Are You Crazy For Cupcakes?
This week has seen the unassuming cupcake being celebrated. Running this year from the 17th – 23rd September, this superfluous celebration of cupcakes exists to encourage folks to buy a sweet treat from your local bakery, cakery or to try your own hand at baking cupcakes.
The basic recipe for cupcakes, and possibly one of the first things we baked when we were young, is now a hip trend. The nostalgia for traditional bakes with a twist resulted in the subsequent popularity of cupcakes.
Baking has taken the world by storm over the past decade. The world’s first cupcake bakery, now affectionately known as a cupcakery, opened in Beverly Hills in 2005. Sprinkles Bakery has a devoted celebrity following and as a result is a pioneer of the cupcake movement. Programmes such as The Great British Bake Off and Extreme Cake Makers have pushed the tiny, unassuming cupcake into a worldwide obsession. The revelry of cupcakes was started by British Baker magazine 9 years ago to encourage local bakers to share their cupcake creations on various social media platforms.
Cupcakes have come a long way from just the addition of plain buttercream or lemony white icing. Nowadays you can easily find a divergence of colour, creams, flavours and decorations from unicorn horns to cookie dough. Cupcakes have diversified as well and can be suitable for diets including gluten and dairy-free. Cupcakes have now become an art form and can be easily personalised.
The Chronicles of Cupcake
Cupcakes date back to the late 18th Century with a recipe instructing that the cake batter is baked in small cups usually teacups. Cupcakes gained a more popular following once sugar was a more attainable commodity for the working class. Cupcakes were also a perfect accompaniment at fashionable ladies afternoon tea events.
A recipe from the book American Cookery by Amelia Simmons in 1796 dictates that to make a light cake to bake in small cups one must use:
“1/2 pound sugar, 1/2 pound of butter and rubbed into 2 pounds of flour. Adding to this mixture 1 glass of wine, 1 do. rose water, two do. emptins, a nutmeg, cinnamon and currants.”
But it in was in 1828, in Eliza Leslie’s cookbook that the baked goods were named cupcakes. Interestingly, Eliza was one of the pioneers of ‘cup’ measurements now commonly seen in American baking.
On this side of the pond, cupcakes were known as Queen cakes. Queen cakes were popular in cookery books from the 18th Century. In 1806, Maria Eliza Rundell, who was one of the most popular cookery writers of her time, published A New System of Domestic Cookery. Her method of baking cupcakes follow:
“Mix a pound of dried flour, the same of sifted sugar, and of washed clean currants. Wash a pound of butter in rose-water, beat it well, then mix with it eight eggs, yolks and whites beaten separately, and put in the dry ingredients by degrees; beat the whole an hour; butter little tins, tea-cups, or saucers, and bake the batter in, filling only half. Sift a little fine sugar over just as you put into the oven.”
Modern-day cupcake recipe for 12 cupcakes
- 4oz self-raising flour
- 4oz caster sugar
- 4oz butter
- 2 eggs
Once you’ve mixed that, the world’s your oyster. Your cupcakes can be topped with buttercream, cream cheese, dulce de leche, ganache or a classic water icing mixture. Additions can include sprinkles, chocolate chunks, caramel and sugar cages. The variations are as limitless as your imagination.
5 Reasons Why We’re Cuckoo For Cupcakes!
- They’re pretty
Cupcakes are pretty, dainty little things. Cupcakes are made to be beautiful. There are so many competitions globally to create artistic cupcakes.
- They’re the perfect portion
Cupcakes are already conveniently 1 portion. There’s not a debate about cake slice size or whether to have another slice. One cupcake satisfies the sweet tooth.
- They’re a cheap indulgence
Cheap to buy and cheap to make! The cupcake is the perfect pick-me-up during the afternoon slump with a cuppa!
- Anyone can make them
If can measure ingredients, you can make a cake! Just 4 simple ingredients and you’re laughing! When you make cupcakes it only takes around 15 minutes for them to be finished in the oven too!
- Endless possibilities of flavours
Just think of all your favourite flavours. Do you fancy fudge? Or have a craving for chocolate? Cupcakes are the simple answers to bringing your favourite sweet flavours together.
Cupcakers in the Scottish Borders
Bite Me Cakes and Treats began in October 2017 in Hawick. With a passion for baking, Bethany Santi turned that passion into a business. Bite Me provides bespoke cupcakes for any occasion including baby showers, parties and weddings.
The business has been thriving since Bethany started and she even supplies a local coffee shop in Hawick. As well as cupcakes, Bethany bakes brownies, traybakes and celebration cakes.
More recently, Bite Me Cakes and Treats have branched out into free-from baking, including gluten-free products and her first order of lactose-free cupcakes. Also available are cupcake bouquets which are a great gift idea.
Bethany’s personal favourite is the Caramac Cupcakes which is a vanilla sponge, swirled with Caramac and white buttercream, drizzled with melted Caramac and topped with a Caramac square. Her favourite part of baking is piping the buttercream to create a fantastical, cake creation.
Thomas and Ethel Bakery offer over 50 cake flavours! Popular flavours include courgette and lime, rocky road cake and apple treacle. The bakery is the only free-from bakery in the Scottish Borders with its quarters in Tweedbank. The reason for starting a free-from bakery stems from the family’s own experience with food intolerance. This experience has led them to create a wide selection of cakes suitable for those with gluten and dairy intolerances. Mainly families these days have a member who suffers from an allergy or intolerance. The bakery ensures that together the family can enjoy cupcakes together. They are habitually told by customers, and fellow bakers, that you cannot tell the cupcakes are a free-form product!
The bakery is a family affair run by a mother-daughter team with inspiration from great-grandparents, who the bakery is named after, and Granny Treacle who is a familiar face at the bakery. The family is incredibly important to this business. They have looked to the past for inspiration from old recipes and given them a modern twist. The joy of sharing food with family and friends has been the driving force behind the bakery.
Thomas and Ethel Bakery provide wholesale and retail orders. They are looking to launch their website by the end of this year. So keep your eyes peeled!
Less Talk, More Cake
Celebrate cupcake week by trying these local cupcakery delights. Nowadays cakes can be enjoyed despite intolerances and allergies. Enjoying a cupcake is a simple pleasure and baking a dozen to share with family and friends brings joy. Why not support your local bakery by buying cupcakes for the coffee mornings that have been happening all over the country this month to support MacMillan’s World Biggest Coffee Morning (official date 28th September).