Historical Romance

Historical Romance with an Inspirational Touch

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cupcakes – Where have I been?

To me, cupcakes were the things I made for my child’s birthday parties, or large family dinners. You can’t beat the convenience of the perfect serving size, wrapped in a paper to keep your fingers from getting sticky, and no need to dirty a plate and fork, and to send your kids on their way (usually encouraging them to go outside). Mine were made of chocolate, vanilla, yellow or frankly, any cake mix that happened to look good on the grocery shelf that day. Throw on some frosting and it is good to go. If I was feeling adventures or more festive sprinkles were added. Cupcakes were, well, cupcakes. And, since I am not much of a cake lover, I figured these were good enough since I received no complaints.

At least that was my attitude until this last spring. I’ve come to learn that cupcakes do not have to be boring. Erin Kelly, one of my critique partners, makes a pina colada cupcake to die for. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying these twice and am ready for more. The two pictured are the Margarita and Pina Colada Erin shared with us last spring. The one pictured below is Vanilla on Vanilla with a Chocolate Wolf, which I assume was inspired by the Paranormal Historical Regency Triology by another critique partner, Lydia Dare. All of the pictures were provided by Erin.

Besides delivering delicious cupcakes when she attends conferences, Erin also posts some of her recipes (not just cupcakes but other wonderful recipes too) on her blog at http://haveyourcakeandreadittoo.blogspot.com/. I have not had the courage to try and bake one of her cupcakes yet because I am fairly sure they won’t be nearly as good. However, I think I will attempt to tackle one of them this holiday season. But, as it is only September, let’s not think of the holidays just yet.

I thought Erin was basically a great baker who liked to share her cupcakes. I had no idea of the cupcake phenomenon out there until my critique group mentioned Cupcake Wars one evening. What? Backup, what are Cupcake Wars? Well, it turns out to be a reality /competition show on the Food Network. The competition begins with 4 bakers and each has an assistant. At the end, it is down to 2 competitors who have to design a display for 1,000 cupcakes, which they have to bake (with the help of 4 additional bakers). As soon as I found out about this show I started watching. I am hooked, as I am with most of these types of shows. But, my reality TV addiction is better left for another blog. Most of these competitors have cupcake shops/stores. Again, I had no idea stores like this existed. We certainly don’t have any where I live, which is probably a good thing since I have recently developed a liking for cupcakes.

But, it doesn’t end with the show. One of my critique partners recently shared a blog she found which only purpose is to seek out cupcake bakeries in New York City and report their findings from where the bakery is located and the cupcakes they ate. http://www.nycupcakeguide.com/ Since I plan on attending the RWA National Conference next year, which is in NY, I may just have to take an extra day to do my own cupcake tour, relying on this blogs recommendations. Though, I may save the tour for after the conference so I don’t have to worry about my clothes not fitting during the conference. I’ll bring something loose to wear on the plane home in anticipating of cupcake consumption.

I guess my main question is, when did cupcakes become such a big deal? Not that I think anything is wrong with it, but I have to wonder where I have been while all this was going on because these ain’t your mama’s cupcakes?


  1. LOL nice Amy, I am so craving Erin's cupcakes now more than ever. Especially considering I've yet to try one but boy oh boy, do they look sooo good. I can't wait. I never knew about the cupcake phenomenon either until all this surfaced but I'm certainly on the lookout for some cupcake shops down here now lol.

  2. Great post, Amy! I must again recommend that FABULOUS blog, nycupcakeguide.com. LOL! I just adore the couple who founded it ;)

    As for the cupcake phenomenon, I believe it can be traced back to 1998, when Magnolia Bakery first opened their doors in NYC's West Village. They are a staple in this city, and they now have several other stores, as well as cookbooks and paraphernalia (yes, even Bella has a tiny t-shirt from there!). We stop in whenever we're in the city, and all of our birthday cakes come from there.

    But now the search is on to see who can stand up to Magnolia, which is why, I believe, Aaron and Jessica have embarked on their NYC cupcake tour...though I can't be too positive on that one ;)

    All hail the mighty cupcake!! :)

  3. P.S. Chicago is riddled with cupcake bakeries! Check out cupcakestakethecake.com - I think one is in NY (she's in my local chapter) and the other in Chicago. They've been around for years and have tons of content, including a directory of almost every cupcake bakery in the US!

  4. Yes, cupcakes are becoming the rage around here, too - - - especially the ones with the TALL frosting - - - way too much sugar in one treat. However, there are some delicious ones to choose from. This was a fun post. Thanks.

  5. We even have them here in Boise. But I think there have always been special cupcakes. My only memory of my great aunt is of sitting in her kitchen picking out cupcake flavors to make. Before I met her, I thought cupcakes only came in white and chocolate, but every batch she made was something new and unexpected.

    Great blog, Amy.

  6. Oh! A cupcake tour?!? Count me in. :)

  7. I plan on going to Nationals next year too. Maybe we can go for cupcakes together. :)

  8. amazing world of cupcakes-had no idea...

  9. Oh my word are these cupcakes delicious looking! There is a bakery in our town that sells only cupcakes--haven't tried it yet, can't bring myself to pay so much for one cupcake!

  10. Timely post for me! I just taught my first cupcake decorating class today to a group of eager 3rd-5th graders. SO fun. We made cupcakes that looked like apples. Yum.

  11. Mmmm, yummm! I only knew about the cupcake thing because of a fellow blogger. She always makes these gorgeous cupcakes, plus she posts pics of others' cupcakes that are absolutely amazing. I didn't know there was a show though. Fun!