CUPCAKES: From 1234 Cakes to The Hummingbird
New London Main Street Intern
June 13, 2012
They used to be called 1234 cakes. Such a name was an easy way to remember the necessary ingredients: 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour and 4 eggs along with 1 cup of milk and 1 spoonful of soda. Today the recipe has changed slightly and these baked goods go by another name cupcakes.
The first cupcake recipe ever to be recorded was written down in 1796; the second recipe wasnt written down until 1871. These cupcakes were actually baked in cups, and their recipes were most likely very similar to the 1234 recipe, as opposed to the recipes known today. In 1919 Hostess introduced its first snack cake, called The Cupcake, and the cupcake that is so popular today began to evolve.
The 1920s brought about the process of hand-icing cupcakes with either vanilla or chocolate frosting; the 1940s made cupcakes with malted icing available. The year 1947 brought about a redesigning of the cupcake, done by D.R. Doc Knight, and cupcakes began to look the way they do today.
Although the title 1234 cakes has been replaced by cupcakes, this dessert does have a few other names. In Britain theyre known as fairy cakes, and in Australia theyre known as patty cakes. The largest cupcake ever made was 4 feet tall, 10 feet wide, 1224 pounds and 2 million calories, while the smallest cupcake ever made was 1.5 centimeters tall and 3 centimeters wide.
If looking for a reason to eat a cupcake, there are many. First are the cupcake holidays. October 18 is National Chocolate Cupcake Day, and November 10 is National Vanilla Cupcake Day. If neither of those appeals to you, December 15 is both National Lemon Cupcake Day and National Cupcake Day.
Furthermore, downtown New London has several excellent bakeries where a wide array of cupcakes can be found. At Sweeties Bakery & Cafe all the cupcakes are made from scratch, and the frostings contain essential oils. At Mangetout Organic Cafe the cupcakes are vegan, as well as soy, dairy and egg free. One of their specialty cupcakes is known as The Hummingbird and contains pineapple, banana, cinnamon, walnuts and is topped with a cream cheese frosting. Little Sisters Bake Shop also has a wide variety of cupcakes, and from experience I can say that their Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake is phenomenal.
Cupcakes have come a long way since 1796 and the 1234 cake. Come to New Londons Historic Waterfront District, and see for yourself!
This is the first of a weekly series of articles I am writing about the history of sweets and where they can be found right here in downtown New London. I am enjoying the research!