The Rise of the Cupcake
November... Famous for cold weather, Bonfire night and charity moustache growing, but did you know that something else is celebrated in November? Something we all love, maybe even more than fireworks, bad facial hair and wrapping up warm for braving the Christmas shopping crowds...
November the 26th is National Cake Day, celebrating centuries of our favourite dessert. Whether you love vanilla, chocolate, carrot, cheese, fruit or even pineapple upside-down, what better excuse to ditch the diet for a day and treat yourself to some good old-fashioned baked goods!
The first cakes were made in 200BC in Ancient Greece, where the Cheesecake was a popular dish, and was served at the 776BC Olympic Games. During the middle ages a dense cake made with honey-sweetened bread, dried fruit, nuts, spices and alcohol was served to mark special occasions such as weddings. It was also carried by the crusaders for sustenance on long journeys. The first round cakes began to appear in the 17th Century following advances in ovens, cooking techniques and availability of ingredients. They were iced with a boiled combination of sugar, egg whites and sometimes flavourings, before being returned to the oven and then allowed to cool for the icing to set.
The first mention of a cupcake as we know it today dates back to a 1796 US cook book, when Chef Amelia Simmons wrote of cakes baked in small cups to serve one person. The term cupcake is also said to be derived from the method used to make them, employing measurement by cup rather than weight. Following the First World War cupcakes grew in popularity and it was not until the 21st Century that the cupcake boom really began. Popularised by TV shows such as Sex in the City, the cupcake evoked a sense of nostalgia and it wasn't long before cupcake bakeries began to appear the World over.
With around 44 million cupcakes consumed in the UK last year, MoneySupermarket takes a look at this iconic little dessert and the reasons behind its phenomenal popularity. The huge range of different cupcakes available means that there's one to suit every taste and every budget. For the best savings, you should consider making them at home - With just a small amount of ingredients you can make cupcakes for a little as 41 pence each, and what a great low cost way to spend time with your family. However, before you head out to the supermarket for your ingredients, remember that if you want to be a part of the next big 'little cake' boom, you might want to have a go at French macaroons or cake pops.
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