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Middle East: The Cupcake Revolution

Photo of knafeh cupcake by Frankom, cupcake by Glaze (Kuwait)

Photo of knafeh cupcake by Frankom, cupcake by Glaze (Kuwait)

“Yes, We Speak Cupcake” ran a headline in the New York Times this week.  The accompanying article noted the growing popularity of cupcake shops across the Middle East, crediting Sugar Daddy's, a popular Amman cupcake shop, with bringing the miniature cakes to stardom in the region (the shop now has franchises in Dubai and Beirut as well) and starting the cupcake revolution.

The New York Times isn't the only outlet talking cupcakes lately.  Bloggers in the Middle East and beyond have noticed the prevalence of the dessert as well.  Frankom, a Kuwaiti blogger, writes of being asked to sample local cupcakes based on traditional desserts, listing a few [ar]:

Kunafa on a bed of pistacio cupcake
Baqlawa on a bed of walnut cupcake
Rahash with rahash filling cupcake
Halwa with halwa filling cupcake
Zalabya with saffron cupcake

Jordanian And Far Away, remarking on Frankom‘s post, expresses trepidation at the thought of a knafeh cupcake, saying:

Now that is creativity. I’m not sure I’ll order them if they were in Jordan, the idea of knafeh on a cupcake is a little offensive to my Nabelsi genes, but I can’t help but appreciate the idea.

Cupcake-themed blog Cupcakes Take the Cake offers a photo post on the various cupcake bakeries in Kuwait.

Ramadan-themed cupcakes in Dubai; photo by Cupcakes Take the Cake, cupcake by Sugar Daddy's

Ramadan-themed cupcakes in Dubai; photo by Cupcakes Take the Cake, cupcake by Sugar Daddy's

Moving to the United Arab Emirates, where cupcake shops have found a market. Cupcakes Take the Cake has written about a number of such shops.  Regarding Sugar Daddy's in Dubai, the blogger shares an e-mail sent by the bakery's chef, describing one of the shop's special Ramadan cupcakes:

Blind Date: Tradition states that the Prophet Mohammad ate dates at the end of his fast, and the fruit is ever-present during the holiday. We have come up with a spice-filled date sponge that we frost with a swirl of cinnamon-flavored icing that has just a touch of coffee.

Yet another Dubai resident, Mahryska, writes about her favorite cupcake shop, Kitsch:

went there the other day and got myself coffee and a cupcake that looked darn good. and yes, it was good!

3 hearts for kitsch cupcakes for opening their store! ♥ ♥ ♥

The House of Cupcakes created this 500-cupcake masterpiece for the 37th National Day of the UAE celebration

The House of Cupcakes created this 500-cupcake masterpiece for the 37th National Day of the UAE celebration

Another Dubai shop, The House of Cakes, has its own blog where it shared an incredible photograph of 500 cupcakes in the shape of the Emirates’ flag (see photo at left).

The final stop in our whirlwind tour of cupcakeries in the Middle East is Bahrain, where cupcake shops are using new media to get the word out.  Cupcakes Bahrain blogs on the Blogger platform to share photos of their cupcakes and information about their store, while  Clever Cupcakes has a presence on Twitter and Facebook, to share information about their product such as this:

We only serve clever cupcakes! A Cupcake that you can't forget..
Impress your guests and loved ones by ordering your clever cupcakes.

Syrian flag cupcakes by Canadian bakery cococakes

Syrian flag cupcakes by Canadian bakery cococakes

We'll conclude with these final words from Lebanese blogger Jad Aoun, who notes the New York Times‘ coverage of Arab and Israeli cupcake shops alike, and quips:

Maybe its time we all make peace over a round of strawberry cupcakes. We wouldn’t want to be serving hommous or falafel now would we?

Syrian cupcakes (and photo) by cococakes

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