All About Cupcakes
cupcake culture

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The cupcake started to become a trendy, hipster icon when elegantly designed cupcakes from The Magnolia Bakery in New York City were featured on an episode of "Sex and the City." The popularity of cupcakes and their bakeries exploded, and people actually lined the streets to get a peek and a taste of the newest fad.

Nostalgic Cupcakes

In December 2006, elementary schools across the country enacted a health food plan designed to provide healthy foods to children in cafeterias across the country. George Mason Elementary School in Virginia went so far as to declare cupcakes as banned food. They were no longer allowed to be brought in as birthday treats.

The backlash against this declaration was incredible. And article in The Washington Post reported on the anger of parents about the ban, and delved deeper into the persona of the cupcake. Writer Brigid Schulte concluded that a cupcake evokes a sense of classic Americana. The simple vanilla-and-chocolate-icing combination is a simple food. It's a comfort good. It's easy and delicious to eat. The wellness policy that was enacted at George Mason Elementary School was in response to childhood obesity problems, but parents felt that banning cupcakes was too extreme. They were seen as a way to celebrate, a way to highlight the innoncence of childhood, and as a way for parents to make a treat for their children.

Cupcakes and Lawsuits

Jennifer Appel was a former co-owner of Magnolia Bakery, of "Sex and the City" fame, and current owner of the New York City cupcake shop Buttercup. Appel launched a lawsuit in an attempt to shut down a rivalry bakeshop, called Little Cupcake Bakeshop in Brooklyn, claiming that the bakery is too similar to her own. The rivalry between the two bakeshops focused more attention on the growing fad. Cupcakes started appearing on clothing, on accessories, and even on keychains. Cupcakes were becoming stylish, and the lawsuit between the two bakeries intensified the trend.

Appel claims that while she did not invent the cupcake, she spawned the trend in the city. While the trend is definitely spreading thoughout large cities, some still believe that the craze is still young, and that it could blow up to monumental proportions. Buttercup managers have been considering franchises across the country, taking a stronghold in cities where bakeries are already popping up. Sprinkles Cupcakes, a modernist bakery in Beverly Hills, is spreading the trend across the West Coast.