Sophie Heawood: Poison lurks in the heart of a cupcake

Bun fetish deals a blow to feminism

Share
Related Topics

I once took a train across London with a fat friend from Manchester. As we passed through Richmond, she was so horrifed by the sight of a group of skinny, blond, private school girls standing on the platform, that she wound down the train window and shouted "Eat a pie!" at them.

I was mortified at the time, but the current craze for cupcakes is starting to make me think she had a point. In the past two years I've walked past cupcake bakeries in London, in New York, in Los Angeles, all of them filled with grown women going demented over small coloured buns wrapped in a bit of paper and slathered in icing, resplendent in their miniature, cutesy perfection. There are queues outside these bakeries, and sometimes notes on the door informing customers that purchases are limited to four per customer – presumably in case any evil cupcake touts were planning on sneakily buying a hundred and reselling them. There is even a cupcake bakery in Beirut.

Cupcakes are fetishised the most by women who are "a bit funny about food". I'm a bit funny about women who are a bit funny about food. At Fashion Week parties around the world, cupcakes are brought in on silver trays, and these body-anxious ladies coo over the arrival of the gooey little blobules as if somebody was showing them a newborn baby. As if it was suddenly okay for a permanent dieter to eat pudding, because these ones are so intricate and swirly and pink that they might just be mistaken for a handbag.

You're grown women!, I want to shout at them. It's just a bit of cake! Children's cake! Have your synaptic pathways been impeded by all the food colourings?

These are the same women who spent so many years telling us they were wheat and dairy and sugar intolerant, yet who have now, bizarrely, scored the hat-trick by finding a way to shove all three in their gobs at once. In any case, didn't we used to call them fairy cakes in Britain? I'm not some linguistic purist, so if language evolves towards a new name then so be it – but the word "cupcake" summons an image of that perfect, all-American 1950s housewife, bending down in her pinny to open the oven to yet another steaming hot home-made batch.

I quite understand that all of us, men and women alike, would now like to have one of those wives to look after us. I'm just not sure that fetishising kids' party food is the way to do it. Because fairy cakes, the English version, makes you think of a soggy plate of buns that somebody's mum has made for their seventh birthday party and plonked on a table next to the orange squash before she goes off for a fag and to shout at the kids to stop making such a racket.

Fairy cakes are too honest, too mortal, too British. Fairy cakes taste of defeat, which is why I like them. Let them eat cake, yes, just not cupcakes. Because these cupcakes – mark my words, feminists – these trendy little cupcakes are the thin end of the wedge. It will start with cupcakes and it will end in vaginoplasty.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

Read Next
‘Would Gary Lineker depart if his pay were halved, and would it affect the quality of MoTD?’  

BBC Me – no Archers, and no Fiona Bruce

DJ Taylor
Feeling the heat: David Cameron last week in Lanzarote  

The parable of the PM and the jellyfish

Joan Smith
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit