Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Is cupcake design not meeting the masses??

I was talking to a friend the other day, who, bless her, is really impressed with my cupcaking abilities, which I thank her greatly and I love the support but it got me thinking; was she just being supper supportive? Or are the muggles (of baking) unaware of cupcake possibilities.

I know that my creations are nowhere near the best, I’m just starting out and practising hard but the creations I see on-line and ideas available in books inspire me, the possibilities look endless. However, visiting stores in London, I’m not in awe. The flavours are interesting; but the decoration is un-imaginative; boring if I’m honest.

As I said, I’m new to the game and would love to be proved wrong about this but I think the exciting stuff is State side. It’s simple. I searched for cupcake competitions, blogs and press and there were box loads in the US and I’ve read reports about the cupcake market being saturated. However, here in the UK it doesn’t seem to be so infiltrated, the cupcakes on offer are the standard twists or piled toppings with sprinkles or cartoon toppers! Is there not a market for more
imaginative cupcakes? Is the reason we seem to play it so safe, is that safe sells??

And if this is true why is it that at shows and exhibitions suppliers follow the ‘
play it safe’ suit? I can understand why a customer might want something understated and elegant, but surely the same rule goes for cake orders. Yet a recent visit to Cake International set my creative juices flowing on the cake side but was severely let down by the limited array of ‘inspirational’ cupcakes. Is there something I’m not getting???

The amount of great books and websites available, where professional and amateur alike share their experience and creations are at an abundance, but again only in the US. Is this why my friends are so impressed by my amateur creations? It seems here in the UK, unless you’ve searched for amazing websites, blogs and publications the only interaction you have with cupcake decoration is the standard twists and sprinkles.

Please don’t think I’m trying to bash the UK cupcake market, I’ve seen some beautiful twists and sprinkles and tasted the most amazing flavours. I’m just trying to work out why we seem so less ‘
push the crazy boundaries’ creative here, or have I got it wrong and its no different in the US?

I’m sorry for the rant; this all came round from taking to friends, customers and professional cake decorators plus a piece of bad press I read the other day. Cupcakes seem to be viewed as a ‘fad’ and I’m worried that they will they fade before they are fully explored. Is that all they are?
Cute?? Why cant cupcakes take a new exciting role within the cake industry? I see exciting unique pieces yet these are not available (from what I’ve seen) out there, and if they were would there be more longitude to this ‘fad’.

I would love to hear what you think, especially if you produce ‘
out of the ordinary’ decorated cupcakes for sale in the UK. Again I hope this has not offended.

Lots of love Tor xxx


  1. I agree with you. I made a batch of 120 cupcakes to sell at some school fairs last week. Took me two days to make fancy hand-made decorations for half of it. The other half had simple swirled buttercream icing with sprinkles. Guess which cupcakes sold out fast? Yes you guessed it, the boring swirled sprinkled bunch. Not fun if you've spent hours doing something different and special (in my opinion). Oh and the price was the same for all cupcakes, didn't even charge more for the hard labour that went into the hand-made lot:-(

  2. Vicks, it's the same in the other areas off crafting; things happen in the States first. Your cakes look sensational and most people just like to play safe sadly. However, hang on in there, and they will catch up! I started making dimensional cards years ago, and I'm now seeing them all the time here in the UK. I know it's cold comfort when you want to be creative, but you will get known for being different and creative. People want that for special occasions like birthdays etc. Word will travel, and your business will expand. It might just not happen overnight. Luv ya, Aunty Judith x