Fandom Introduction: Cupcakes

Last night, Rosalind and I made the most delicious batch of gluten free cupcakes you could ever imagine. Gingerbread cake with caramalized-cinnamon filling and apple buttercream frosting. My mouth waters every time I type that out. But an obsession like this doesn’t begin with that crazy complex flavor combination described above. Cupcakes are a fandom like any other. And here I am to tell you why I’m a cupcake geek, and how it all began.

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.

Flavor science

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!

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kristin
    Jul 19, 2010 @ 15:58:00

    Those gluten free cupcakes sound amazing. Any chance you could tell me where to get the recipe? My mom was diagnosed with celiac a few years back and we’re always looking for new recipes.

    Reply

    • GirlsAreGeeks
      Jul 19, 2010 @ 16:01:41

      The recipe was homemade, and we’re still compiling what we actually did. I’m gluten-intolerant, so I’ve been exploring gluten-free baking in recent months, and quite successfully.

      Rosalind

      Reply

      • Kristin
        Jul 19, 2010 @ 16:04:38

        Oh, thanks anyway. I guess that means I’ll just have to experiment on my own. Oh the horror of having to make so many cupcakes! 😉

  2. Chronic Geek
    Jul 19, 2010 @ 16:53:58

    This is so exciting! Gluten-free forever! Hehe.

    I’ve been gluten free for the past ten years. Experimenting is the absolute best way to get the most delicious baked goods. Now I’ll have to try some of these!

    Reply

  3. Eleni
    Jul 19, 2010 @ 23:19:47

    Oh my God, I am so hungry right now. That six pack from Crumbs is making my mouth water! I love cupcakes, as long as they don’t have too much frosting on them.

    Reply

  4. Gina
    Jul 20, 2010 @ 19:27:06

    I don’t know much about gluten free cupcakes, but I know there are some fabulous places in the DC area that my family and I adore.

    Buzz – the original is in Alexandria, one is opening in Arlington, and it isn’t just their cupcakes. They have amazing pastries as well, like the breakfast brioche with bacon, egg, and cheese (or just egg and cheese if you don’t do bacon). And at night they serve drinks and host coffee-house type artists.

    Georgetown Cupcakes – I don’t think anyone in DC hasn’t heard of them. Totally worth the chaos of Georgetown to get them.

    Those are the two that come to mind…There’s one closer to my parent’s house but I can’t for the life of me remember the name o.O

    Reply

  5. Trackback: Flickr Finds: 07/27/10 « Girls Are Geeks
  6. Dahena
    Aug 03, 2010 @ 10:34:16

    Hey girls!
    I just discovered your blog, and loved it!
    I consider myself a geek and obviously a cupcake geek!

    greeting from Monterrey, Nuevo León, MEXICO!

    Reply

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