Since 2010, food writers, bloggers and even cupcake fans have been predicting its decline in popularity. Predictions have been made about the “new cupcake” and the latest contenders to enter the fast-pastry business. In early 2011, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and USA Today examined everything from hand-pies, doughnuts, French macaroons, cookies (thanks to David Chang’s success with Momofuku Milk Bar) to cake balls as the “new cupcake.” Even though each of these pastries has become more popular in the last few years, the cupcake’s 2008 peak is yet to be unmatched.
That said, there is a common misperception that no other pastry is as easy to bake at home as the cupcake, and no other pastry may contain a similar calorie count (despite its deceptive size, cupcakes are rarely low-calorie). But this isn’t true. As a matter-of-fact, a lot of other pastries are less temperamental than dealing with cake batter, and easier to throw together than a tricky icing. As a professional baker, I’ve played around with a number of the latest trendy recipes, and quickly discovered there are so many other desserts I love (to eat and to make) more than some of the best cupcakes I’ve eaten.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes which meet that universal cupcake criteria: Small, pretty, low-calorie (well, less than a slice of cake), and easy (or no) clean-up.
Auntie Aimee’s Pie Crust
Dark Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cake Balls
Bourbon-Cinnamon Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies
REBEKAH PIZANA is a professional food writer, pastry chef and licensed business owner. Her pastry work through Gourmet Amore has been published in Brides Maryland and Brides Washington, D.C., (Condé Nast Publications) and by the online wedding magazine, StyleMePretty.com.