The Cup Cake MythMarch 12, 2008 at 3:56 pm | Posted in cupcakes | 13 Comments
The cupcake calendar that a few people got for Christmas this year (CB) has information about the origin of the cupcake on the back …
“Cupcakes have been around since the late 18th century. The term “cupcake” is mentioned in E. Leslie’s Receipts of 1828. The name is said to come from the amount of ingredients used to make them – a cup of flour, cup of butter, cup of sugar and also because they were originally baked in tea cups or cup shaped molds.”
I thought it would be fun to try to make the “original cupcakes,” but I was sure that there needed to be a few more ingredients in the recipe. So I went out in search of the actual recipe. There’s a nifty little site out there called Feeding America. The group has scanned a massive number of old famous cookbooks. Check it out because it is the coolest site ever. I kept my fingers crossed that I would be able to find the recipe and that Feeding America would come to my rescue.
Sure enough I was able to find Eliza Leslie’s ‘Seventy-five Receipts For Pastry, Cakes, And Sweetmeats.’ It was the 1932 edition, but editions that close together rarely change too much and there were still 75 Receipts (if anyone can tell me why they called recipes receipts I would greatly appreciate it) so it had to be close.
I got through to the table of contents and saw Cup Cakes. The fact that it was two words seemed to encourage the little myth that has been floating around. Then 61 pages later I got to the recipe I was looking for, but this recipe is a far cry from what that little blurb would have you believe.
First, there isn’t a (which I take to mean 1) cup of anything, except milk.
Second, it uses 2 cups of BROWN sugar and two cups of butter.
Third, 5 cups of flour are nowhere near close to 1 cup of flour
Fourth, even though a few ingredients are measured with a tea-cup, they weren’t supposed to be baked in tea cups. The directions said tins.
Fifth, well there is no fifth, but five is a better number to stop on.
While I don’t doubt that Ms. Leslie was the original cup cake master (or at least the first to put it in a cookbook), I do doubt just about everything else in that little blurb. You would think people would do some RESEARCH before putting stuff like that on a calandar that people are going to see and believe. What is even worse, is that now cupcake companies like Cupcakes in Chicago are adding that little blurb to their site (is it me or are the two blurbs almost identical?) People please do not believe everything you read!
I’m still going to try the recipe, but I don’t have any tea cups and I don’t have enough molasses to make them tonight so this tasty little tidbit of info will have to do for now.