Scrumptious, Sophisticated, Simple Recipes That Enlighten Your Taste Buds!

The Historical Cupcake—aka Fairy Cake…Get the Skinny!

worlds.bestThe term “cupcake” was first revealed in 1828 in Eliza Leslie’s Receipts cookbook. In the early 19th century, there were two different uses for the name “cup cake” or “cupcake”. In previous centuries, before muffin tins were widely available, the cakes were often baked in individual pottery cups, ramekins, or molds and took their name from the cups they were baked in. This is the use of the name that has endured, and the name “cupcake” is now given to any small cake that is about the size of a teacup. The name “fairy cake” is a whimsical description of its size, which would be appropriate for a party of the wee fairies to share.

The other kind of “cup cake” referred to a cake whose ingredients were measured by volume, using a standard-sized cup, instead of being weighed. Recipes whose ingredients were measured using a standard-sized cup could also be baked in cups; however, they were more commonly baked in tins as layers or loaves. In later years, when the use of volume measurements was firmly established in home kitchens, these recipes became known as 1234 cakes or quarter cakes, so called because they are made up of four ingredients: one cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour, and four eggs. They are plain yellow cakes, somewhat less rich and less expensive than pound cake, due to using about half as much butter and eggs compared to pound cake. The names of these two major classes of cakes were intended to signal the method to the baker; “cup cake” uses a volume measurement, and “pound cake” uses a weight measurement.


Related Posts

Ciabatta, Filone, Focaccia, Muffuletta, Vastedda, Ah Pane! & a Quick Ciabatta Recipe

Ciabatta, Filone, Focaccia, Muffuletta, Vastedda, Ah Pane! & a Quick Ciabatta Recipe

Ciabatta, Filone, Focaccia, Muffuletta, Vastedda, Ah pane…“A bread by any other name would smell as sweet.  I can sense Sir William Shakespeare rolling over in his grave as I write this…  Today, I want to briefly delve into a little history of another Italian staple; […]

Northern Italian Peasant Fare: Tuscan Rosemary Lemon Chicken

Northern Italian Peasant Fare: Tuscan Rosemary Lemon Chicken

This is a quintessential example of vintage Northern Italian Peasant fare. Since we have fountains of fresh rosemary flourishing in our Arizona garden and are always searching for ways to put this pungent, woody, citrusy herb to good use, I decided to showcase a Mama Carmela classic. This luscious, lemony, […]



1 thought on “The Historical Cupcake—aka Fairy Cake…Get the Skinny!”

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: