Friday, July 22, 2011
Are macaroons the new cupcake?
Today's blog is a bit of a philosophical (or should that be a food-osophical) treatise inspired by a visit to my favourite bakery, The Flute and noticing that while they have a very large array of macaroons available along with their usual range, they do not do cupcakes. Well they do little cakes, but nothing I would describe as a cupcake.
I'm going to start by putting all my cards on the table - I'm a cupcake lover. Long before they became fashionable, I favoured them over a large cake. I love the individual portions, that everyone gets their share of the icing, that you can hold it by its paper case and it doesn't require a plate or a fork. In short, I'm a fan.
And I'm not alone. Somewhere in the last decade cupcakes became trendy. Cupcake shops opened, books were published, people took decorating them to an art form. It was all rather fantastic for someone like me who adores their cup portioned cake.
However, in the last year or two they seem to have been knocked off their perch by the new fad on the block - macaroons. I will be the first to admit that there is something hugely visually appealing about macaroons. Their bright colours, interesting flavour combinations, neat shape. It does engage the eye while the apparently infinite number of flavours capture the imagination.
And there is definitely an art to baking them. I haven't tried yet but I've read many a detailed description of the process and I can understand why budding masterchefs would be keen to demonstrate their skills through the production of this most fashionable of confections.
However I ask, can macaroons really replace cupcakes? For me, a macaroon is something that is served on fine china with a delicate cup of tea. They are a treat, a delictible delight.
A cupcake can also be served on fine china, they can hold their place at a high tea, they have been wedding cakes. But a cupcake is also a kids party staple. You can decorate them to look like an animal. They can be hearty and filling, or delicate and light. In short, cupcakes tick all the boxes.
So while macaroons may continue to be a sought after object of desire, I believe that cupcakes will remain popular long after we have moved on to the new fad, possibly the perfect alfajores or neenish tart. Or maybe I just like cupcakes more. Macaroon lovers, feel free to try to change my mind.