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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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.

Rosie The Riveter

Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War Two, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies.

 These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military. Rosie the Riveter is commonly used as symbol of feminism and women’s economic power.

The term “Rosie the Riveter” was first used in 1942 in a song of the same name written by Redd Evans and John Loeb. The song was recorded by many artists, including the popular big band leader Kay Kyser, and became a national hit.

 The song portrays ” Rosie” as a tireless assembly line worker, doing her part to help American war effort. The words of the song are: All the day long. Whether rain or shine, She’s part of the assembly line. She’s making history. Working for victory, Rosie the Riveter.

Although women took on male dominated trades during World War two, they were expected to return to their everyday housework once men returned from the war. Government campaigns targeting women were addressed solely at housewives, perhaps because already employed women would move up to the higher-paid essential jobs on their own, perhaps because it was assumed that most would be housewives. One government advertisement asked women “Can you use an electric mixer? If so, you can learn to use a drill.

 Propaganda was also directed at their husbands, many of whom were unwilling to support such jobs. Later, many women returned to traditional work such as clerical or administration positions, despite their reluctance to re-enter the lower paying fields. However, some of these women continued working in the factories.

Rosie the Riveter became most closely associated with another real women, Rosie Will Monroe. She worked as a riveter at the Willow Run Aircaft Factory in Michigan, building B-29 and B-24 bombers for the U. S. Army Air Forces.

Monroe achieved her dream of piloting a plane when she was in her 50s and her love of flying resulted in an accident that contributed to her death 19 years later. Monroe was asked to star in a promotional film about the war effort at home. The song Rosie the Riveter” was popular at the time and Monroe happened to match the woman depicted in the song.

Rosie went on to become perhaps the most widely recognized icon of the era. The films and posters she appeared in were used to encourage women to go to work in support of the war effort.

According to the Encyclopedia of American Economic History, “Rosie the Riveter” inspired a social movement that increased the number of working American women to 20 million by 1944, a 57% increase from 1940. By 1944 only 1.7 million unmarried men between the ages of 20 and 34 worked in the defense industry,while 4.1 million unmarried between those ages did so. What unified the experiences of these women was that they proved to themselves and the country that they could a “man’s job” and could do it well. The average man working in a wartime plant was paid $54.65 per week, while women were paid about $31.50 per week.

Some claim that she forever opened the work force for women, while others dispute that point, noting that many women were discharged after the war and their jobs were given to returning servicemen.

These critics claim that when peace returned few women returned to their wartime positions and instead resumed domestic vocations or transferred into sex-type occupations such as clerical and service work.

Some historians emphasize that the changes were temporary and that immediately after the war was over women were expected to return to traditional roles of wives and mothers. Finally for the first time the working woman dominated the public image and women were riveting housewives in slacks, not mother domestic beings, or civilizers.”

On October 14,200, the Rosie the Riveter/ World War Two Home Front National historical Park was opened. In Richmond, California, site of the four Kaiser shipyards, where thousands of “Rosie’s” from around the country worked. Although ships at the Kaiser shipyards were not riveted, but rather welded. Over 200 former Rosie’s attended the ceremony.

 Most recently Christina Aguilera, emulates the famous Andrews Sisters vocal harmonies of the WW-Two Era. While wearing a red bandanna and shot with the era’s vintage Technicolor processing scheme, Christina gives the famous “Rosie” pose, with fist-up, and right hand on biceps. What is it about “Rosie the Riveter” that we just can’t seem to get enough of?