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Dessert wars: Cupcake vs. macarons

Is there a backlash against the cupcake? First, “Top Chef” judge Gail Simmons declares that she’s soooo over the popular treat, and now, pastry chef Francois Payard tells The Village Voice that macarons take the (cup)cake.“The new trend is the macaron. It's become very big,” he said. “The cupcake has stayed, but it's not my favorite thing to have. I find it very sweet, but I think the
Cupcake vs. macaron? Who's the stronger contender?
Cupcake vs. macaron? Who's the stronger contender?Today

Is there a backlash against the cupcake? First, “Top Chef” judge Gail Simmons declares that she’s soooo over the popular treat, and now, pastry chef Francois Payard tells The Village Voice that macarons take the (cup)cake.

“The new trend is the macaron. It's become very big,” he said. “The cupcake has stayed, but it's not my favorite thing to have. I find it very sweet, but I think the cupcake is good for the kid market, while the macaron is for the everyday woman because it's small.”

Not to be confused with the coconut confection macaroons, macarons are almond meringue sandwich cookies filled with buttercream or jam.

"A cupcake comforts. A macaron teases," New York Times writer Ligaya Mishan posits. "Dainty, nearly weightless, it leaves you hungrier than you were before. It is but a prelude to other pleasures. Your slacker boyfriend gives you a cupcake; your lover gives you macarons."

Ouch! While there have been many predictions as to what hand-sized dessert will overthrow king cupcake (mini-pies and doughnuts among them), none have even come close. And, also, who says all women want a small dessert? Some of us can really throw down!

When I posed the question to TODAY.com staff, there were a couple strong reactions:

First of all, macarons are SO expensive. And they don’t taste like anything! Cupcakes, on the other hand, taste like EVERYTHING. Macarons are pretty, which is perfectly nice, but if you’re talking about actually getting something into my belly, it’s cupcake all the way, followed closely by donut and pie. – Amy DiLuna, senior editor

I am so over cupcakes. A cupcake used to be hard to come by, so it was a special treat. But in the past couple of years people’s general obsession with cupcakes and their wider availability (heck, they even have their own reality shows “D.C. Cupcakes” and “Cupcake Wars”) has reached a fever pitch. It seems every birthday, going away party and baby shower (yes, even my own) has become an excuse to serve the little cakes. Enough. Cupcakes have had their 15 minutes of fame. I haven’t tasted a macaron yet, but I’m glad there’s a new dessert trend on the horizon! --Susan Houriet, supervising producer

I believe the dessert world (and my appetite) are big enough for both. What do you think? Do you prefer one over the other? Do you think the cupcake’s heyday is finished?

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