The cupcake was once all innocence: a stub of cake, a swirl of frosting. On a dressy day, adorned with a sprinkle.
It worked the birthday-party circuit for the under-6 crowd. It didn't mind. It was the sidekick, junior, the kid in the pastel pan liner. Not cake, but cakelet, cake-in-a-cup, cupcake.
We know what came next: success, excess, stress. How long can a cupcake endure the spotlight before succumbing to meltdown? Now the glamorous cupcake is considered passe. Been there, bit that.
Not that we mind. We liked the old-fashioned cupcake, short and sweet. We even liked the industrial cupcake — at least its glaze-and-curlicue style, its cream-stuffed construction, if...