Saturday, 19 July 2008


Martha Stewart Collection Cupcake Tree from Macy's

Ooohh cupcakes, I just love the word cupcakes don't you, isn't it just the cutest, but didn't we used to call these little lovelies fairy-cakes when we were little? I know I did!

Ooohhh and butterfly cakes remember those? I think they were my favourites of all. I used to think of them as flying away when you weren't looking and so you had to keep tight hold of them and eat them quickly, although picking the wings off and licking out the inside was the way to do it! (Quite gruesome really, tee hee!)

Anyhoo, wondering where the name 'cupcakes' originates from I found this info.

There seem to be two theories about the origin of recipes titled "cupcake:"

1. The name comes from the amount of ingredients used to make the cake (a cupful of flour, a cupful of butter, cupful of sugar etc.). This is very similar to how pound cake was named. In fact, the recipes for cup cakes and pound cakes include pretty much the same ingredients and would have produced similar results.

2. These cakes were originally baked in cups. Old cookbooks also sometimes mention baking cakes in small cups. These cups may very well have been earthenware tea cups or other small clay baking pans. These would easily accommodated baking level oven heat and produce individual-sized cakes. This is not the same thing as contemporary metal cupcake pans, enabling cooks to bake a dozen small cakes in one fell culinary swoop.

Which is true? Both! We have historical evidence (old cookbooks) that support both theories.

This food historian agrees: "Cupcake ~ The name given in Britain and generally in the USA to any small cake baked in a cup-shaped mould or in a paper baking cup. In the USA the term may have originally have been related to the American measuring system, based upon the cup." Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson

So there you go quite obvious really, but I just can't decided whether I like the term cupcakes or fairy-cakes the best. Obviously both are equally as yummy so does it really matter what we call these little delights of tea-time?
So which do you prefer cupcakes or fairy cakes, I'll pop the kettle on while you decide shall I? x


  1. I think that we called them fairy cakes as children, I think of cupcakes as more the American term - but have to admit I now call them by both names! Or sometimes just buns! But I always love to eat them whatever they're called!!

  2. Thank you for the cupcake history, Alison! I just LOVER cupcakes...Being American though, I have to say, I've always love the English expression "Fairy Cakes" better! :o) mmm...I could eat a cupcake about now...I should bake some soon! Happy Day, my friend ((HUGS))

  3. Well we always called them fairy cakes in our house!

    Great post Alison.

    Marie x

  4. Fairycakes were always what we called them when I was little- whereas I always considered cupcakes to be more of an american term. I guess the Cinderella in me would stick to fairy cakes!! Lovely picture, and well done on the research!!x

  5. am a weirdo. Have just read Rachels comment!!! Perhaps I should start doing that first....x

  6. They were definitely fairy cakes when I was little!!

    Victoria xxx

  7. We called them Fairy Cakes...still do - but cup cakes sounds just a good.
    Carol x

  8. As long as they taste good I'll call them anything they like!! LOL!


  9. I remember fairy cakes, but perhaps the term has lost popularity due to a heightened sense of political correctness. Cupcake sounds quite cute, milk no sugar for me please.


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message.
Love Alison