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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cupcakes in Paris: What a Fad

Fad or fade in French (same pronunciation). Actually that word means boring in French, but the word in French that typically fits into our American concept would be la mode or une tendance.  So what is up with all this tendance around the word cupcake?

Recently I was watching a reportage on M6 discussing the explosion of American bakeries around Paris.  I decided to do a bit of investigation and try to list out some of these cupcake houses by arrondisement, but then got carried into a whole new domain.

le cupcake
According to the French a cupcake is:

  • A masculine noun (meaning starts with "le" or "un")
  • Une tendance du moment (the current fad)
  • Comes from any Anglo-Saxon country, but usually America
  • Called "Fairy Cakes" in Britain (who knew?)
  • Called "cup cakes" due to the fact we use a "cup measure" to make them and they are the size of a tasse
  • Popular for tea parties, weddings, birthdays, baptisms and birthdays
  • An art in pastry-making that allows for ANY kind of cupcake and flavor (toujours sucré)
According to Americans, a cupcake is:
  • Traced back to 1796
  • Small individual cakes designed for one person
  • Becoming more a trend as years go on
Now, I am used to the whole cupcake frenzy, when I was working at the Children's Museum in Portland we had lots of fancy fundraising events, the start was usually Cupcake Jones, a luxury cupcakery that sells 12 of little mini fancy cakes at 16.50$ a pop.

That whole upscale pricing has caught onto the explosion of Cupcake shops in Paris.  It's become such a fad that Parisiens are even dishing out piles of cash for the tools and classes.

Fait Maison, les Kits Cupcakes
For example, Made in Cupcake offers cupcake making kits at a price of 13€.  Some searches can show kits selling at even higher prices, such as the Sibo Sibon kits selling at 27€ for the cupcake papers, coloring kit and some sprinkles... things I used to buy at the dollar store in the States.
Kit Cupcake, 27€ Sibo Sibon
The most shocking seems to be the ateliers created by pastry makers in Paris to teach the common house wife, girlfriend, loving boyfriend or die-hard Ameriphile how to create little masterful cupcakes.  L'Atelier des Gateâux charges about 45€ for a cupcake making course, and in the end you can take home a little box of your masterful creations... about 7 cupcakes designed and made by yourself.

Thanksgiving Store: Chocolate Kit, 5€
Gone are the days when I bought a box of quick-mix, threw in some veggie oil, water and eggs and scooped the mixture into mini cake pans.. this is a whole new level of fancy that I never even knew existed.  

Some of my favorite flavors I've discovered (from Scarlett's Bakery):
  • Tiramisu: Coffee flavored, cream cheese topping
  • Pistache: Pistachio flavored, cream cheese topping
  • Citron Meringué: Vanilla bean base, meringue topping
  • Red Velvet:  Red velvet cake base, cream cheese frosting
Now onto some addresses:

23 Rue Rambuteau, 75004 Paris
Established in 1988, several great reviews

Synie's Cupcakes
23 Rue de l'Abbé Grégoire, 75006 Paris
Open Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 8pm

Cupcakes and co
16 Rue des Tournelles, 75004 Paris
3,50€ a cupcake, open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 7pm

Miss Cupcake
22 rue la Vieuville, 75018 Paris
4€ a cupcake, considered pretty expensive and reviews not too hot

L'Atelier des Gâteaux
23 Rue de l'Abbé Grégoire, 75006 Paris
Open odd hours, 2:30 to 6:30pm Thursday through Saturday, 3,50€ a cupcake

154 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris
Open every day 11:30 to 8:30pm

Sugarplum Cake Shop
68 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 75005 Paris
Great American café feel, unlimited drip coffee and CARROT CAKE

Can you think of any others...?

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