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Are Cupcakes the New Cake?

Tiers of confections at weddings and flavors you've never tried before – maple bacon, anyone? – make this a trend worth watching.

Sparkling storefronts with cupcake creations inside that look – almost – too good to eat are all the rage.

Two cupcake shops opened this year in Royal Oak – Just Baked on Woodward Avenue and  on Crooks Road, while longstanding bakeries such as   on Main Street say their beauties are flying off the shelves. 

So, are cupcakes the new cake?

Lori Stanski, a 20-year veteran of the cake-making business at Hermann's, thinks so. She's made cupcakes for dozens of events, most recently making 200 purple and gold confections for a wedding.

Cup.cake has created cupcakes for a dozen weddings since opening in April and already has orders stretching into next year.

"People love them. They're smaller and more fun than cake," said Kat Mastela, baker at cup.cake, which is owned by brother-and-sister team Eva Watt and Leon Ochoa.

Bumpy cake is a big over-the-counter seller at Hermann's Bakery and red velvet with buttercream icing is the top choice for special occasions like weddings.

 "I think we're selling less cakes than we used to and more cupcakes," Stanski said.

For the nontraditional, cup.cake offers flavors such as maple bacon, peanut butter and jelly, Mexican hot chocolate and chai with cinnamon buttercream frosting for $2.75 each or six for $15. A mini cupcake is free for anyone who tells a joke at the counter.

"We love to talk to our customers, visit with them," Watt said.

Carrot with cream cheese frosting is a favorite flavor of Jane Gleason, who recently ordered three dozen confections from cup.cake for her family Thanksgiving.

"I'm in here three times a week, I'm trying to wean myself down, but I'm having a hard time with it," Gleason joked on a recent visit.

Just Baked stocks Fat Elvis (think bananas and peanut butter), cinnamon donut, apple pie, banana split, creamsicle and more for $2.95 each or six for $12.50.

Just Baked, which opened in the spring, is also using cupcakes for a good cause. The store is donating $1 for each tie-dye clowny cupcake sold this month to The Parade Company, the nonprofit that puts together the annual Thanksgiving parade on Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

Cup.cake gives its leftover cupcakes every afternoon to Forgotten Harvest, a charity that feeds the hungry. Forgotten Harvest delivers them to the Salvation Army for its meal program, Watt said.

What would brighten someone's day more than cupcakes? Hermann's, which opened more than 70 years ago, is happy the little guys are having their moment of glory.

"They're so much fun, you can do so many different colors and flavors, you can do so much with them," Stanski said.

Then there's this: "Anything you can imagine, we can make," she said.

Really, who could turn that down?

Lisa Hook November 18, 2010 at 03:36 PM
Yum. Hermann's has the best cup cakes. More and more weddings, showers and special events are using cupcakes instead of cakes and really -- it's more sanitary and personal.

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