Cool cupcakes

15 February, 2008
Macphie technical baker Claire Powell says cupcakes are emerging as one of the most profitable sectors for bakers. Here she tells us how to capitalise on the trend
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Mirroring developments in the US, cupcakes are attaining a cult status in the UK with an explosion of flavours, colours and frostings. Consumers, particularly baby boomers and generation X-ers, tend to be sentimental about foods that evoke childhood memories. For the younger generation, the concept of retro eating brings a sense of fun.
With their moist base and pretty pastel-coloured butter-cream toppings, cupcakes have become popular with the fashionistas. Cupcakes have very strong visual impact. Some of our bakery customers supply the premium end of the retail market - for example, Harrods and Fortnum & Mason. We've seen designer-endorsed cupcakes and others customised with company logos. People send them instead of flowers, bring them to parties instead of a bottle of wine, and celebrate all kinds of special occasions, from birthdays to christenings. Perspex cupcake tiers are now the latest fashion in wedding cakes too.Consumers can indulge without the guilt factor. These small, individual portions mean good news for bakers too. Some of our bakery customers sell cupcakes at £2.50 each or £39.99 for a gift-box of 24. On average, a cupcake uses 30-40g of batter compared to the 75-100g of batter in a muffin. For every muffin, you can produce two cupcakes. This means doubling your profits.It's important to bake cupcakes with a flat, even surface, so that you can decorate it evenly. Anyone with an eye for presentation can ice them and decorate them with sweets, sprinkles, edible letters or marshmallows. You can adapt them for different seasons or sporting events - the possibilities are endless.



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