Are the Cupcake Wars Still Going? Krista Says Yes!

We bet last year that the cupcake craze would peter out, but you're not going to convince Krista of that. She competed in the Food Network show, Cupcake Wars, and she still wears that badge of honor in events in which her cupcakes are given out as desserts-Krista's Kupcakery production is going strong (Krista Lopez is pictured in the center, in the photo.) When the Port of Long Beach celebrated its 100 year birthday with a party on June 25, 2011, Krista's Kupcakery was there-looking good!

Some of the flavors Krista's Kupcakery based in Long Beach, Calif. makes include Cherry Chip, Lemon Raspberry, Banana Chocochip and Peanut Butter and Jelly.

Cupcakes are a dessert that anyone can make, everyone loves, and each person thinks they cook best. We've seen the county fair cupcake competitions in which odd concoctions win, and losers tell us that the judges weren't versed in "cupcakes". It seems you can put even a mini-pie in a cupcake or do just about anything you want, as long as there's an element of cake somewhere within the product. While ingredients and flavor are key, for professional bakers the constraints include making a profit, appealing to a broad audience, and having recipes that provide consistent results (won't fall apart or be too soft under a variety of conditions.)

Last year we swore that the cupcake craze was going to end soon. Everywhere we looked, new start-ups were launched and like Starbucks, there were cupcake stores in almost every block of major cities. Cupcakes that cost about $.50- $1 in a store bakery sell for about $3- 6 each in cupcake shops. That's a lot of mark-up (like Starbucks coffee) but the chefs say their recipes include higher quality ingredients you generally won't find in grocery stores, and there are lots of surprises inside.

We continue to meet people who claim they have the greatest cupcakes worthy of launching a cupcake business. The majority don't follow their dreams. If you analyze food trends and possible pitfalls of launching such a business, cupcakes aren't generally a staple in the U.S. diet, and unlike Subway (now one of the top 3 chains in the nation,) cupcakes aren't particularly packed with food value. They usually contain sugar, flour, eggs, oil, flavors, and a sugar-based icing. They're filled with calories and will put you on a sugar high. As for being healthy, they're not. People eat cupcakes as a treat, and most don't eat them as part of their regular diet routine. It's simply a consideration in launching this type of venture. Most successful cupcake stores offer catering, which often sustains them.

The Cupcake Wars seem to still be going strong on the Food Network. Now in its third season, the food competition pits four cupcake bakers from around the U.S. against each other in each episode. Winners of the episodes go on to compete to become the grand prize winner for the season. That person gets $10,000. The show can be seen on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. (8p central time).



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