What is a Cupcake Factory?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A cupcake factory or bakery is a business that devotes itself primarily to making cupcakes in large supply and in a great deal of variety. Though these businesses might also sell other sweet treats, they are typically most concerned with cupcake production. In a sense, emphasis is the opposite of many traditional bakeries that might produce a few cupcakes for sale, but that most concentrate on cakes, cookies and other baked goods. For the cupcake factory, production of the cupcake and possibly creating items like wedding or other celebration desserts from cupcakes is of greatest importance.

A cupcake decorated with marzipan roses.
A cupcake decorated with marzipan roses.

Calling a storefront a cupcake factory may be a little confusing, since it may not have a large factory that supports it. Instead, many of these companies are much smaller and rely on a reasonably sized kitchen to do their baking. What is meant by factory, is that focus is on manufacturing cupcakes. There are large companies that may manufacture cupcakes for commercial and widespread sale, such as Hostess® and Little Debbie®, but these are generally not considered in the same light.

A frosted cupcake.
A frosted cupcake.

There has been growing interest in creating cupcake factory or bakery stores. These began to appear in the last decade of the 20th century, and got popular culture boosts from being featured on television series like Sex in the City in the early years of the 21st century. There are now numerous cupcake factory locations in many moderate-sized towns and, of course, in major cities.

Some cupcake factories also make larger cakes for birthday parties and other celebrations.
Some cupcake factories also make larger cakes for birthday parties and other celebrations.

Popularity has risen in part due to increasing interest in creating a variety of cakes made of cupcakes. It is now fairly easy to order cupcake wedding cakes, or a plethora of other celebratory “cakes” that can be arranged or layered in a variety of interesting ways. Alternately, people can eschew the traditional celebratory cake for things like birthdays or office parties and buy large quantities of cupcakes instead. Many cupcake factory stores deliver or like any bakery can have available a lot of these “fairy cakes” if they are pre-ordered.

Cupcake bakeries usually offer more flavors of cupcake than standard bakeries.
Cupcake bakeries usually offer more flavors of cupcake than standard bakeries.

The art of the cupcake has certainly advanced in many cupcake factory locations. Traditional choices in a standard bakery lean toward the flavors of chocolate or vanilla topped with either flavor icing. Most factories have much greater selection and offer these dainty cakes in a variety of flavors and toppings.

Some cakes are even filled, which is not that usual for the standard cupcake. Variation in flavor and appearance means that selection is just as wide-ranging as would be available in cake form. There are few limits to what flavor profiles can be explored.

One trend in this form of specialized bakery is the development of franchises. People can purchase a franchise that sells specific types of cupcakes made from mixes or defined ingredients. These franchises may be popular among some, but others prefer a more “home-baked” feel to their cupcakes.

Those who can’t find a cupcake factory nearby should not despair. Many standard bakeries have latched on to the cupcake trend and will now make a variety of these cakes on pre-order. Many bakeries, caterers and specialists in celebratory cakes also will assemble cupcakes into elaborate designs for special occasions like weddings or showers. Lovers of the factories, though, recommend that people consider visiting a factory at least once, as getting to choose between rows of elegantly iced and differently flavored cupcakes can be a treat.

Snickerdoodle cupcakes may be featured at a cupcake factory.
Snickerdoodle cupcakes may be featured at a cupcake factory.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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