Out with the Cupcakes, In with the Yogurt

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It seems that the cupcake fad that swept the nation with such sweet-toothed intrepidation is finally slowing down. The stores have stopped opening, though indeed the ones that did open seem to be doing just fine. The cakes are still dainty, their frosting colorful, their flavors dependable and pleasant.

Still, the little sugary mounds of goodness seem to have placated themselves into their societal niche of the food world. The excitement, the reminiscence of childhood, the chic-ness has packed up and moved on. Even the cupcake blogs have moved on to new projects or closed.

Take this site for example, once it was a prime cupcake blog, and still in some ways it is. There's a good repitoire of recipes here, and I still whisk one up once in a while. However, new interests come in and factors such as time and money, both of which I'm a little low on factor in.

But back to the decline of the cupcake craze.

It all was inevitable. Like slap bracelets, goat cheese salads, and The Spice Girls, all fads eventually oversaturate the market and we become accustomed to them. We wear them in like a good way-old pair of jeans; nothing flashy, but now comfortable and reliable. Always in back waiting for when we can use them again. Books, websites, blogs (this one included), shops, TV specials. We have accepted all cupcakes and there is nothing new about them to us anymore.

And so moves in the next culinary fad. It's been coming for a year or two now, slowly gaining momentum, but is now racing across the nation at supersonic waterslide speeds.

We have shifted to a culture of frozen yogurt (get it?).

Have you noticed? Sure there have been a few yogurt places around for quite a few years, but now it's a surge. A tidal wave of soft serve charged by weight.

But now they aren't your usual vanilla and yogurt. Now it's Tart Flavored yogurt, the intense tang coming from LIVE ACTIVE CULTURES! So neat! So new! Try it now! And you can believe there is plenty of non-fat, low calorie, dairy free and sugar free options. The most delicious whipped flavored-air you ever had.

Toppings that once offered simple selections like marshmallow topping, chocolate sauce, and sprinkles and nuts now proffer a wide gambit of options. Locally grown organic fruits, freshly whipped cream, fair-trade Brazil-nuts, and an assortment of candies, cookies, and mochi all eager to please and complicate your half pomegranate-half banana low calorie creamy concoction.

Not that I'm really knocking it. Honestly, there's a place called Yogurt Monkey here in Sac. 5 minute bike ride, $2.50 for blueberry low cal yogurt with some fresh bananas and yogurt chips? Oh so frickin' yum.

Still, cupcakes and yogurt. Can they co-exist? I think yes. Some stores of each will die once the fads fully fade, and I think they both have their seasonality. Come January, I doubt I'll be wanting cold yogurt, and in August who wants a piping fresh cupcake?

The ice cream fad really hit the food blogs recently, but I think we'll see a big resurgence soon. Flavors and combos for ice cream and frozen yogurts will be penetrating the blogosphere with alarming rate if I'm right.

Only time will tell.


  1. I noticed the fro yo fad too! All of a sudden, shops everywhere have sprouted up. I don't know if Sac ever embraced cupcakes as much as other cities but I prefer fro y anyways... I haven't tried yogurt monkey yet but there is a shop 2 minutes from my house that has been in business since I was in high school (around 2000 and probably before that) and they have the BEST yogurt ever. It's not so runny and mushy like big spoon or yogurtopia. But the toppings cost too much. I go to Big Spoon since I get more bang with buck there.

  2. There is a place near me that sells both, frozen yogurt and cupcakes. I've only had the frozen yogurt but I hear the cupcakes are pretty tasty.

  3. You what I wish would take off as a fad in Sacramento? Gelato. Gelato was kind of coming into vogue in Portland when I moved away from there to come here in 2006. I'm still waiting for the midtown area to get a respectable representation of gelato purveyors. :)

  4. To be honest...I think your post is about 6 months late. Frozen Yogurt has been on the radar for a long time now. In some cities, (I have friends in LA) it's already "out."

  5. When I was back in L.A. this summer I did notice a preponderance of fad-ish frozen yogurt places, especially downtown and in Beverly Hills.

    Here in the UK, however, we're still on goat cheese, so maybe we're a few years behind the States in that respect.

  6. Aaron - Well, LA, SF, NY and CHicago I expect to be a bit more forward than the rest of the US. I would say Sacramento is a bit behind, but we're still way ahead of the rest of the U.S.. That's just how it goes.

    But, and this is from someone who grew up in LA and OC, who cares what So Cal thinks? The collective opinion of the few blocks of trendy LA isn't worth much in my book. =P
    Sorry, but after growing up there, I'm just not a fan. ;)

  7. Angel - if you are near any Nugget markets in the Sac area - they have gelato in their deli/bakery area. YUM

  8. It's true, the new "tart" fro-yo is on its way out already here in NY (or at least I hope so). Red Mango and Pinkberry are everywhere, and they keep opening up across the street from each other which kind of reinforces the silly trendiness of it all. And it's so expensive here! Maybe I'm just bitter cause I'm not a fan myself, but I am sooo sick of all the yogurt.

  9. What comes, what goes. After all, frozen yogurt places were all over the place in the late 80's/early 90's. Then they all died a slow death. But I do prefer this tart yogurt a whole lot more and so I hope that Yogurtagogo survives downtown. I like Mochii too, but they don't serve by weight.

  10. I don't think the fad has come out to the northeast yet. I mean, there were quite a few places in the mid/late 90's, but nothing recently. Maybe it's a warm climate thing?

  11. Frozen yogurt places have always (well, at least in my 25 years of experience) had a secure place in Canada... I have never seen a shopping mall, even in remote places, without a delicious, 'live bacterial cultures!' frozen fruit/nut yogurt place. Then again, we have way less ice cream and fast food selection than you folks do... perhaps the US is finally catching up to the rest of the world's normal nutritional standards?

  12. I'm going to give away my age here. When I was in high school and college in the 80s (cough), we had frozen yogurt shops in the Midwest. TCBY may not be everyone's idea of gourmet frozen yogurt, but I can't say the frozen yogurt craze is anything new. We could almost call it retro. :-)

  13. Just wanted to let you know that I love your blog, not only for the recipes, but for the rest of the content. Your writing is wonderful.

  14. Anonymous -- Maybe yogurt at shopping malls is a Canada thing. Around here malls have plenty of 'Live Bacterial Culture' but you wouldn't want to eat it!


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