Pie is the New Cupcake?

The New York Times pronounced that pie is the new cupcake. Pie to Cupcake: Time is Up prompted serious reflection on my part on the State of Desserts.   Has the cupcake’s moment in the sun finally passed?

At first, I figured I had featured more cupcakes than pies on IslandEAT. However, I was wrong.  Perhaps pies really have overtaken cupcakes.  Perhaps I am a more of a victim of trends than I care to admit.

In the pie-versus-cake(cupcake) debate, I discovered that I have posted three pie recipes to two for cupcakes.  My first post for either was about my rather unsuccessful effort to recognize National Pie (Disaster) Day:

Blackberry pie, fresh from the oven

But, close on the heels of that pie,  I made cocoa-cayenne cupcakes with citrus-cream-cheese frosting (or, cupcakes, 2 x C3):

Pie v. Cupcakes – Where do you stand?

But the fresh fruit of summer tipped the balance in favour pies with strawberry chiffon pie:

A sweet-and-sour cherry pie quickly followed on the heels of its strawberry cousin:

Yet most recently I made a chocolate-bliss cupcake – a chocolate-espresso cake filled with chocolate-malt buttercream, topped with a meringue icing:

Just like the “cherpumple” monster pie-cake (three pies baked into a cake), perhaps a cupcake could be made from miniature tarts, engulfing both great dessert genres.  Why choose one over the other?  As Rodney King once stated so succinctly, in the aftermath of the 1992 L.A. riots, “Can we all get along?”

While I may have created more pies than cupcakes lately, I think there is a place for both pies and cupcakes in this big world.  My plea is to ignore trends, dessert fashion, and the pronouncements of major publications.  Please find it in your hearts to embrace the diversity of all baked goods.   But I ask you for your important opinion on this weighty subject before we bury the cupcake for good:

Is pie truly is the new cupcake?


21 responses to “Pie is the New Cupcake?

  1. I guess I’m more of a pie person.
    My blog stats? Pies 6 vs Cupcakes 0.
    Although your chocolate-bliss cupcake looks pretty darn good!

  2. Michele Patterson

    pie, definitely, but those 2Xc3 cupcakes may make me change my mind.

    Any pie crust hints Dan? My pie crusts always taste good, but look a mess


    • Thanks, Michele. I just found your comment in my spam folder – sorry!

      I really like the directions in the National Pie (Disaster) Day post for a dependable pie crust. If you have a food processor, it’s very easy, but the major tip is to not handle the pastry too much or it gets tough. You might try open-face pies or else do a simple double crust – you just need to be careful transferring the top circle; try rolling it on parchment or waxed paper, freezing for 10 minutes, and carefully lift the paper side (up, of course) once you’ve centred the pastry on the pie.

      Otherwise, cookie crumb crusts are the easiest and most forgiving (e.g., graham crackers, Mr. Christie’s chocolate wafers, Oreos).


  3. I`m with Kath — I like the looks of the chocolate bliss cupcake, but that`s `cause icing is my thing — and your cupcake has 2 kinds of icing. And since pie doesn`t have icing, well, I can take it or leave it.

    Is it as cold on your little island as it is on ours?

    • Thanks for your vote, Theresa. I have a major weakness for icing, too, but there is something about a good flaky crust or crunchy chocolate cookie crust with certain fruit (berries, pears, and peaches come to mind) which you can’t get in a cake. However, chocolate (with the exception of a fine chocolate cream pie!) and mocha are far better in cakes…such a dilemma.

      It’s ridiculously cold, and we were without power for 39 hours this weekend. Fortunately, we’d planned to go to Sooke Harbour House and missed most of the non-electric fun. How’s life on Pender?


  4. Seeing as I’ve made a gazillion cupcakes in my lifetime and never made a single pie… no. I don’t think pies are the new cupcakes! I actually know people who hate cupcakes because of what they stand for (*coughDavidcough*) but to me it’s a perfect little individual bit of sweet. I can never eat a whole slice of cake (or pie, for that matter), but I can always polish off a cupcake. Maybe it’s the mentality behind it… it’s also because you can eat a cupcake with your hands. Minimal mess – I like! Pies are a sit down with a fork deal, cupcakes are eat-’em-on-the-go!

    But good debate. Be interesting to see what others think.

    Jax x

    PS: I shall bring you a truckload of Horlicks! Or, y’know, some.

    • Hi, Jax (oh, I forgot that I can’t say such things around the TFSA these days). So you’re a pie-baking virgin?!? Who knew? You must master the art form.

      I’m not sure what a cupcake represents, other than something which might be a muffin or even a Yorkshire pudding in shape, usually with icing, and, if they’re really good, a creamy filling. Self-contained, individual, and portable – you’re right, that is what makes them exceptional, despite the trendiness. I will defend our rights to choose cupcakes or pies in our democratic food blogosphere!

      Where do you stand on hand-pies? (Pies: Hand-Pies ~ Cakes: Cupcakes) Maybe that’s going to be the trend with legs….

      Thanks for the offer of the load o’ Horlick’s (maybe you can track down that elusive malt extract for my oaty crisps, instead?!?).


  5. Michele Patterson

    pie, definitely; although those cocoa cayenne cupcakes may make me change my tune. yum (in advance)

    I have a cooking question for you Dan. I am making chocolate sandwich Christmas cookies for my kid – and you are supposed to crush up candy canes to mix in the icing filling but Trevor doesn’t like mint. Any other thing that might taste good in there? I thought lemon drops but don’t know if that goes with chocolate cookie. (hey, maybe you should add a cooks questions column to your blog – lots of us could use your expert foodie help

    • Hi, Michele. Thanks for your vote and comment!

      I think lemon extract (or orange or other citrus) would work, as would almond (pure extract, as I’m sure you’d use, rather than the synthetic – it is very artificial, as these things go) or pure vanilla. You could go for a mocha twist, with espresso powder, but Trevor might not be of caffeine-consuming age yet. Though kids drink lots of Coke, I’m sure your son doesn’t. Of course, you could do a chocolate icing but that would be just too much for some, but not for me.

      Thanks for the idea of question corner. I like that as a possible new feature. The extract question is a good one, and I could post about making vanilla extract at home (hint vanilla beans submerged in either vodka or bourbon and left for several months – pretty easy, no?).


  6. I have never heard nor seen a Cherpumple before. Thank you for that. It’s a pretty funny sight. I love cupcakes but am ready for that trend to be over so I am down with pies being the new cupcake. Thanks for the info.

    • Thanks, Geni. I think you should meet Charles Phoenix, as he does the Cherpumple thang in L.A. You could drive up in your famous Dalmatian truck, and you two would hit it off. I appreciate your vote. Dan

  7. I don’t know if the names are correct. But I’m sure that my sweet tooth is rocking with all these sweetness.

    The chocolate-espresso cake is gorgeous 🙂



  8. I’d love to try your cocoa cayenne cupcakes.

    I have to admit that I’m not much of a cupcake person. I prefer a regular-sized cake. Although cupcakes look pretty, but there’s something about the higher ratio of frosting to cake that makes me turn it away.

    I like making pies. There’s this local coconut pie I’d like to try to make myself.

    • Hi, KM.
      I guess you have a foot in both camps, as I do (even though I do like the higher ratio of frosting: cake).

      Your local coconut pie sounds enticing. I’ll look forward to reading about it on your blog!



  9. salut dan ,
    Facile à répondre : j’en ai marre des cupcakes petites choses trop trendy qui vont retomber comme un soufflé ; pour moi rien de plus vrai qu’une bonne tarte !!!
    Tu viens en France de temps en temps , à paris?
    Ici il fait froid mais rien surement à coté de chez toi !!

    • Salut, Pierre. Tu as raison: une bonne tarte n’est jamais trendy!

      Oui, je vais à Paris parfois, mais je viens de faire une visite en angleterre. La prochaine fois que je vais aller à Paris, je vais te notifier! Est-ce que tu viens au Canada ou aux Etats-Unis de temps en temps, au côte ouest?

      Il ne fait pas trop froid chez nous, car les Îles du Golfe ont le climat méditerranéen “cool-été”, comme au nord-ouest pacifique aux Etats-Unis. Il fait du soleil et il est 11 degres aujourd’hui! Notre climat me rapelle le climat à Paris – pas beaucoup de neige – mais il pleut, il pleut, et il pleut en hiver!



  10. Nice post. I am a pie person. There are certain things that are great in cupcake cups like Swedish cinnamon rolls but other than that i prefer pies 100% of the time. And since i am a fruit pie person i don’t know how well that goes into a pie. But if you are talking about tartlettes — ohh i love tartlettes 🙂

    • Thanks, Ewa. I see you are 100% in the pie camp! My theory, however, is that a bad pie is usually much worse than a bad cake (or cupcake), so I sometimes won’t risk the disappointment of canned filling in an industrial-strength crust.

      I wonder if tartelettes and the so-called “hand-pies” are the next trend to rival cupcakes?


  11. Pingback: Social Media – Blogging – Foodies – Internet Tools – Infographics: Best of this Week

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s