Posts Tagged ‘cupcake’

Never underestimate the ingenuity of a 20-something in a bad job market. Kids have no choice but to keep inventing things. With three entrepreneurs in the family, far be it from me to say that this inventing business has gone too far. But spray-can cupcakes?

Billy Baker has the story at the Boston Globe.

“It all started a little over a year ago, when John McCallum, one of the Harvard students, was sitting in the lab at his Science & Cooking class, trying to come up with ideas for his group’s final project. As he puts it, they were spitballing a bunch of possibilities that all followed the same theme: ‘ways to eat more cake.’

“[Joanne] Chang had appeared before the class earlier that semester and talked about the chemistry behind what makes cakes rise. As McCallum stared off into the distance, thinking about cake, he happened to notice someone spraying whipped cream from a can.

“That’s when the 20-year-old from Louisiana had his eureka moment: cake from a can.

“McCallum wondered if he could borrow the technology from the whipped cream can and create a similar delivery mechanism for cake batter, in which an accelerant releases air bubbles inside the batter, allowing the cake to rise without the need for baking soda and baking powder.

“To his surprise, it worked.” More here.

Maybe baking one cupcake at a time isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Photo: Essdras M. Suarez/Globe staff
Chef Joanne Chang of Flour bakeries fame tested the creation of Harvard students John McCallum and Brooke Nowakowski, and the verdict was a thumbs up.

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I haven’t previously cited a story from the NY Times feature “Deal Book” (a business column about mergers and acquisitions), but then they haven’t previously written about Twinkies.

Yesterday’s history of the ups and downs of the Twinkie by Steven M. Davidoff, an Ohio State University professor, drew me in.

“It was created in 1930 by an executive working at Continental Baking who was looking for a product to sell after strawberry season ended, when the factory line for cream-filled strawberry shortcake sat empty. The yellowish, cream-filled Twinkie was a hit and the company quickly expanded.”

Mind you, I am not one of the heart-broken fans who expected Twinkie extinction after Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy last year. Even back in elementary school days, my parents regarded some things as junk food, Twinkies among them. I myself craved classmates’ pink snowball cupcakes with the frosting that could stand on its own (literally). Snowballs also were off limits.

Prof. Davidoff tells how the Twinkie and its sister products was passed from acquirer to acquirer more often than an ugly sweater in your company’s Yankee Swap.

In the end, liquidation of Hostess Brands and the outcry from Twinkie fans led to a new sense of its worth. Two private equity firms have agreed to buy it.


Photograph: Politico.com

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