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Is it better for a cupcake to look great or taste great?

Is it better for a cupcake to look great or taste great.  I personally think both, but there’s nothing worse than something looking tasty and tasting terrible.   I mean really, once it reaches your mouth who cares what it looks like?

As a “food lover” and owner of a small bakery, I am acutely aware of the fact that eating is a multi-sensory experience.  Long before we taste something, whether it be savory or sweet, the visual and  olfactory cues can either peak or diminish our desire.   Obviously, our goal at Baked Dessert Cafe is to offer food that looks great and tastes even better.

With the popularity of shows like Ace of Cakes and the availability of sugar clay decorations, along with the ability to photo copy on edible papers, it seems that most are adding these decorative designs to cakes, cupcakes and cookies.  We are no exception.  Fondant is not “natural” neither is the color copied edible image, but if you want something with a custom design, there is no “equal” substitute.  We inform our customers of this “up front”.

Like most, I personally don’t care for the taste of either one.  Most people admit that they peel the fondant decorations off and don’t even eat them. No surprise, they contain loads of artificial flavors and colors.  Enough reason to reduce the use, right?  In addition, adding these decorative details is expensive and adds significantly to the cost of the product.

Shelly and I intend to redirect our focus on creating visually appealing desserts that are decorated “au naturale”.   We have always used fruit/vegetable based coloring, sprinkles, nonparells, along with chocolate shavings, ganache, caramels and curds to decorate our desserts.  We also have added fondant flowers, shells and such to increase the visual appeal.  On special request, we will continue to do so because “what the customer wants is what the customer gets”, but we’re going to get back to our  “old school” style of doing things and we intend to bring our customers along with us.