When this gourmet cupcake boom took off a couple of years ago, I couldn’t believe it. The cupcakes I’m used to are home-baked, hastily frosted and pocked with thumbprints. And before my family discovered a local cupcake café, the idea of shelling $4 dollar for a lavender lemon verbena cupcake would have made all of us laugh. Now, we do occasionally find each other lingering on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” (now into it’s 4th season). And I’ve only softened somewhat to the idea of cupcakes-for-purchase, but I’m definitely done holding my breathe for the cupcake bubble to burst.
It’s the ingenious image of the sweet and simple cupcake that propelled the treats into a $6 billion industry. We’ve all made cupcakes a thousand times. The ingredients are familiar, pronounceable items we always have on hand. Their authenticity helps us feel better about buying our kids and ourselves a $4 cupcake over a lot of other fast food snacks. But really, like most anything we eat nowadays, the cupcake represents global effort of laborers and products from places we don’t tend to think about. Check out this new graphic weighing the ingredients of this trendy personal treat: