Cupcake can be defined as a small sized cake, which is most suitable for the consumption of one person. Cupcake recipe calls for the technique of baking, which is generally done in the small sized, thin aluminum or paper cups. Cupcakes are called fairy cakes in British English, whereas in Australian English, these are better known as patty cake or are simply spelled cup cake. Cupcake can come with different kinds of decorations and frostings, which are meant for decorating cakes. These can include a wide variety of icing and sprinkles with different flavors and fruit, chocolate or candy toppings. The most common decorations on cupcakes come in the form of spiral or spin done with buttercream of different flavors and are mostly served during occasions like weddings, birthday parties, anniversaries and the likes. While the cupcake recipes can come in an array of varieties, the most popular are the giant cupcake cakes and the cupcake stacks, which form an entire cake. Some of the best known cupcake recipe names are pumpkin ginger cupcake, butter pecan cupcake, cream filled cupcake, praline cupcake and banana cupcake.
History of Cupcakes
Cupcake is believed to have been first mentioned way back in 1796, when Amelia Simms, in her cookbook “American Cookery,” made a mention of small cakes which could be baked in small cups. The first documented record of the term “cupcake” appeared in the 1828 Receipts cookbook “Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats” authored by Eliza Leslie. In the early part of the 19th century, the words “cup cake” and “cupcake” had different implications. In the centuries before that, these cakes were baked in ramekins, pottery cups or molds, which is how the cakes derived their names from the containers they were baked in.
In the later years, cupcake recipe mainly used up muffin tins. In the modern times though, the term “cupcakes” are synonymously used with small sized cakes which are of the size of teacups. On the other hand, the “cup cake” traditionally refers to the cake, where the ingredients used are carefully measured by volume with the help of a standard sized cup, rather than being weighed. Cupcake recipe which allowed the ingredients to be measured by volume in a cup, also allowed the baking of the cakes inside these cups, while the “cupcake” was mostly tin baked into loaf or as layer cake.
In the later years, when volume measurements came to be more commonly used in homes, these cakes became popular as quarter cakes or 1234 cakes, so named, as these are made of a cup of butter, double cups sugar, three cups flour and four eggs. The cupcake of olden times used to be plain yellow cakes with a much less richness and low price than the expensive pound cakes, as only half the amount of eggs and butter used in the cupcake recipe. In the early part of the 21st century, several cupcake shops were opened in the United States.
Ingredients Used and Popular Methods of Preparation of Cupcakes
A basic cupcake is made using the same basic ingredients used in any standard sized cake and they include butter, flour, eggs and sugar. To be precise, any recipe which is suitable for baking a layer cake can also be applied in the baking of a cupcake, with the only difference being that cupcakes being more efficient in heat conduction bake faster than layer cakes.
Generally, cupcake is baked in small coffee mugs, individual ramekins, large tea cups or small sized ovenproof pottery like containers. There are special pans available for baking these cakes, which are similar in appearance to muffin tins. These pans for cupcake recipe are ovenproof and are mostly metal made, although they may or may not have a non-stick surface. Generally, these pans have 6 to 12 cups or depressions for the batter to be spooned into them and baked. Often, these pans can be made of silicone rubber or stoneware. The standard size of cup used in baking cupcake is 3 inches in diameter with a 4 ounces capacity. Besides this, jumbo and miniature sizes also exist.
Cupcake liners or individual cups are also used in baking cupcake. These are generally thin sheets of round paper designed into fluted round cup shape with liners that facilitate easy removal of the cakes from the tin post baking. The use of liners also keeps the cake moistened and reduces the efforts that go into cleaning the pan. These cake liners can also be made of very thin foils of aluminum or non-disposable silicone rubber.
Serving and Eating Cupcakes
Cupcake can be eaten as a casual snack during any part of the day, although, most significantly the decorated cupcake is more associated with weddings, birthday parties, get-togethers and all kinds of occasions.
Popular Cupcakes Variations
Some well- known variants of cupcake are cake in a mug, chocolate butterfly cake and plain butterfly cake. In the cake in a mug cupcake recipe, the cake is baked for around 5 minutes inside a mug, mostly in microwave oven. The butterfly cake, which is also identified as the fairy cake is known so for its wings which resemble those of a fairy’s. These cakes come in a variety of flavors, where the top of the cake is carved out or cut off with a spoon and sliced into half. To this cavity, a whipped cream, butter cream or any sweet filling is spooned in and the two halves are stuck to the cream filling, which gives the appearance of butterfly wings or the wings of a fairy. These cakes often come decorated in various patterns. Another popular variant cupcake recipe is the cake ball, which resembles a round chocolate truffle and is basically an individual portion of the cake coated with frosting. This cupcake is made with crumbled cake mixture.
Thanksgiving Turkey Cupcake- It is a normal cupcake with a turkey shape made of frosting on top of the cake. The head, eyes and other features of a turkey are made using frosting of different colors and textures. Feathers made of candy corn are attached are attached to the icing. Turkey cupcakes are a dinner favorite of children and are commonly made in most American housholds.
In the year 2010, the famous television presenter Martha Stewart published an entire cookbook dedicated solely to different types of cupcake recipe.
The 10 flavors most used in recipes of cupcakes include banana, red velvet, lemon, pumpkin, chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, chocolate-vanilla, coffee and carrot.