Friday, February 4, 2011

The New Trend in "Cupcakes"

I’m not sure WHAT to think about this. Actually, before I say anything, what do YOU think is the new trend in cupcakes? 

Hugely oversized? 

Teeny tiny, maybe? 

Secret fillings in the middle?


The new (to ME at least, you may say EH, that’s been around for months…weeks….days…whatever) trend is…savory cupcakes. Taking the sweet out of them seems to be the new thing.

But I keep asking myself when would they be served? I guess whenever a little savory snack was required. Maybe in place of a tea sandwich or afternoon little quiche. There’s just one problem with this. I don’t think there’s much call for tea sandwiches these days (which is a real shame, but that’s another story). And when we want a little treat, don’t we want something sweet? Am I really going to have a barbecued chicken cupcake while I’m putting my feet up to watch Oprah?

Sorry, but I think savory cupcakes are a terrible idea. It could be because I’m not a huge lover of salt in sweet things (salty caramels etc.), or maybe I don’t want savory flavors interloping on a perfectly wonderful sweet treat.

Of course, if you’ve read anything lately about this new trend, the real problem is that the term savory “cupcake” is actually a misnomer. I assumed that we were talking about a normal baked cupcake, but with savory flavorings instead of sweet - more like a muffin, I guess. However in almost every case, what is being described is a self-contained portion of a savory dish – lasagna, mac and cheese or whatever.

Dana Cowin reported that savory cupcakes were one of 5 new food trends this year. Her "cupcake" examples? Spaghetti and meatball cupcakes; hamburger cupcakes topped with mashed potatoes; and a chicken and waffle cupcake.

Giada actually made these back in 2009. What were they? Individual servings of mac and cheese made in a cupcake pan.

To ME, a cupcake is a flour-based, baking powder or baking soda-risen baked item, usually with icing. I think it's false advertising to call something a cupcake just because it can be made in individual portions and unmolded. But, hey, I guess if it gets more business, then fine. 

But, really, I'm just too honest. I could never make an individual portion of something and call it a cupcake, just because I jammed it into a cupcake pan and then unmolded it. 

Here’s a nice recipe that I refuse to call Frittata Cupcakes.

Mini Frittatas (makes 24)
Printable recipe here.

These are surprisingly easy to eat in large quantities. Allow 4 to 6 for each person. They’re TINY. Use any combination of cheese that you like, just use a total of ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon.

6 eggs
¾ cup milk and/or cream (just don’t use all skim milk)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons grated Swiss cheese
½ tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray 2 mini-muffin pans (12 cups each) with Pam.

Whisk the eggs with the milk. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Spoon mixture into mini muffin pans, filling each cup to the top. Bake for 10 minutes until they puff and test done in the middle.

Using a plastic knife, loosen each frittata and place on a platter. Serve warm.


Anonymous said...

I agree, it's a misnomer. Savory cupcakes sound pretty gross, because I consider a cupcake the same as you, some flour/sugar based cake, and a filling, if any, that's sweet. Just call them mini cups.

astheroshe said...

LOl.. A savory cupcake is a ...muffin!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I never really understood that there was a "trend" until I read a recent Food & Wine magazine that had lasagna "cupcakes".

Of course I have also heard that cupcakes are over completely and it's all about pie now (but then I thought cupcakes came in and pie was on its way out then).

While I certainly enjoy a good cupcake, I don't think any food is any better in miniature form. I'd rather eat a really good cake slice than a mediocre cupcake. Just because it's small doesn't make it taste any better. Cupcakes came about because they're easier for children to eat than big slices of cake that require forks. Big, hairy deal!

Emily said...

I agree. I think it's ridiculous they're calling them cupcakes! I didn't realize this was a trend until I read your post.

The mini frittatas look great! I think I could eat a dozen.

Cynthia said...

I miss you. Haven't heard from you since... last year!

WizzyTheStick said...

Well this trend missed me completely thank Goodness. I guess you could have a savoury cupcake for breakfast or dinner but it escapes me as to why you would even call it a cupcake.

Lys said...

I don't know why the heck they are saying it's a new trend - it's been around for quite a while. Manouschka over at SingleServingBytes has been doing a Lasagna Cupcake forever for parties that she caters in Hollywood. I just don't think a savory cupcake is the new hot thing.

Like the mini frittata idea, especially for brunch.

Sue said...

Hi Amy,
I love being agreed with, but I have to admit when I hear the term mini cup, I think of a tiny cup of coffee or a preteen bra. Plus, for many of these "cupcakes", there was nothing mini about them. Each of those lasagna cupcakes could have fed 8 people!

Hiya Astheroshe,
Yeah, really!!!

Hi Rach,
Yup, that's what Dana was showing on the Today Show.

I SO don't think cupcakes are over. And I agree with you, I like a cupcake when it's good, but frankly I'd rather have the ice cream.

Calling an individual meatloaf a cupcake is not just wrong, it's actually kind of gross.

Those frittatas are SO easy to eat in very large quantities. Yum!

You have NOW! And, oh, how I wish we had your weather!

You and me both!!!

Hey Lys,
You are far more au fait with trends than I am. It was just in the week or so that I heard or read about them 4 or 5 times.

Gloria said...

I love your mini fritattas! gloria