to gourmet? I spoke to Nichelle Stephens, co-founder of the blog Cupcakes Take The Cake, to find out.
RDD: How did Cupcakes Take The Cake come about?
Nichelle: The blog evolved out of our passion for cupcakes. I met Rachel, the other co-founder of CTTC, through blogging seven years ago. I was already blogging but wanted to start a blog about a different topic. We both had a love of cupcakes. It was the topic that stuck.
RDD: Who is the site for, lovers or bakers?
Nichelle: We didn’t want the blog be [written] just as an aficionado. We wanted it to be more of a medium for celebrations
RDD: What is the fascination with cupcakes? Why do you think they are so special?
Nichelle: They have a general appeal. They are pretty. There’s frosting. A lot of specialization and decoration goes into cupcakes. Also, you can have portion control!
RDD: On your blog you mention cupcake meetups. Do you just eat cupcakes or do you make them?
Nichelle: There’s a mix. The meet ups are for cupcake lovers, bakers and those that specialize in crafting them.
RDD :What should one expect when attending meetup?
Nichelle: What goes on depends on the meeting. Last month there was a cupcake picnic which was more of a potluck. There were amateurs and pro’s. Some contributed water. Others contributed wine. We’ll even have a meetup at an Etsy lab in Brooklyn. In the past we’ve even done cupcake brunches.
RDD: Advice for those hesitant about baking?
Nichelle: Just bake! It’s a science, so don’t rush it. I learned to bake from my grandmother. Measure everything out first. Take notes as to what works and what doesn’t I don’t recommend substituting low fat ingredients in a regular recipe. Don’t worry about calories too much.
RDD: Which one is your favorite?
Nichelle: A good yellow cake is important. A good baker should be able to make a good yellow cake. I like Red Velvet but there are so many variations with the cocoa and frosting. My favorite gourmet choices are caramel and sea salt, hazelnut or Nutella.
Cupcakes Take The Cake, features cupcakes from bakeries across the country. Here’s a few that made me pause. Chocolate lover that I am, I could not help but post the two pics below and pink frosting is tops on my list. The cupcake cookie is too cute. I see you, cookie! If you’re ready for more virtual deliciousness, click here.