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Elaine Price (very happily) explores the cupcake...

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Let them eat cake!


Mothers Day is fast approaching, but whatever the occasion may be, there is really no excuse needed. Its time for cake and lots of it. So, what shall we choose?


It used to be quite simple, fruit or sponge? Icing or butter cream?


Now it seems that cake has become very complicated indeed with extravagant Parisian influences, towers of decadent fruits and chocolate, and most of all, the arrival of cupcakes.



Cupcakes. Gorgeous little bundles of fluffy sponge made pretty with pastels, sparkles, and silliness and they have us hooked, caught in their sticky, sweet but oh so pretty grasp. But where did they come from and why are they such a phenomenal success?

Away with the fairies


Cupcakes are actually nothing new; the first mention of them can be traced back as far as the late eighteenth century when they were quite literally baked in small cups. But as far as the latest offerings are concerned, they are really just remodelled from the humble fairy cake of bygone days. Although fairies were generally smaller, less extravagant (butterfly cakes were about the height of decadence) and not quite so pretty, they were the cupcake of their day and still encouraged longing looks from children through bakery shop windows.


Then came the transformation along with celebrity status as cupcakes took cities like New York by storm and paved the way for upmarket, niche bakeries adored by the stars and featured in the likes of Sex and the City. It was only a matter of time before we followed suit and like good coffee, we wonder what we ever did before they came along.


Cupcakes are now so popular that they are they becoming the centre piece for all occasions, even traditional wedding cakes are being pushed aside for eye-catching cupcake towers that are much easier to hand out than crumbling slices.


Let them eat cake! The words supposedly spoken by Marie Antoinette on learning there was no bread for the peasants to eat. Im inclined to agree, bread or no bread.

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