From Our Editors
Artisan cupcakes are a relatively recent phenomenon, but cupcakes have been around for more than 200 years. Read on to learn more about the personal-sized pastry.
The origin of “cupcake” is straightforward . . . Simply put: they’re baked in cups. As early as the 18th century, some cookbooks called for baking individual cakes in small earthenware teacups or similar vessels. Baking them in tins didn’t happen until later, after gold rushers sought out other uses for their sifting pans.
. . . but there’s another, equally plausible explanation. In the US, at least, the term also could have originated from the volume of ingredients used to make small cakes—a cup of flour and a cup of butter, for instance—much like the term “pound cake” referred to the ingredients’ individual weights.
Thank HBO for the cupcake’s resurgence. Many people attribute the recent popularity of cupcakes—once a mere staple of childhood—to a 2000 episode of Sex and the City, in which Carrie eats a cupcake from New York’s famed Magnolia Bakery.
The flavors are limited only by imagination. Around the country, bakers have topped the diminutive delights with everything from candied bacon and heirloom tomatoes to chocolate-covered potato chips.