Cupcakes have become extremely popular over the last few years. Bakeries that just make cupcakes are popping up in every city in North America. Part of this popularity is due to the fact that a cupcake is a portioned dessert. In other words, you can have a small amount of sweet with a cupcake, and not break your diet too badly. There’s just something special about having a little individual cake made just for you. I think the paper liners can actually add to the “special” feeling. It’s like you’re opening a small gift!
The cupcake was first seen in the mid-19th century. Colonial women developed cupcakes because of the amount of time it saved in the kitchen. These small cakes baked in cups could be put on the hearth to take advantage of the heat remaining in the embers, and they baked very quickly. There is another theory, that rather than being named cupcakes because they were baked in cups, that they derived the name from how the ingredients were measured out. Prior to this time, ingredients for recipes were weighed. It was around this time in history, that people began to use cups to measure ingredients. A recipe of that time for cupcakes was; one cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour, four eggs, one cup of milk, and one spoonful of soda. This made the recipe easy to remember because of the number sequence and may have led to the term cupcake.
Cupcakes have evolved to the level of art these days. The variety of ingredients is limitless. You can find every flavor of cupcake imaginable from chocolate and bacon, to green tea, and everything in between. Decorating them has taken many forms, and the variety is endless. They are a reflection of our pop culture in the culinary world. There are cookbooks, blogs, TV shows, and magazines entirely dedicated to the creation of cupcakes.
I’ll give you some recipes in another post, but lets talk for a minute about decorating cupcakes. A basic design is spreading the frosting with a knife or spatula. But using a piping bag can give you a whole different effect. With a piping bag your cupcake can look like an ice cream cone, or a flower.
Cupcakes are found at weddings and showers and the decorations for these can be very formal with intricate lace patterns or beautiful flowers.
Cupcakes can also be a flight of fancy.
By adding a few flourishes of your own, you can make your cupcakes stand out from the crowd. A marshmallow can be turned into a ghost for Halloween or a bunny for Easter. Don’t forget about decorating with candy. Chocolate shavings can lend an elegant feel. Gummy bears are just plain fun, and you can get some really good effects by cutting fruit leather into shapes for your cupcakes.
Here’s a quick tutorial video on how to make your cupcakes look like ice cream cones.
People eat first with their eyes. If your cupcakes look great, people will love them! Try a few of these ideas. Have fun with it!