Alex Ritman can’t take another second of Dubai's cupcake craze
It’s a cake. A cake, but smaller. A regular, sponge-based, sickly-topped, ooh-I-shouldn’t-go-on-then-I’ll-have-three, granny’s-lost-her-dentures-in-the-icing cake, but – and here’s the crucial factor – not particularly big at all. And yet somehow, this Lilliputian, teeth-rotting piece of confectionery has folk shrieking uncontrollably and clapping their hands like performing seals. I am, of course, talking about the cupcake, the sugary scourge of modern society.
You may not believe me. You may think the cupcake is a lickle ickle cup of huggy luvvy-wuvviness. But it’s not. Let me assure you that sat in that pathetic concertinaed paper case, screaming Hello Kitty cuteness in colourful silence, lies the symbol for everything that’s wrong in the world.
Yes, I realise I’m late to the game here and that the cupcake invasion has been gathering momentum over several years. But it’s taken me this long to organise my hate into one controllable outburst. In that time, I’ve seen several hideous new cupcake outposts open, each one trying to outdo the others when it comes to hysterical, slap-your-face-we’re-so-lovable marketing. And each time I’ve seen people collapse to their knees in jubilation, before breaking down into hysterical fits of joy and gibbering like idiots over the best cupcake shop in town.
And just look at the names of these toppings. Yippee Marzipan Cuddles. Banoffee Fudgsticle Whoopsidaisy. Marshmallow Tinky Winky Dipsy Laa-Laa Po. This sort of language isn’t found in the most ludicrous of infant books and yet here it is, spelled out with sparkly ink in Comic Sans.
Of course, jolly demeanour and an assassination-worthy choice of font aren’t the main basis for my loathing. That would be ridiculous. The catalyst for this knee-jerk frothy-mouthed odium comes from how far cupcakes have seeped into modern life, how they’re replacing column inches and wasting breath that really should be used for something more worthwhile. Politics, war, workers’ rights? No, let’s all chat about cupcakes instead, shall we? Let’s push the worries of the world to one side and head straight to dessert, eh? ‘Picture researcher – can you please get me a nice snap of a Butterscotch Double-Whipped Jam-Tastic Surprise for the cover, we’re pushing the bloody massacre to page 46, between astrology and Sudoko.’
Now, I’m not blaming the cupcake alone for the rampant apathy that has afflicted much of the world. But it’s certainly up there, sprinkling its multi-coloured nonsense over anything of importance, laughing in a rather high-pitched cartoony way.
But what’s so special about the cupcake? Why not just buy a bigger cake and cut it into pieces? It’s bizarre. No one ever got so excited about trifle, which is a far superior pudding. There aren’t any dedicated digestive biscuit shops anywhere, nor do people rejoice over apple crumble. Apple crumble with a hint of cinnamon. And smothered in thick custard. Oooh, now you’re talking my language.