Ode To Abu

Friday, 18 January 2013

Cupcakes 'N More !

The Year of the Cupcake

The year 2012 saw the resurgence of an all-time favourite dessert dish of almost everyone – the ubiquitious cupcake. Professional bakeries and commercial home-bakers competed with one another to come up with the most colourful, creatively styled and flavourful frosting. Yes, the adjective ‘flavourful’ mentioned last as many a time; the frosting fell flat, literally and taste-wise as well. But a majority of them got it right and so began the Cupcake Wars! Neck-to-neck races were on by bakers to top (topple? :-)) each other and be the Cupcake Queen/Outlet as it were.

Kids and adults (who are kids at heart) raved and raved some more about whose cupcakes were the best in town. Every single town! Personally, I could never quite understand the rabid fascination. Sure, I love vanilla cupcakes (who doesn’t) - the good ole trusted basic and humblest of flavours that had all sorts of goop precariously balanced on its crown! Left to me, I would still take the even humbler poor English cousin – the muffin – over a cupcake any day. The varieties available and the satisfaction of tucking into a huge muffin greatly overrides biting into a tiny cupcake in my humblest opinion. Not to mention trying to be all lady-like while eating a cupcake and not getting frosting on the tip of your nose. The cupcake is a dodgy one for me!

Am I being a bit too harsh on the people’s popular choice? This is being written with my tongue firmly in my cheek and not licking off frosting, if there was any further doubt! ;-)

The last Baker Showcase saw an overload of cupcakes what with the sheer numbers of bakers participating, and probably them over-anticipating people’s fascination with this baked not-so-wonder. Having said that, they were truly amazing to look at and certainly one of the most photographed pieces of that day. Cupcakes sure are a food photographer’s delight thanks to their colours, sizes, toppings, and pretty and edible add-ons. They are surely one of the better-looking simpletons in a baker’s staple…or should it be ‘stable’? :-) 

This dessert is also a baker's delight as to how creatively cupcakes can be fashioned into something that would put an instant smile on someone's face - especially at birthdays and occassions. The limitless possibilities for talent and creativity abound. The way in which popular cartoon, movie, favourite things and profession-related themes can be inscribed so effectively on that tiny surface, its quite unbelievable! And ultimately, it is after all, the taster's divine delight! :-)

One of my favourite flavours - coffee in cake form! Even if in a cupcake :-)

Curtain Raiser to the upcoming Baker Showcase

Despite all the overdose of the cupcake mania, the cupcake wagon trundles on. The next Baker Showcase is on February 2nd at Asan Memorial School, Egmore, Chennai, between 2 pm and 6 pm. The Baker Showcase needs no introduction the way it has stormed the cities of Chennai and Bangalore in the past year. The events have been sold-out successes, the pictures of crowds and cupcakes not withstanding. The Facebook forum that started it all - Home Bakers Guild – its patrons and members from across the world, continue to be amazed at the response, the growth and the progress the home-bakers are making, all thanks to the Guild and its support and supporters. Everyone is still reeling under the silly-cone effect! ;-) 

The Baker Showcase will also see a good combination of pies, breads, quiches, cookies, desserts, and Indian savouries and sweets, and hopefully different and unique desserts to cater to one and all. The cool cupcake could well continue to occupy centrestage.

Let’s wait and see if the live band that would actually be up on the stage could distract people away from the cupcake or towards it! Music beats to accompany your digging into sugary glory! Sounds doubly heavenly, doesn't it?

There are the main sponsors of the event who will also be prominent in sharing space this time. The popular restaurant Crimson Chakra and owner Nikhil Moturi, part of the Baker Showcase from its inception, continue to be its strong and foremost supporter. Gormei Market, a well-known organic superstore along with Passionate Baking, the city’s best bet for baking supplies and equipments, make up the trio of business sponsors this time; contributing to building the Baker Showcase to be a much bigger, grander gala than before.

The students of Asan Memorial who will be hosting, helping and even participating with a stall of their own, will also be sharing the limelight with 15 home-bakers this time. And last but not the least, the home-bakers, many of whom have gone or are on the verge of going commercial, are busy planning their menus, clicking pictures of their goodies and updating the FB event page (be sure to click the join button on this one...you simply cannot afford to miss the previews of the goodies on sale...it could also help in making a list of what you would like to pick up when you get there...from previous records, the crowds could be bewildering and by the time you make up your mind on what to buy and from which table, you can be sure it would've disappeared into someone's bag or tummy!). As of now, the bakers are biting their fingernails in a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Very soon, they will be furiously burning the midnight oil and baking away as the date draws near.

So Chennai folks, mark your calendars, clear your refrigerators for the bulk purchases you will be making, put on your trendiest clothes and dancing shoes topped with dazzling smiles, and make your way to the venue for the grand gala event!

Meanwhile, the current debate rages on about another fad in the baking arena. Will 2013 reign as the Year of the Fondant? Only time will tell…and maybe this blog…so keep watching this space! 

The Baker Showcase's journey can be followed at its FB page, linked here. For the new people reading about/coming to this event, do check out this more comprehensive blogpost on the earlier Showcase.

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