If you are a fellow fan of those miniature desserts of delectable deliciousness, creamy fillings, fluffy frostings, moist round cakes in pleated papers baked for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Farenheit … where was I going with this? Oh right, if you’re a fan read on. If you’re not, you might be by the end.
In the beginning …
Bakers created cupcakes, and Sprinkles created cupcake bakeries. But let’s back up to the way beginning: 19th century England. Muffin tins didn’t exist yet, and little individual-sized cakes were baked in small pottery cups. The term “cupcake” was used first by Eliza Leslie in her Receipts cookbook in 1828. Alternatively, they were called fairy cakes, because the small size made them just right for a party of fairies to share.
Fast forward to 2005, when Candace Nelson and her husband started a bakery dedicated solely to these miniature delights. Sprinkles still sells cupcakes in Beverly Hills, CA, but no longer are they the only cupcake shop around.
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Cupcake bakeries these days can be found around every corner. Many sell various sizes of cakes, from miniature to jumbo, but all have that familiar round cupcake shape. To find a cupcake bakery near you, just enter “cupcake bakery” and your town into Google maps, and that will point you in the right directions.
If you can’t find one close enough, no worries. Many tend to deliver locally, and some will deliver all over the country. It’ll cost you though. My favorite cupcake bakery, Crumbs, in New York City and Los Angeles delivers anywhere you want. A Signature 6-Pack (That’s any 6 of their largest cupcake size) costs $27 plus shipping, which varies depending on your location and method.
If that seems a little extravagant, then perhaps you just want to do your own baking. I’m not talking about buying a box of Betty Crocker butter recipe vanilla and a can of funfetti frosting (though that is a pretty delicious combination). Being a cupcake geek is all about experimentation and science. Here a few of my past endeavors:
Butter Cakes: vanilla cake with extra butter, with butterscotch chips tossed into the batter, filled with butterscotch pudding, topped with chocolate buttercream and butterscotch chips
Root Beer Float: vanilla cake with a can of root beer in the batter, root beer syrup drizzle, handmade whipped cream, crushed root beer barrels
See what flavor combinations you can come up with. Try to think of thing that maybe you wouldn’t normally put in a cupcake. My goal is to never make the same cakes twice.
Battle it out
If you want to take your cupcake fandom to the next level, get yourself hooked on a cupcake competition reality television show: Cupcake Wars. This food network show starts with four bakers, and challenges them to the perfect cupcake for the client. Round one is taste, and the bakers are given interesting ingredients that must be prominent in a delicious cupcake flavor.
One baker is eliminated, and the remaining three move on to Round 2, where they must create 3 delicious flavors of cupcakes, but these are judged also on presentation. One more competitor down, the final two go head to head to create a 1000 cupcake display for the client. Trust me when I say these are incredible.
So check out the show, check out a cupcake bakery, or try to bake a little yourself this week. Before you know it, you’ll be a cupcake geek too!