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Strange Facts about Cupcakes

Elaborate, sweet, and often decadent, cupcakes are delightful desserts that spark the inner child within us. The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of “a cake to be baked in small cups” was written in “American Cookery” by Amelia Simms. The earliest documentation of the term “cupcake” was in “Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats” in 1828.

Classical bakery recipes used weight as a means for measuring ingredients, but eventually evolved to dry measurements. The traditional pound cake recipe was easy to remember for its pound of butter, pound of sugar, pound of flour, pound of eggs. Likewise, an easy 1,2,3,4 recipe, the name “cupcake” can be derived for how the recipe was measured: 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 4 eggs.

While today we use muffin tins to bake cupcakes, these pans used to be called gem pans. However, cupcakes were originally baked in teacups and ramekins before the invention of the multi-cup pans. Popularized in the 19th century for their ease of mixing and quick cooking time, here are a few strange facts about these little creations:

 – Cupcakes (and other baked goodies) are banned in New York City’s schools as a way of curtailing rising obesity rates.

 – Cupcake liners do more than make it easy to remove them from the pan. Traditionally, sides of tins are greased for easy removal, but also floured because the batter needs to have something to cling to. A cupcake liner takes care of both.

 – Suzanne Rutland claims to have eaten over 50,000 Hostess cupcakes and even founded a Hostess Cup Cake Club. This iconic cupcake has been around since 1919, but became hugely popular with the addition of a creamy filling in 1950.

 – Several attempts have been made to create the World’s Largest Cupcake. However, by definition, these would indeed just be large cakes iced together mimicking the classic fluted shape of the true small stature of a cupcake. The current holder of the record: GourmetGiftBaskets.com for their 1224-lb., 2 million calorie creation baked on August 15, 2009.

– If giant cupcakes are imposters, then the World’s Smallest Cupcake is a sure winner. Baked in Great Britain in celebration of National Cupcake Week, this mini-mini measured 1.5 centimeters high and 3 centimeters wide.

– While not edible, the $25,000 cupcake car featured by Neiman-Marcus in 2009 is perhaps the oddest cupcake. Cupcakes will be custom made to match your favorite flavors and toppings.

– 29 cupcakes in 30 seconds is the record for eating the little treats

While relative newcomers in the world of food, the cupcake has earned its place in culinary history. From cupcake kabobs to bacon-chocolate flavored treats, these confections will continue to delight us into the future.