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The Most Controversial Pastries in Recent History

When dough gets a rise out of people.

by Brenden Gallagher

by Brenden Gallagher

From lines around the block for speciality pastries, to racist cupcakes, to pop stars licking donuts, pastries have made a big splash in the news in recent years. It turns out that when people are desperate for that perfect piece of cake or artisanal cupcake, they will do just about anything to get their hands on it. Legal fees can mount. Careers can be ruined. Calories can be gained. Here is a round-up of all the ways that pastries have been making news.

Ariana Grande Licks Donut, Hates America (July 2015)

In July of 2015, Ariana Grande made a statement. And the public really wasn’t clear on what she meant by it. During a trip to a California donut shop, she licked some donuts that were for sale and said “I hate America!” As is the case with most young celebrities who run afoul of “American Values,” she was forced to apologize. First, Grande issued a statement, and then she followed it up with a video clarifying her earlier statement and affirming her patriotism.

Cronut Controversy (July 2013)

Pastries are known to take New York by storm, and the cronut craze was one of the biggest in recent years. In 2013, lines around the Dominique Ansel Bakery were blocks-long as New Yorkers came together to wait in line to taste greatness. Once the Cronut’s success became a national phenomenon, copycats came out of the woodwork. Dominique Ansel staff found themselves forced to defend their trademark from bakeries hoping to infringe on the Cronut’s success. You can now find them all over the globe, going by other names.

Wedding Cake Discrimination (2012)

Courts have consistently ruled that bakers and other businesses are obligated to provide the same services to same-sex couples that they do for heterosexual couples, but that hasn’t stopped bakers from petitioning the courts to hear their case. A Colorado baker was turned down by his state’s Supreme Court when he wished to overturn a lower court’s decision that he cannot refuse to bake a same-sex wedding cake. Thus far, the Supreme Court has declined to take up similar cases, but lower courts have continued to affirm the rights of customers to be served regardless of their race, sexual orientation, gender, or other details about their background.

Armed with A Pop-Tart (March 2013)

We’ve heard that eating a bad breakfast can kill you, but this is ridiculous. In the spring of 2013, 7-year-old Joshua Welch brought a “breakfast pastry,” believed to be a Pop-Tart, to school. The young boy chewed the pastry into the shape of a gun and allegedly threatened classmates with it. Welch was suspended from school, which his parents thought was a bit extreme. This launched a years-long legal battle that attracted national interest. As of last summer, Welch’s suspension was again upheld by the courts, but at least the boy was given a lifetime membership to the NRA for some reason. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Big Whoopie (Eternity—at least in Maine and Pennsylvania)

Some pastry controversies are eternal. Take the case of the whoopie pie. The dessert—sweet cream between two moist cakes—is a delicacy in both Maine and Pennsylvania. And they are good as hell. The Amish claim the dessert as a product of their Pennsylvania Dutch culture, while Mainers insist that the treat is a New England delicacy dating back to 1925. Both states have moved to enshrine the whoopie pie as an official state treat but have met resistance from the other state’s dessert proponents. The fight between the two states rages on, proving that some (arguably pointless) pastry controversies are eternal.

Khloe Kardashian Lies About Pies (Nov. 2015)

The Kardashians are many things: entrepreneurs, style mavens, social media stars. One thing they are not: bakers. In a 2015 Instagram post, Khloe claimed that she baked an impressive spread of pastries. In her humblebraggy Insta post, she said, “I love testing myself and seeing what I can accomplish and actually make successfully!” The only problem was she didn’t actually make the baked goods. They were provided by noted L.A. bakery Sweet Lady Jane. The staff of Sweet Lady Jane complained and Khloe fired back, tweeting, “Petty motherfuckers! I have real shit going on in my life. Try not to choke on my nuts. You’re sucking them pretty hard.” That tweet makes us wonder if her writing is her own as well.

The Racist Cupcake (Oct. 2016)

Portland-based cupcake shop owner Anjelica Hayes had no idea her cupcakes would cause a stir. The owner of Fat Cupcake decided to name a cupcake after President Barack Obama, and decided that a cupcake with an Oreo baked inside would be the best way to honor our Command-in-Chief in sweet form. For some reason, Yelp reviewers took offense and tried to shame her. Hayes, herself a black woman, couldn’t see the issue, and continued to sell the cupcake despite the protests. Since the controversy brought her national attention, she doesn’t much mind the accusations.


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Brenden Gallagher

Brenden Gallagher works in television and writing in Los Angeles. He worked on Revenge, Heartbeat, and Famous in Love. His writing has appeared at Complex, VH1, and MERRY JANE. Follow him on Twitter @muddycreekU



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