According to the WSJ, cupcakes are over. Frankly, I’m surprised that the trend lasted as long as it did. When I first moved into the city a few years ago, women were still skipping back and forth between Magnolia Bakery and a certain Perry St. stoop, a good five or six years after the last Sex & the City episode aired.
But nothing lasts forever. Especially not a (relatively) expensive sugary treat that anyone can easily bake at home. The WSJ article notes that the market, with its “low barrier to entry,” is insanely over-saturated, and people are simply tired of it all.
Something that article did not address, though I wish it had, is the fact that the cupcake “novelty,” as a quoted ibanker called it, is inherently short-lived because it isn’t seasonal. When considering seriously important issues such as dessert fads, I like to compare cupcakes to frozen yogurt. Why has the froyo craze lasted even longer than cupcakes? Not simply because froyo typically has fewer calories, less of a gender bias, and is easier to eat while walking (though these qualities do matter).
But, in a related vein, I think that people cling to froyo because it represents the coming of warm weather. Spring–what a happy thought for those sick of pumpkin pie and hot toddies. When spring approaches, all that anyone wants to do is something springy, like walk around hot and stinky Manhattan streets dipping plastic spoons into $7 cups of milk, bacteria, and synthetics topped with freezer berries and cereal bits.
I’m not arguing that froyo will be around as long as warm weather is (I’d actually be curious about sales figures during the cooler months). But from my admittedly limited perspective and supportive logic, I think that its status as an easily marketable summer treat gives it the staying power that cupcakes lack.
That being said, froyo should watch its back if artisanal popsicles ever come into vogue.