Has anybody else noticed the sudden growth in popularity in cupcakes lately? I am not sure about in the rest of the world but here in the UK it appears to the ordinary person that what’s now known as a cupcake just seems to be a massive fairy cake. The first cupcakes from days gone by appeared to be stodgy with a thick layer of sugary mass produced icing on top. This recent growth of the cupcake got me curious and led me to explore a little more about what really is the history of the cupcake, where did it come from and what absurd designs can you create. Here are a few of the things I found.
Despite Roman and Greek history documenting cake, it was the Egyptian who were really the first bakers. Of course cake isn’t an Egyptian word in any respect, that came from 13th century Britain and is derived from the Norse word ‘Kaka’ – Glad they changed it!!
Throughout the war in 1942 in Britain, food was rationed and therefore housewives had to be imaginative with their cooking abilities. Butter and Margarine were scarce and therefore women utilized liquid paraffin in their cakes rather – Mmm!
Also during the war in Britain, the government attempted to get housewives to use mashed potatoes rather than flour, as potatoes were not rationed. The authorities also imported dried eggs from America, and even though they tasted good scrambled, they definitely were not good in cakes.
Among the ways to look at a fruitcake is cooked is to listen to it – whether it is whistling, then it is not ready to come out yet.
The initial cakes were really more like bread, the Romans added honey, nuts or fruit to sweeten it.
Cake baking became much simpler in the 1840’s when Bicarbonate of Soda was released closely followed by Baking Powder, this replaced the yeast which was initially used to help the cake rise
The Quote ‘Let them eat cake’ didn’t refer to this modern day version that we know and love. It was really quite practical advice and called the water and flour which ended up ‘caked’ into the pans and ovens of the bakeries. The quote merely implies that if you are unable to afford the bourgeois bread you might eat the poor mans bread.
The word ‘Cupcake’ was first mentioned in 1828, they took their name from the cups they were baked in, so nowadays the term ‘cupcake’ is given to some little cake that’s about the size of a teacup. But when written as two words, ‘Cup Cake’ this called a cake that’s ingredients were quantified with a cup instead of weight.
Cupcakes were called ‘number cakes’ or ‘1234 cakes’.
There’s little doubt about it, cupcakes are having another wind, no longer are they the baking produce of the WI, but now of fashionable young mums competing to see who’s the best decorated, most lightest cupcake. There are a variety of sites now boosting cupcake delivery and cupcake toppings, you can even find great big cupcake stands today to show your colourful cupcakes in their designer instances. Cupcakes are big business, but do you know what is more significant, Cupcakes are delicious and I’m eating one right now – so go on, get your baking tray out, you know you need to!!