24 May 2009

Well She Was an Amercian Girl

Yeah, I'll admit I've always been a Tom Petty fan. And by far one of the greatest moments in my personal rock 'n' roll history was when Tom took the stage with Axl Rose at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards for a duet of Free Faliing. I was a big GnR fan back in the day - heck, Paradise City and Welcome to the Jungle are on the Ipod playlist I run to - and sheepishly admit to following Axl on Twitter. I have no idea if it's really him but some of his updates certainly make me laugh. Oh how the mighty have fallen so far. Which brings me to the subject of today's post....

Last week I had an order from a French woman who frequently does parties and workshops with kids. She had contacted me cause she buys cupcakes for these events from a local cupcakery. She told me she wanted to explore some new options; I heard through the grapevine that the guy at her current cupcakery is a real jerk and that she felt his products were not up to par. But that's another story.

When she came to pick them up, we got to talking and I mentioned that my cupcakes were real American-style cupcakes which I believe set them apart from the other Parisian cupcakes. What is a real American-style cupcake you may ask? Well, in my mind, it's the cupcake I grew up on in the good ol' US of A. Real moist and flavorful with a rich, creamy buttercream. Is it sugary? Hell, yeah! But not like the tooth-hurting sweet that you can barely get through. I'm talking yummy, melt in your mouth sweet where you can't wait to get to the next bite...or the next cupcake.

IMHO, this is a pretty stark contrast to the cupcakes made by French people for French tastes. I'm not a hater. Just trying to explain the cultural differences. The French cupcakes I've tried (and there are only a handful of bakeries making them) are by and large made like a quatre quart - which is close in consistency and taste to an American poundcake - and frosted with a buttery flavored cream. They tend to be drier and less sweet. I'll be diplomatic and say they are not better or worse, just different.

So getting back to my customer, she told me that she really wasn't a cupcake fan, she thought they were a passing fad and she only got them for the kids. So why was I surprised and very disappointed when she wrote to tell me that the cupcakes were cute and the kids adored the decorations but in her opinion, they were too heavy and she would have preferred something a little less sugary? It was the first time a customer had taken the time to write me with negative feedback and I hate knowing that someone ate one of my cupcakes and wasn't satisfied with it. For me, the joy comes not only from baking and creating but from the joy I give other people who eat my cupcakes.

I thought of writing her an apology but decided to sleep on it. Then I read a post on Retro Bakery's blog written by its owner Kari Haskell out in Las Vegas. Kari is spunky and sassy and she gets my vote cause she always incorporates lyrics/songs into her blog posts. The cold hard truth is you can't please all the people all of the time; as Kari says you need a thick skin to work in this biz. "You have to keep going and trust in your product." Which I do!

So you know what? I'm taking this to heart and moving forward (Thanks Kari for the words of wisdom!). And to everyone out there in Paris tonight, you like all-American, filled with sugary goodness, sink your teeth into cupcakes that will leave you craving for more? Look no further than Little Miss Cupcake! Oh yeah, all right!


  1. Go on, Little Miss Cupcake! I know I can't taste them, but your cupcakes look great. I love the chocolate drizzle on top. :)

  2. Vive la difference!

    A new cupcake bakery, Crumbs, just opened near here, and while I love the idea of cupcakes, these cupcakes were totally unappealing to me (i.e., no Little Miss Cupcake cupcakes). They were enormous and loaded down with, like, two inches of heavy looking frosting -- and zero creativity. But there was a line at the counter, so clearly my opinion/tastes don't account for much.

    On a related note, I have heard similar stories to your cupcake one regarding eclairs. I myself like a traditional French eclair and have found the only decent ones outside of France at Payard in NYC. But most people in this country think of eclairs as these big, heavy, doughy treats with a pudding-like cream inside and heavy chocolate icing on top (very German or Italian), because that is what they grew up with and are used to. What's that French expression, chaque a son gout?

    On a final note, Guns and Roses?! Really? Huh.

  3. Oh your cupcakes look so nice. I m sorry this customer diidn t like your cupcakes but you can t please everyone and I m sure that your cupcakes are delicious. I m disapointed to when I receive negative feedback but either you learn from it if it s constructive or otherwise live with it cause everyone has different taste, I say your cupcakes are awesome :)wish to taste them too :)If I come to France I ll surely buy some :)yummy

  4. I could not believe someone complained about your cupcakes! While I certainly haven't tasted them, I think the look absolutely delicious, and I'm not just talking about the fabulous decorating you do, they look moist and the flavours you make all are mouth watering!
    I guess not everyone is going to be happy with everything, its part of the baking business, everyone has different preferences.
    I am glad you are not letting it get to you, cause it certainly shouldn't!

  5. Well, it's certainly true that you cannot please everyone, though you certainly aim to!! I know that negative feedback is never welcomed, but at least it's good for you to know that YOUR cupcakes are DELISH... and if someone doesn't like them, well.... that means they don't like good cupcakes... She probably likes the bad ones... I think I know the place you are talking about, by the way and if it IS, then this place is DEFINITELY worse than the FIRST place I tried! And you know which two places I have tried... :)
    You are hands-down, the BEST, just only on looks alone, and I am SURE, that the cupcakes are just divine... Can't wait to taste one one day.... We'll have to bake for each other for when we meet in person... Take care and definitely don't take the negative feedback to heart (Also, adults are a bit more critical than kids...
    Take care,