It appears that cupcakes — the small, cup-shaped versions of the popular dessert, “cake” — are over.
Not over, over. They’re still technically “legal.” It’s just that your right to eat artfully prepared single-serving cake-based treats is now being infringed upon by that no longer being a profitable enterprise. The stores are closing.
We get this grim news from the Old Gray-Bearded Lady, The New York Times, which reports the venerable New York cake hustlers Mia and Jason Bauer have closed Crumbs Bake Shop (NASDAQ: CRMB), thereby denying the rights of New Yorkers to Crumbs’ delicious celebrity-themed cake treats, which come in three sizes and flavors such as apple cobbler covered in streusel crumbs. Crumbs also sold a gigantic cupcake (a cake?) for like $25.
Crumbs’ 820 employees are now cast on the street, victims of a free-enterprise economic ecosystem that no longer supports $4 cupcakes. How could they have ever seen this coming?
How could any of us?
After all, who doesn’t love cake? And what’s more: Cake tastes even better when it’s your own special cake that can fit in the palm of your hand and nobody else gets to touch. Cake is best when it’s all for you.
This seemed like the perfect business model: Sell people tiny cakes. Why didn’t I think of that? I mean, sure, you’re going to have to find people with outrageous amounts of expendable income. The only people who can justify spending $4 on a miniature cake are the wealthiest people on earth. So slang your cakes in the nice part of town and make it feel obnoxiously trendy in there. The vibe you want to create is that your cupcake boutique was opened, like, just now by a 26-year-old artist/baker who looks exactly like Jennifer Lawrence and drives a white BMW. And don’t put one on the menu called “wedding cake” — turns out eating a tiny wedding cake alone in a strip mall is a bit of a sour feeling for most people.
Crumbs opened in 2003, starting a craze that reached the Great Plains in about 2009.
“Yeah, they’re cupcakes,” people would tell you. “But they’re, seriously, the best cupcakes ever. They have, like, a margarita one.”
Well this was too much. A margarita cupcake?! Oh, 2009, you are being good to me. This space must be explored immediately. Everyone went. Everyone went and then asked their friends if they’d been. And if they hadn’t it would be like, “Well, they are just cupcakes, but they’re not like any cupcakes you’ve ever had.”
Everybody went once. Half of everybody went twice. Seven people went all the time, and here we are.
Thrown out on the street, cupcakeless.