Cupcakes are small, sweet sponge cakes.
They are often baked in small disposable ridged cups, of either paper or silver foil, and often frosted afterward. One of the first responsibilities that children are often granted in a kitchen is to be allowed to ice them. You peel the cup off after baking to eat them.
To make Cupcakes, you make a batter as you would for a sponge or butter cake, But, instead of pouring the batter all into one pan, you pour it into small moulds or cups bound together in a tray. The cups can be just greased or floured, or lined with a disposable Cupcake wrapper. Cupcakes will generally rise about 1/3 above the pan, but it depends on the recipe. Some are designed to produce flatter tops for certain looks and effects once decorated.
The batter is sometimes dyed with food dye to make a fancy colour. Other ingredients such as chocolate chips or fruit are sometimes added, but the taste is generally left somewhat plain, especially if there are plans to ice it afterwards.
At home, Cupcakes are baked in what are called "muffin tins", so homemade muffins and cupcakes will be the same size. Commercial Cupcakes will be the same size as homemade Cupcakes -- though not the same size as commercially-made muffins, because commercial muffins are usually made oversize.
Cupcakes are not as dense as muffins. If you're not sure whether something should be classed as a cupcake or a muffin, ask yourself if the batter would cook successfully as one big cake: if yes, then it's a cupcake. If it wouldn't, then what you have is muffin batter, and what you make with it is muffins.
In 2006, cupcakes were so everywhere that a Time magazine, Joel Stein, was inspired to write a rant against them (20 August 2006.)
Still in 2010, cupcake-only bakeries in America sold $100 million US of them, 1 cupcake at a time.
Muther, Christopher. Victory is sweet: Some trend-spotters have declared the cupcake fad over, but in Boston the confection is still growing strong. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: The Boston Globe. 22 February 2011.
CupcakesBaking Cups; Butterfly Cakes; Cupcakes; Fairy Cakes; Gem Cakes (Australia); Gem Cakes (New Zealand); Muffin Tins; Muffins
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