The History of Cup Cakes

If you’re a cup cake baker extraordinaire like I am? Then you will enjoy reading about the history of cup cakes. When my daughter was three years old we started going to a french bakery. The Baker would come over and say, “Bonjour” to her and she would say “Bonjour” back to him. It’s always so sweet when little girls say “Bonjour” isn’t it?  Then he would offer her a taste of one of his scrumptious desserts but she would shake her head as to say “no” and ask him for a cup cake please!  As time went by she had tasted every kind of cup cake the baker could think to make. If she liked it he would make it the cup cake of the week. As a result he came up with  many creative ways to decorate the cup cakes and his cup cake sales increased by fifty percent.

 I became inspired and learned how bake and decorate cup cakes like the ones he baked at the bakery. I can honestly say that If there’s a way to decorate a cup cake I have tried it. Sometimes they turned out perfect and other times they ended up in the trash but it didn’t matter because I always had one fan who didn’t care if the cup cakes turned out the way I wanted them to or not she would eat them.  If you are a cup cake extraordinaire or just enjoy eating cup cakes. 

 The History of Cup Cakes

A cupcake (also British English: Fairy Cake; Australian English: Patty cake or Cup Cake is a small cake designed to serve one person, often baked in a small, thin paper or aluminum cup. As with larger cakes, frosting and other cake decorations, such as sprinkles, are common on cupcakes.

Although their origin is unknown, recipes for cupcakes have been printed since at least the late 12th century. The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of  “a cake baked in small cups” was written in American Cookery by Amelia Simms. The earliest documentation of the term cupcakes was in ” Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry , Cakes and Sweetmeats” in 1828 in Eliza 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 mold and took their name from the cups they were baked in. This is the use of  the name that has persisted, and the name of  “cupcake” is now giving to any small cake that is about the size of a teacup.

 The name “Fairy Cake” is a fanciful description of its size, which would be appropriate for a party of diminutive fairies to share. While English fairy cakes vary in size more than American cupcakes, they are traditionally smaller and are rarely topped with elaborate icing.

The other kind of “cup cake” referred to a cake whose ingredients were measured by volume, using a standard-sized cup could also be baked in cups; however, they were  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 1, 2, 3, 4 cakes or quarter cakes so-called because they are made 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 cakes. 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 volume measurement , and “Pound Cake” uses a weight measurement.

In the early 21st century, a trend for cupcake shops was reported in the United States, playing off of the sense of nostalgia evoked by the cakes. In New York, cupcake shops like Magnolia Bakery gained publicity in their appearances on poplar television shows. In 2010 television presenter Martha Stewart published a cook book dedicated to cup cakes.

Cupcakes have become  more than a trend over the years; they’ve become an industry. Rachel Kramer Bussel, who has blogged about cupcakes since 2004 at Cupcakes Take the Cake, said that in the last two years or so cupcakes have become popular nationwide.

A “cake in a mug” is a variant that gained popularity on many internet cooking forums and mailing lists. The technique uses a mug as its cooking vessel and can be done in a microwave oven. The recipe often takes fewer than five minutes to prepare.

After I read the history of cup cakes  I wonder did I miss my calling? Should I have become a cup cake extraordinaire baker? No! I don’t think so. I was happy to just bake cup cakes for my family. However I am looking forward to eating cup cakes with my grandchildren in the future.

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Love As A Garden

Communications have improved in so many ways. Pocket computers carry more power than could be imagined in older days. But all the electronic gizmos don’t help a romance at all, unless you’re communicating your love when you call.

Silence is like a vacuüm, drawing in all thoughts that go by. So protect your lover’s ears; be aware what your words imply. Choose your words carefully; think about what you say. Don’t fill the void with just anything, squawking like a joy.

Make sure your emotions aren’t trapped elsewhere. Give what you say, meaning; speak and act with care. Then love will sound like a trumpet and to your words impart the clarity of romance as you speak heart to heart.

Think of your love as a garden, and unless you tend to it, you’ll never reap the full rewards that love can bring. The ground need to be tilled with kindness, for if it is too hard, love’s seed can’t spout. The seeds have to be planted with care if they are to penetrate your lover’s heart.

Love needs to be watered with kind words and compliments, Love must bask under the warm sun of your undivided attention. The weeds of pettiness and lies must be pulled form the field of love. The fruits of love need time to grow and cannot be picked until they are ripe.  If you don’t put the required effort into your garden of love, you can certain that the weeds will invade and your garden will yield little in the way of love. But if you work at it, you’ll find a bumper crop of love waiting for you to harvest each and every day.

Be An Artist Of Love

Some days you may push love aside. Other times love may push you around. Just make certain in your heart and head that you are working in unison when creating your canvas of love.

Since you “fall” in love, many people treat love as if it were some strange best over which they have no control. But you have more say over your emotions than you think.

Put a sad movie in your DVD player and you’ll cry. Listen or dance to your favorite song on your iPod and your spirits will pick up. You can have a similar effect on the setting of your love dial. While love can be overwhelming at times, or so subtle you can’t tell it’s there, that doesn’t absolve you from honing your skills as a lover. The best lovers have the most control, not least. Even if you’re head over heels in love, you should keep some control, or you risk driving away the person you adore. There are times to go overboard and other times to bank that excess love.

And at the other extreme, if your schedule is crammed twenty-fours a  day, you can’t forget that you have a partner who has needs that must be met. Sure, there are days when you can take out a loan that you promise to pay back in interest, but you can also overextend that type of credit and wind up bankrupt.

 A painter mixes colors to come up with various shades. You must do the same because even love can be boring if it becomes too monotone. So some days, even if you’re not feeling overly romantic, tune up the heat. Shout “I love you” across the room. Put a little more oomph into that hug. Not only will your partner appreciate your use of the brighter colors in your palette, but will probably change your mood as well. You don’t need special skills to learn to be an artist of love. You just need to always be aware that you are a lover at heart.

Moms and Dads Are Raising Great Kids!

Do moms really read parenting books?  Of course they do they’ve probably read dozens especially when their first baby was born. Have those books been helpful? Yes. In some cases the information about childcare development and medical health issues is very practical and often comforting.

But frankly, reading book after book hasn’t reduced the amount of guilt, stress, and mania among mothers around us. In fact it may have increased it.

There have been just too many parenting books by too many authors who call themselves experts. The net result has been confusion, and mothers who still doubt themselves and worry that their children aren’t thriving.

When researching parenting books make sure that the author has children and is actively involved in their children’s day-to-day lives. It’s not too much to ask of authors of books on parenting to have hands on experience and education about parenting. That is the best. Isn’t it?  There are some solid parenting principles that have been around for decades but all to often forgotten. There are parenting books that simply remind us all the basics. What has always been natural, instinctive, and intuitive for real mothering. Unfortunately, these core principles have been obliterated by the frenzy and mania of commercialized parenting. But now it’s time to get back, get real, and restore the simple truth about mothering: That its foundation is the powerful and unconditional love and connection that ultimately lasts for always. 

  So trust yourself and those maternal instincts no one knows your child better that you. Don’t forget to relax, enjoy the moment, and remember to laugh. I know! You’re thinking that’s easer said than done. Yes, it is but it works!

Antiques and Keepsakes

The definition of antique varies from source to source, product to product, and year to year. The only known exceptions to the “100 year rule” would be cars. Since the definition of the term antique requires an item to be at least 100 years, or older, and the items in question must be in its original and unaltered condition to be an ‘antique’ if they are roughly 75 years old, or more (some cars can be registered as “classic” when  25 years old, such as muscle cars and luxury vehicles such as a ( Rolls-Royce and Bentley). Further, this is not n universally accepted concern, but rather a consideration made almost strictly by car collectors and enthusiasts.

In the United States, the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Act defined an antique as “works (except rugs and carpets made after the year 1700), collections in illustrations of the progress of the arts, works in bronze, marble,terra-cotta, Parian, pottery or porcelain, artistic antiquities and objects of ornamental character or educational value produced prior to the year 1830. 1830 was roughly the beginning of mass productions in the US and 100 years older than Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. These definitions allow people to make a distinction between genuine antique pieces, vintage items, and collectible objects. The term antiquarian refers to a person interested in antiquities, or things of the past.

The definition of a keepsake is some object given by a person and retained in memory of something or someone; something kept for sentimental or nostalgic reasons. She gave him a lock of her hair as a keepsake of their time together. Historical specifically, a type of literary album popular in the nineteeth-century, containing scraps of poetry and pose, and engravings. Keepsakes can be called mementos, souvenir, and memorabilia retained in memory of something, someone or a special occasion. Life is full of keepsakes. Every person has them. Every person keeps them. We find them in closets, in scrapbooks, under beds, in attics and in garages. Keepsakes are forever.

 The other day I stopped in at an estate sale the house was bulging at the seams with antiques and keepsakes.  Everything from Vintage jewelry to first edition books signed by the authors. The owners also had beautifully crafted figurines inspired by artist Muriel Joseph George. It got me thinking. What is a keepsake? The thesaurus gives synonyms for keepsakes: mementos, memorial, remembrance, souvenir, symbol, token, trophy. But I’m not sure these words adequately describe a keepsake.

To me, a keepsake is something that when I look at it, my mind becomes flooded with the taste, smell, sound, and memory of an event. It’s something that I don’t have to write an explanation for in the scrapbook. When I glance at a program from a day at the “Ice Capades” all my sense’s come alive. Once again I can pretend that I’m a famous Ice Skater like the one’s in the Ice Capdes that day. Our keepsakes are like a life long friend, who reminds us of the all those special occasions we have experienced in life.

Working Women

Elizabeth and Julie have a lot in common they work in the same office, have the same duties and earn the same salary.

They both like movies and meet every friday night at the movie theater. So how can you tell which one is the grandmother?

Easy! The one who goes to the store on her lunch hour, calls to see if the baby vomited, and rushes to take a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to her son because he forgot his lunch. She’s the mother.

The one in the darling little dress with matching accessories and is perfectly manicured, the one who sits and orders a salad and a glass of wine while unfolding those endless pictures of adorable kids, she’s the grandmother.

 Can you see how nothing separates the generations like lunch?  Mothers are the ones gobbling down their food, while checking their bank balance on their cell phones. They are the ones using their techie gadgets to keep track of all their responsibilities. Grandmothers are the ones who wait in line at the best restaurants for the best tables.

They care about staying away from fattening foods and sometimes they’ll order off the low-calorie menu or ask the chef to leave this and that off their plate. But on other days when they go for it, on days when they say, Why not? Let’s live a little,” and have things like crème brûlée for dessert with a liqueur. On those days they just breathe a little deeper and rush off to fancy gyms, where for the price of nursery school tuition, they roll back into shape with the help of their personal trainers.

Mothers on the other hand after splurging on a double helping of chocolate chipcookies get back in shape by following exercise videos at home. Grandmothers at lunch discuss the accomplishments of their children and what to buy their grandchildren. A mother’s idea of a relaxing lunch is to turn their cell phone off, drive through and order fast food and enjoy their me time. Elizabeth and Julie have a lot in common except for how they spend their lunch hour. However Julie the grandmother, remembers how she spent her lunch hour when she was a young mom. She enjoys providing a listening ear for Elizabeth, just not at lunch.

Input

Several years ago a pair of movies hit the big screen featuring a loveable, wise cracking robot as the central star and hero figure.

One word seems to define this robot in the mind of many who remember the movie and that is input.

This mechanical marvel with a human personality was starved for “input” to feed its vast memory banks and satisfy its craving for knowledge. Our minds surpasses the complexity of the finest computer systems man can make.

It is the greatest multitasker and creative interpreter of data, working around the clock from its earliest moments of existence until its final function at death. The continuous service life of the human computer may span as much as one hundred years or more. At least two things are significantly different about your brain. You decide what input goes in and when and where to focus your virtually unlimited thinking power. Some people focus the potential of their incredible brains on advanced theories of astrophysics, while others prefer to memorize endless columns of sports statistics.

 A few study the intricacies of human languages while entire generations prefer to focus on the latest fashions, street slang, and social trends. Our society seems to be addicted to the “blame game.”  People seem to want to blame instead of accepting responsibility for their own choices. There are times in life when we can become negative, discouraged and then we make it worse when we chose to water it, nurture it, coddle it, and help the negative grow.

My mother use to tell me that nobody can make you depressed. She also said, if you’re not happy, nobody is forcing you to be unhappy. If you’re negative and you have a bad attitude, nobody is forcing you to be unhappy. if you’re negative and you have an attitude, nobody’s coercing you to be bored, uncooperative, sarcastic or sullen. She taught me that it wasn’t the circumstances that had me down, it was my thoughts about the circumstances that had me down. She would also remind me to take time, and think about what I was thinking about.

Obviously we can’t ignore problems and live in denial, pretending that nothing bad ever happens to us. That’s unrealistic. Is it?  My mother was a list maker and she encouraged me to make lists too. We called them our “Ben Franklin” lists.  

Every now and then we would make a thought list and list the thoughts that were dominated in our thinking, those that only crossed our minds occasionally, and those that never seem to find their way into our minds. She said, that negativity, cynicism, scorn and pessimism are viruses and diseases to the human soul.

 They can eat away at our personality and faith like runaway cancerous growths. If your attitude is dominated by negativity it’s possible to change your attitude but it doesn’t happen instantly.

People can do it thought by thought, word by word, and decision by decision. This transformation process involves changing all those negative thoughts for positive ones. Like the lovable robot  said, it’s all about “Input.”