Tuesday, 17 May 2016

A sweet history of the cupcake

Today the cupcake is as popular as ever, a delightful sweet treat which can be found from specialist baker's to supermarket shelves. The cupcake has certainly enjoyed a rise in popularity over the past decade, but where did the humble miniature cake come from?

Historically the cupcake can be traced back as far as 1796, American Cookery by Amelia Simms note's about a "a cake to be baked in small cups" this first reference can understandably explain where the name came from with a cake being baked in a small cup, however the cupcake as we know it today didn't start to surface in recipe books until the 19th century.

Generally most cupcakes were cakes baked in small tins, cups and moulds, as long as the cake was the size of a teacup it was referred to as a cupcake. The modern cupcake as we know it today does differ with the manufacture of cupcake moulds and trays enabling for a more consistent measure and cake size to the traditional recipes.

The cupcake recipe is essentially similar to traditional cake recipes, using the same basic ingredients to form the cupcake bases. The advantage that the cupcake recipe has over a traditional cake is it's cooking time, taking much quicker to cook baking in batches of cakes rather than one full sized cake, certainly an easier recipe to create at home.

Although cupcakes do tend to require more decoration than the humble cake, with a world of extravagant decorations available today, from edible glitters, to icing motifs, and of course the tasty buttercream icing. It can take time and a lot of patience to create cupcakes to a professional standard, but there is a certain joy in squeezing buttercream out of a piping bag.

Luckily today you can find a wide variety of places offering cupcake decoration classes from independent bakers to colleges where you can try these techniques out for yourself if you fancy yourself a dab hand with a piping bag.

Of course for those of us who prefer to simply enjoy the cup cake you can find a wide number of places baking and creating their own tasty treats, from the pioneers of the cupcake boom such as London's Hummingbird bakery to an eye full of treats on the 5th floor of Harvey Nichols. It's no wonder that many have turned their hand towards baking the glamorous cupcake, not just 'in vogue' but also a tasty treat.

Images: Flickr & Hummingbird bakery

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