Every time you think it's time to declare the end of the cupcake trend, news seems to break that the craze has landed in yet another American city. Over the last five years, cupcakes have been all the rage, catering to our sense of individualism and personal tastes. It's a trend that was definitely fueled by scenes from Sex and the City and New York’s famous Magnolia Bakery, which was prominently featured in the series. While it’s safe to say that the stranglehold cupcakes have had has started to loosen, there are a myriad of bakeries across the country that are pushing the cupcake culinary limits to stay ahead of the competition.
Because tastes differ so greatly — from sweet to savory — bakeries keep inventing new extreme flavor combinations. Some of them leave you wondering whether these desserts can still be considered “cakes” or if they have officially crossed into savory quiche territory. Indeed, just this week there was news that one Orlando chef was baking up cupcakes that combined potato chips and soda, such as Coke and Ruffles, and Mountain Dew and Doritos.
Mona Wilson, cupcake sommelier at It’s a CupCake! doesn’t shy from curious ingredients like kimchi, grilled octopus, and herb cake, which make up her “Moombahpus” cupcake. She specializes in gourmet cupcakes such as her “Tapas” spicy corn cupcake topped with garlic aioli, smoked salmon, tomatillo guacamole, roasted red pepper, and lime-marinated shrimp.
Questionable cupcake flavors aren’t just leveraged from meat, seafood, and veggies. Insects are also key ingredients now being used.
“I closed my eyes, expecting it to be crunchy and chocolaty,” says Rachel Kramer Bussel, co-founder of the popular blog Cupcakes Take the Cake, who recently judged the Scottsdale Cupcake Love-In fundraiser and had to sample a spicy chipotle grasshopper cupcake. The creation turned out to be spicy and crunchy. According to Bussel, “I don't think I'd eat grasshopper again, but I'm glad I tried it, and the chipotle had an unexpected kick.”
While you may not readily find insect-filled cupcakes at your local bakery, here are 10 equally weird creations you can find across the country.
This article was originally published November 29, 2011.