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baked goods

In The World Of Frilly Cupcakes, There’s a Butch Alternative

Unlike some brands that tell consumers anything less than complete masculinity (read: gayness) is something to be ashamed of, I think Butch Bakery in New York is taking a different tact. Specializing in cupcakes, the shop bills itself as “butch meets buttercream,” where masculine cupcakes run the show. That’s because, according to company lore, “Butch Bakery was born when David Arrick felt it was time to combine a masculine aesthetic to a traditionally cute product -the cupcake. When a magazine article mentioned that cupcakes were a combination of everything ‘pink, sweet, cute, and magical’ he felt it was time to take action, and butch it up.” But just because Aarick is pushing a masculinized product doesn’t mean these cupcakes somehow aren’t for the gays, or are a bitchslap aimed at them.

The former Wall Street securities attorney has received his share of press for baking the manly way. And with the cupcake market booming (some might say over-saturated), he’s still surviving, so he must be on to something. But while some wares out there are masc in a way that’s demonizing, I get the feeling Aarick’s are masc simply as an alternative to fem. Sure, he’s exploiting what he believes is a typical straight guy’s susceptibility to be afraid of eating a girly cupcake, but not at the expense of gays. After all, there are masc gay men, and masc gay women. There are masc trans people of both sexualities. And these cupcakes can be ours!

It’s possible to see a brand like Butch Bakery as perpetuating needless gender stereotypes. And that’s partly true — which explains why two gay friends I discussed this bakery with thought it was doing a disservice to our kind. I’m seeing the bakery, however, as a place where gender stereotypes are toyed with, made silly, and dramatized so much that we actually see how ridiculous they are … and then we get to eat sugar!

“That’s how Butch Bakery was born,” Arrick has said previously. “I thought [cupcakes were] all very feminine and pink and a lot of them are frilly with jelly beans and sprinkles, and I thought I wanted to do something very different, and I decided to something with a masculine bent to it and that’s how I came up with the idea.” That’s why he’s got creations like “a great banana, peanut butter with crushed bacon, so if you think about it, it’s kind of like the Elvis sandwich, you know, peanut butter, bacon, and banana, we’ve got a cupcake that has that. We’ve got a cupcake that has whisky. It tastes like a B-52. We’ve got a coffee flavoured, coffee-infused, which is with some Kahlua, so a nice coffee cupcake. That’s a huge hit for us.”

A stereotypically masculine spin on cupcakes would only be offensive if you thought cupcakes should exist only in a world where they’re treated as fem. That, and no matter how butch you think you’re making a cupcake, it’s still a cupcake.

On:           Apr 8, 2011
Tagged: , , ,
    • Cam

      Thats Gay.

      Apr 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • D.R.A.

      I don’t get this. They’re just cupcakes. I don’t think of cupcakes as feminine or masculine, because they’re freaking cupcakes. Must we insert gender stereotypes into everything?

      Apr 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mattsy

      RIDICULOUS!!! And a bacon flavored cupcake sounds DISGUSTING!!!

      Apr 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JAW

      LOL… I think it is funny… no pink icing… no flowers on top…

      Sounds like his are dark… so that means lots of chocolate… and I LOCE CHOCOLATE…

      Why is it the fem gays attack anything that sounds Butch or Masculine… Many of us cringe when some members of our community open their mouths or prance down the street. I respect your right to do that… Please let me, and most other gay men also be ourselves.

      Apr 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JAW


      oopps… LOCE = LOVE

      Apr 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alex

      It’s sad that we live in world where when you write

      “Sure, he’s exploiting what he believes is a typical straight guy’s susceptibility to be afraid of eating a girly cupcake,”

      I instantly shake my head in recognition and agreement.

      Apr 8, 2011 at 4:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TheRealAdam

      Absolute shit.

      I hope his store is fire-bombed…with pink, sweet, cute, and magical cupcakes.

      Apr 8, 2011 at 4:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Adam

      From what I can see, some of his cupcakes are plaid. That is the only thing I need to know where I’m getting my next cupcake.

      Apr 8, 2011 at 6:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JAW


      And sadly… should that happen… the cops will know where to look…

      That comment was completly out of line shame on u

      Apr 8, 2011 at 7:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • shaquita

      Let them eat cake.

      Apr 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TheRealAdam

      @JAW: Shame on him for even thinking of such a horrifying idea as this business.

      Apr 8, 2011 at 8:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John

      Good for him, though I’m not really a fan of cupcakes myself.

      Apr 8, 2011 at 9:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JAW


      I see nothing wrong with it… you go past any cupcake bake shop and they all look very fem… as do the cupcakes.
      What is wrong with targeting a different customer then the other shops?
      If the other shops can be cute and fem with flowers for names… why can’t he Butch it up?
      I have no problem with women, fem men, gender queer folks… but as soon as someone try’s do do something masculine… the gays go crazy. I am a gay man… I watch sports, I drink beer, I go to leather and bear type bars. I respect all of the other folks that would rather be at a dance club, drag shoe etc.
      For you to hope for a fire bombing is sooooo evil… In NYC, you would harm not only him, but his employees, the people that I bet live in apartments upstairs, neighboring business’ and even Firefighters
      You are the sick person… not him

      Apr 8, 2011 at 9:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TheRealAdam

      @JAW: It’s a GODDAMN CUPCAKE! There’s no such thing as a fem fucking cake, only to a complete piece of shit, insecure mind like yours and this total douchebag who decided to capitalize off of an imaginary gender fear. And I don’t care how much beer you drink, what sports you watch, or how much leather you fetishiz. I have absolutely no respect for your type or this douchebucket in the photo. You project and then you get uptight when people respond to your stupidity.

      This is some of the most absurd, stupidest shit I’ve seen in my life. Fuck all of you. Seriously, I’m not moving an inch on this one.

      Yes, fire bomb his whole fucking business with the flamer “fem” cupcakes he apparently hates so much. Rub those fucking fem cupcakes into his arrogant little twat face, with that disgusting beard and baseball cap.

      GOD!!!…this is so ridiculous and unreal.

      Apr 8, 2011 at 9:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • J

      How stupid.

      Apr 8, 2011 at 9:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JAW


      LOL… u are the unreal one… shame on you to wish people harm… time that you stop taking your meds… they are messing up your mind

      Apr 8, 2011 at 10:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alan

      Although it is wrong to attach a gender to a cupcake, there are cupcakes that are overtly “girly.”
      However, there’s nothing “manly” about his new cupcakes. Maybe just more sophisticated, compared to those one would find at a little girl’s birthday party.
      Actually, that’s it: The common variety of cupcakes are more childish, while his cupcakes are more adult-oriented. Nothing to do with gender roles, though.
      People are strange.

      Apr 8, 2011 at 10:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • caffesilvia

      @TheRealAdam: I might suggest psychotherapy, Adam. That was kind of scary.

      I think it’s a cool idea. And I definitely like the fact that he’s offering a new menu besides the traditional strawberry/lemon/red velvet stuff. But for the love of God, couldn’t he have come up with a better NAME for the business? “Butch Bakery” is way too literal and kills the fun. Also, “butch” is an ugly-sounding word. I’m guessing his marketing skills aren’t the best.

      Apr 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Have A Brain

      simply a marketing gimmick.

      people are so gullible.

      Apr 9, 2011 at 9:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Faeribear



      Apr 9, 2011 at 11:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AB

      I know for a fact that my friend in NYC tried to order 2 dozen cupcakes for a work function and they couldn’t fulfill his order, so he got a refund. Also several others had the same issue. Also, at one point he had no industrial kitchen. Is he still able to fulfill orders today? Has any one tried ordering lately?

      Apr 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Martin81

      This is so ridiculous! If I see some guy eating a pink, flowery cupcake (what some would refer to as “girly”), I don’t automatically assume he’s gay or, if he is gay, femme, I just assume he’s a sweet-tooth like me. Cupcakes are cupcakes, no matter how “butch” or “femme” people try to portray them. They’re just fun to eat! Seriously people, get a life, and enjoy the sugary goodness!

      Apr 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JusticeontheRocks

      Arguing about whether cupcakes are effeminate or have a gender identity is like arguing about whether the Purple Telletubby was gay.

      Apr 9, 2011 at 4:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • greenmanTN

      Oh. c’mon! It’s not that hard to figure out. In general, cakes and cupcakes are decorated in a sparkly, frilly manner with flowers and such. If you translated the same aesthetic to clothing they’d be a 6 year old girl’s idea of a wedding dress or at least a puffy-sleeved pirate shirt from International Male. I like to cook but hate making desserts, so if I was going to pick something to serve after a meal I worked hard on I’d rather it not look like something Rainbow Brite crapped out after bingeing on glitter. It’s not an “anti-feminine” thing or thinking it’s “sissy” to eat a pink cupcake, it’s about preferring a more understated, minimalist look. “Butch Bakery” might be a silly name but, as this article proves, it gets attention and gets the point across.

      Apr 9, 2011 at 4:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TheRealAdam

      @greenmanTN: The only “point” he is making is that he is an insecure moron, and is trying to attract insecure morons just like him.

      Your comparison to clothing is obtuse, to say the least. You are not wearing the cupcake, you are eating it. It doesn’t matter how “femmy” or how “masculine” the product is. In the end, it comes out your bottom the same color, and in the same form: shit. What it looked like beforehand is irrelevant.

      Unless you somehow identify that strongly with a dessert and feel it’s a commentary on your masculinity, in which case, I’d strongly suggest counseling.

      Apr 9, 2011 at 5:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree

      My grandma makes cupcakes with LOTS of rum in them. They’re unisex. She also make a less conventional one with tequila & lime: how very multicultural of her.

      After the third cupcake, no one cares which cupcakes are butch, blush, femme, homo or hetero, bi, questioning, trans or republican. Really.

      Now you know why I was class president in 9th grade !
      [Thanks, Mémère:….]

      Apr 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • declanto

      @TheRealAdam: Seriously, it’s just a friggin’ cupcake. I avoid umbrella-drinks, too. It doesn’t make me nelliphobic, it’s a simple preference.

      Apr 10, 2011 at 10:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

      > Butch meets buttercream in our chocolate beer cake with beer-infused buttercream topped with crushed pretzels.

      > Fill ‘er up with our maple cake topped with crumbled bacon and loaded with milk-chocolate ganache.

      > Our rum-soaked lime cake with mint white-chocolate ganache is sure to whet your thirst.

      Above are lifts from some of the descriptions of his “delicious” cup cakes……….”maple cake topped with crumbled bacon” *gag*

      Dude, Am so very sorry but cupcakes are the twinks of the pastry world……Some things simply can not be “butched up” :p

      Apr 10, 2011 at 11:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Soupy

      Maple cake topped with crumbled bacon! mmmmmm. Now I have a hardon. Maybe it’s because I’m Canadian, but if you don’t understand the orgasmic connection between maple and bacon, I feel sorry for you.

      Apr 10, 2011 at 11:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • declanto

      Bacon=meat candy.Loves sweetstuff.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Nat

      “It’s possible to see a brand like Butch Bakery as perpetuating needless gender stereotypes.”

      Ya’ think?

      If there’s one subsidiary thing the gay rights movement should be doing, it’s trying to dismantle as much of the gender stereotyping in our society as possible, not perpetuating it by engaging in ridiculous parodies of male and female behaviour.

      Apr 11, 2011 at 9:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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