5@5 - Magnolia Bakery's Bobbie Lloyd
September 20th, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

No matter how you frost it, the cupcake craze is here to stay.

If anyone should know, it's Bobbie Lloyd: the self-proclaimed "Chief Baking Officer" of Magnolia Bakery, which received instant, international notoriety from the likes of Sex and the City and Saturday Night Live's "Lazy Sunday" rap homage.

So why the sweet success? Lloyd shares her two sugar-coated cents.

Five Reasons Why Cupcakes Are More Than Just a Trend: Bobbie Lloyd

1. "Have you ever looked at a child's face when they experience that first sweet bite of a cupcake? Pure bliss."

2. "Cupcakes allow one to experience a small sweet pleasure (no major dessert commitment) that can transport you to another place for a moment."

3. "Cupcakes are just plain fun. They allow us to be silly for a moment and not take life so seriously."

4. "Cupcakes are easy to make. Anyone can become a cupcake 'expert' with a little practice and a lot of eating. You can seriously dress them up for a special occasion or keep it plain and simple."

5. "Cupcakes appeal to everyone. They are cross-generational and non-demographic. Mom, dad, grandma, grandpa and the kids, no matter what country they are from, can enjoy cupcakes."

Cupcakes: love 'em or loathe 'em? Tell us your opinion in the comments.

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. Tammy Tibbetts

    You didn't mention that cupcakes can also change the world! Check out the tie-dye cupcake campaign that She's the First is doing: http://www.shesthefirst.org/cupcakes – what a dream it would be to work with Magnolia!

    August 19, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  2. Anna

    I was responding to the user that called himself "Really?"

    September 22, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  3. Phil

    Just don't call them cupcakes and I'm fine with it. I enjoy muffins made in cupcake pans!

    September 21, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  4. Al

    Cupcakes are AWESOME....when they come from home; mine or someone elses....for the life of me, I cannot see the logic in buying them from a store where they are mass produced/stale/outrageously priced.....we are so lazy, we cant make our own vices......

    September 21, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  5. Capt. Slapaho

    Ahhh cupcakes, the rollercoaster of stoner munchies.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  6. Cieje Valentine

    I like the MINI cupcakes, you know, the ones that are about 1/4 the size of an already small cupcake? Especially with the itty-bitty sprinkles on them.. Oh, boy I think my bloodsugar just went up 100 points just thinking about them. *SLUUURP!!* Yum!

    September 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  7. SF

    I HATE cupcakes. The economy is tanking, people are losing their jobs and homes, and yet still find $3-5 to buy a single crapcake that they could make at home for a $1 cake mix and $1.50 can of icing (and in the process they'd make 24). I have been given cupcakes from Gigi's and the Cupcakery and thought they were gross; defrosted cake topped with shortening-based icing. Ewww.....

    Treating yourself to a treat every now and then is fine, but I just don't know why you would spend $36 for a dozen cupcakes. To me, cupcakes are a sign of excess and stupidity. Don't you realize that a cupcake is really just a slice of cake that bakes in its own wrapper? My coworkers find my hatred of cupcakes hilarious and like to put them on my desk.

    September 21, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Reply
    • Al

      SF; I totally agree with you....my comment comes 2 below yours, and I hadnt read yours until I posted mine......

      September 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  8. Bug

    Who loathes cupcakes? My mother! After years of working with small children, all that she sees are a vehicle for crumbs, frosting smears, and oily paper everywhere. We weren't allowed to ever have cupcakes in the house when I was growing up. Probably not a shock that I love to make cupcakes in my own house now.

    September 21, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Reply
    • debnewyorker

      Wow, that was really sad. Glad you survived THAT childhood : ).

      September 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Reply
  9. Erin

    Cupcakes have been my best friend's hobby for years. She gets really creative with them and has made some interesting displays of cupcakes. The best part is I get to try everything first.

    I don't think it's ridiculous to pay $2-5 for a good, well made dessert (like a cupcake). What is terrible is now that cupcakes are a "fad" all these bakeries are popping up charging a lot for pretty small and mediocre cupcakes. Stick with the good stuff and you won't feel ripped off. The Buttercream Cupcake Lady (she operates out of a truck and even makes booze cakes) is the best I've had in Philadelphia and Flying Monkey was worth it too.

    September 21, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  10. Katherine J.

    I don't bake cupcakes for my grandchilren or never for my children. I did not eat them as a child. WOW! Am I an unusual person? Maybe, but I am nice. Just give me ice cream.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  11. kittybling

    Nom nom nom to the max!! Loveeeeeeeee cupcakes~

    September 21, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  12. Emilie in Minneapolis

    What I don't like about cupcakes: They seem to be just an holder for an excessive amount of frosting. Generally, the actual cake is merely OK, but the frosting is an inch thick blob of eye candy and taste is beside the point. I'd rather have a made from scratch maple-pecan four layer torte (one very thin slice), a deep, dark and awesome devil's food (same size serving), a spiced applesause torte with brandy filling, a real buttery yellow cake, . . . Just spare me the buttercream frosting, please, whether it's dyed pink, purple, puce, polkadotted, shaped like a flower or tied up in a bow. What I like about cupcakes: I suppose they're keeping a lot of bakeries from going under, and that's a good thing.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  13. Nashvilledeb

    Gigi's Cupcakes (lots of locations in the US, but her Broadway store in Nashville was the first) are the BEST! Her brother ate at Magnolia Bakery in NYC once, came home and told her that she could bake a better cupcake than he had there. The rest is history. I try to stay away unless it's a special occasion, but it's really hard.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Reply
  14. Mr. Boffo

    Tomorrow's CNN headline today:

    "Killer Blames Cupcakes for Rampage – NEW YORK. Mr. Biff Boffo's favorite bakery was out of red velvets that fateful morning, so he took a gun and shot 21..."

    September 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Reply
    • debnewyorker

      You must be thinking of Texas or some other gun crazy state.

      September 21, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Reply
    • Cieje Valentine


      September 21, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Reply
  15. Rachel

    I don't think this craze will last. It's just another fad like the frozen yogurt phase. People thinking they are being healthier because they are eating a cupcake vs. a regular slice of cake. Plus, most cupcakes have way to much frosting compared to the cake. The hot spots like Magnolia's will stay around, but chains won't last come 5 years from now.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Reply
  16. akindafoodblog

    Cupcakes are amazing. Kickass Cupcakes in Boston make a deep fried cupcake sundae with soft serve ice cream on it. You get the deep fried cupcake by itself and it's put in a cone with whip cream and chocolate syrup. They also make a lot of specialty cupcakes like the green monstah which has sam adams infused frosting, etc. However, the thing about them is that the cupcakes are a little dry. They spend so much time making specialty flavors the consistency of the cupcakes are lost. I'm a cupcake connoisseur.


    September 21, 2010 at 10:49 am | Reply
  17. http://www.cookingwithcaitlin.com

    One of the reasons why I go to NYC is for the cupcakes @ Magnolia Bakery !

    September 21, 2010 at 8:38 am | Reply
  18. Bobby G

    Bobbie's hot.

    September 21, 2010 at 7:29 am | Reply
  19. NC

    I think cupcakes are awesome!! I'm in Iraq right now and all I want is a cupcake! So much so I have tried to find a way to actually bake them here. No luck though! Oh well...few more months and I will be enjoying a yummy cupcake!

    September 21, 2010 at 4:06 am | Reply
  20. c0reen

    funfetti cupcakes rock. always a hit at office functions...

    September 21, 2010 at 3:32 am | Reply
  21. Amy

    Today's my birthday (Sept 21). Bring on the cupcakes!!

    September 21, 2010 at 3:14 am | Reply
    • RichardHead

      Happy Birthday Amy! Mine was Sunday and I'm still a Virgo Virgin.

      September 21, 2010 at 9:22 am | Reply
  22. Saccharine

    Pastries are terribly wonderful!

    September 21, 2010 at 1:38 am | Reply
  23. KarenK

    The very best cupcake I've had in a long time is Orange with Orange icing. Easy to peel and loaded with that frosting. It's been over three months and I still remember how good it was. Cupcakes rule!

    September 21, 2010 at 1:35 am | Reply
  24. Sha

    I enjoy cupcakes just fine, but not at $4 a pop. That's just insane.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:35 am | Reply
  25. Hoolibar


    September 21, 2010 at 12:35 am | Reply
  26. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    Cupcakes are okay, but I'm with others posting on here that say there are other delicious desserts, too. To all you professional bakers out there: Exploit this rather odd trend while you can, but keep your general baking skills sharp, because all food trends come and go. Just look at what happened with glazed donuts (you know the brand) and with the silly low-carb fad. And to the other readers: Some people, like my husband, really and truly do not like cake, so they could not care less about cupcakes. I can take them or leave them. I never crave a cupcake specifically.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:20 am | Reply
  27. oohlola

    Ohmygosh! I cannot believe there are over 100 postings here about cupcakes! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE THEM! My daughter used to make them and sell them at the farmer's market. Had some really yummy gluten-free and vegan ones, too! Fun that the cuties are still a hit!

    September 21, 2010 at 12:07 am | Reply
  28. Aly

    Magnolia cupcakes are horrible. If you like overly sweet frosting and a dry cake, by all means, go here. Otherwise, I prefer Crumbs.

    September 20, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Reply
    • Brent

      Either you have ZERO tastebuds or just need to feel somewhat in control of SOMETHING in your life by saying something completely negative and untrue.

      September 21, 2010 at 3:10 am | Reply
  29. Kim

    I have to bow before the brilliant entrepreneur who figured out how to split a $5 worth of cake made from the cheapest sugar and fat into 12 "cup" cakes and sell each for $3.99 to the loser yuppies.

    September 20, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Reply
    • Sha

      Amen, sister.

      September 21, 2010 at 12:36 am | Reply
  30. Bittersweet

    When did cupcakes go out of style? Just give me the ultimate cupcake...with a fudgy brownie layer topped and my favorite ice cream...hummmh

    September 20, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Reply
  31. Liz D-M

    I love cupcakes. I love them plain, iced, with sprinkles, no sprinkles, chocolate, vanilla ... mmmmmm. Cupcakes, with a cup of coffee, are the perfect dessert.

    September 20, 2010 at 11:09 pm | Reply
  32. Larry Jones

    We can no longer go to the moon, as this nation is busy dismantling its space program, but we make a mean cupcake. This kind of vacuous devotion to something as silly as a cupcake tells me that our nation is in decline.

    September 20, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Reply
  33. Russ Shulman

    Correction, it's just kingdomcake.com, not kingdom cupcakes. Sorry Chelsea.

    September 20, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Reply
  34. Russ Shulman

    I have a friend in San Francisco, Chelsea Mead, who owns Kingdom Cupcakes, and compared to what else I've seen, her cupcakes are not to be believed. I saw a street vendor in Seattle claiming to make the best cupcakes in Seattle and when I saw them up close, i almost laughed out loud. Compared to Chelsea's cupcakes, they are a complete joke.

    September 20, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Reply
  35. Gussie

    A "real" cannoli beats a cupcake any minute of any day of the week in the same manner that "gelato" beats ice cream –by another country's kilometer. The U.S. has never been the best at great food - NEVER. Travel - get away from this egocentric nonsense. There I said it. Ciao.

    September 20, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Reply
  36. percysmama

    cupcakes are amazing!!!

    September 20, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Reply
  37. Lior

    Cupcakes are trendy?

    They taste good and all, but I must have missed the apparent craze surrounding them. It's odd.

    September 20, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Reply
  38. Sarah (Not Palin)

    My pastry chef friend gave me an amazing chocolate (cup)cake recipe & I made some this weekend & took them to a birthday party. 3 were damaged during pan removal so I kept them. I just ate half of the last one with no frosting. That was sooooooo gooooooood!

    September 20, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Reply
  39. scrumptious

    Cup cake is huge in Asia too. It's gone viral.
    Yes, all this cup cake talk in monsoon Hong Kong...time to bake.

    September 20, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  40. Margie

    Cupcakes take the cake, literally!

    September 20, 2010 at 10:03 pm | Reply
  41. unimpressed

    I love a good homemade cupcake, but I'm with all the people who are disgusted at the thought of paying three to seven dollars for a small piece of cake in a paper cup (which takes almost no skill to make) topped with a ridiculous amount of super-sweet frosting and a few sprinkles.

    For the same amount of money, I'd rather find nice cafe and get a slice of a beautifully constructed cake or torte that I'll sit down and eat on a plate, with a fork, accompanied by a good cup of hot tea.

    September 20, 2010 at 9:55 pm | Reply
    • SF

      Yes! Cupcakes were a way for parents to bring cake to their kids' class and ensure that every kid got an equal slice of cake, no plate needed, and took minimal skill to bake. Somehow that's turned into an expensive trend. I'd spend $5 for a quality slice of cheesecake or a pear Napolean, but never a cupcake. What's next – gourmet peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for hipsters? Artisan chicken fingers?

      September 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Reply
  42. Amanda

    I love cupcakes!!!!!

    September 20, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Reply
  43. kevin

    maybe this is a west coast thing but whenever a guy and girl talk, like at work or anywhere, people call it "cupcaking" and assume you are flirting which really annoys me. People even go out and buy you cupcakes and then talk in this weird high-pitched voice and I'm like "maybe we had to discuss the expense reports did you think of that" and then of course I cram delicious cupcakes in me and what were we talking about?

    September 20, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • debnewyorker

      funny, and yes DEFINITELY a west coast thing. we just enjoy our cupcakes and then continue complaining like all real new yorkers do.

      September 20, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  44. The Dude

    I like cupcakes, but all the cupcakes stores that are opening up are fads. Opening a cupcake bakery = Bankruptcy in the next 5 years.

    September 20, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Reply
  45. Harley

    I love cupcakes, however I was extremely disappointed with the Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan. We waited in line for 20 minutes and paid like five dollars for the cupcake, only to discover that it was dry and kind of bland! Shocking, right? All of my friends in the city raved about how great their cupcakes were, but blah. Here in Las Vegas we have the Cupcakery, which in my opinion, is ten times better than Magnolia. Maybe it's just a matter of opinion, but for five bucks a pop, the cup cake better be the best ever!

    September 20, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Reply
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