Cupcakes, known as fairy cakes in Great Britain, are not new but have become very popular in the last few years. But what started this craze? Perhaps the popularity started with Sprinkles™, a cupcake factory started by Candace Nelson in Beverly Hills, California. Candace was inspired by her great-grandmother who ran a restaurant in San Francisco and was known for her desserts. After Candace Nelson was interviewed for the Oprah show everyone wanted to either purchase or make cupcakes. This simple little cake, served in a paper liner and baked in a muffin tin, has risen from being a staple for a classroom party to being an acceptable item to serve at an elegant sit down dinner.
Many local bakeries sensed the enthusiasm and added cupcakes to their regular items. One could also order cupcakes online or purchase mixes from the best known cupcake bakeries. Then the cupcake cookbooks started to be published. Of course, there had always been recipes for cupcakes contained in baking cookbooks but rarely was a whole book devoted to this small cake.
In 2009, Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes was published and started a trend. Wild about Cupcakes contains recipes for over 130 cupcakes, everything from all types of chocolate cupcakes to Christmas pudding cupcakes. The simply titled, Cupcakes, contains 39 recipes including Peanut Butter mini cupcakes, rhubarb yogurt cupcakes, and fruit tart cupcakes.
Then there are the cupcake books that have recipes that are more audacious and creative, such as Hello, Cupcake and What’s New, Cupcake?. Some of the cupcakes in these two books look like anything but cupcakes. It depends on what you consider more important: the taste of the cupcake, or the artistry involved in its creation. And then, for those for whom a bite or two will suffice, there’s Mini Cupcakes. These cupcakes are baked in a 2 ounce paper soufflé cup (more commonly known as a nut cup).
Not to be forgotten are the books for children about cupcakes. For the budding baker there’s Super-Duper Cupcakes and Cool Cakes & Cupcakes. Cupcakes have even made it into children’s fiction with the delightful picture book, Little Mouse and the Big Cupcake, in which Little Mouse finds a chocolate-chip, raspberry cream cupcake but it’s too big for him to carry home. He doesn’t need to worry though as many animals come to help him by taking bites out of it until it’s just the right size for him to carry home…in his tummy!
So, regardless of age or baking experience, there’s a cupcake book out there just waiting for you to drool over.