Zombie cake eaters | Bleader

Friday, October 7, 2011

Zombie cake eaters

Posted By on 10.07.11 at 02:12 PM

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If the trend of cultural zombiecentrism could be said to have gained traction in the early aughts—and reached a certain apex, or nadir, with the 2009 publication of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies—then another ghoulish fad predated it by a few years, and most likely will outlive it, too: cupcakes—as opposed to, say, literal rotting human beings who have clawed their way out of the grave—are the true undead. Some observers have predicted the cupcake’s demise from time to time, but the little pastry has been surprisingly buoyant—so much so, in fact, that last year the Wall Street Journal speculated that the cupcake trend has helped quell unemployment in New York City.

Earlier this year I reviewed for the Reader a new cupcake place in the Loop that, cashing in on the fad, didn’t even seem to be trying anymore: “Certain entrepreneurs have come to a late-capitalist realization,” I wrote then. “[P]roducts resembling the rough shape, coloring, and (high) price point of a ‘cupcake’ can quite easily be sold as such, gastronomic and/or aesthetic considerations notwithstanding.” It just took me a minute to locate that old review on our website: what was the place called? Sprinkles? No, that’s another cupcake joint, also located downtown. Don’t confuse it with Crumbs. Or More Cupcakes, Molly’s Cupcakes, the Cupcake Gallery, Foiled Cupcakes, Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique, Sweet Mandy B’s, Phoebe’s Cupcakes, or the Cupcake Counter, or Swirlz. Or the cupcake truck. Or the meatloaf-cupcake place.

Put another notch on your bedpost, Chicago: now you’ve got Magnolia Bakery, which opened last Saturday at 108 N. State Street. Magnolia, whose flagship is in New York City, is credited with sparking the cupcake craze (with an assist from Sex and the City) back in the 1990s—so it would appear that in Chicago, things have come full circle. On the other hand, there's a problem with circles. They don’t ever end.

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