Liza loves obscure holidays—especially those that celebrate food and beverages.
What Is National Cupcake Day?
National Cupcake Day is celebrated on December 15th by bakeries, cupcake shops, and home bakers across the United States.
Most of the miniature dessert's appeal comes from its decoration, as no two look quite the same. Some are swirled with sweet and fluffy vanilla frosting, while others are drizzled with dark chocolate ganache. Some are coated with sprinkles, while others are topped with candied nuts. Cupcakes are one of my favorite desserts to make—not just for special occasions but anytime I want to indulge my craving for something sweet. Every December 15th, I like to try a new cupcake recipe, frosting, or topping combination.
A Brief History of the Cupcake
Cupcakes' origins are not entirely clear. In 1796, Amelia Simmons penned a recipe for "a light cake to bake in small cups" in her cookbook, American Cookery. Some time later, the term "cupcake" evolved, and other recipes emerged.
A nineteenth-century cupcake recipe might look something like this:
- half a pound of sugar
- half a pound of butter
- two pounds of flour
- one glass of wine
- one glass of rosewater
- two glasses of emptins (a liquid leavening usually made at home from potatoes)
What Are Modern Cupcakes Made Of?
I've been baking cupcakes all my life. In my experience, they are one of the easiest desserts to make. The primary ingredients used in cupcakes are flour, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla extract, and baking powder. If you have these ingredients at home, you have everything you need to make a simple yellow cupcake.
Cupcakes are not complete, however, until they are coated with sweet frosting and topped with delectable decorations like cherries, raspberries, sprinkles, chocolate chips, coconut shavings, or anything else you can come up with. To make a basic frosting, all that is required is icing or powdered sugar, vanilla extract, milk, salt, and butter. Most people use a baking pan with at least 12 small cupcake molds. Each mold is lined with a paper cupcake liner. Simple, right?
Fun Fact About Cupcakes
- In the 1700s, cupcakes were originally referred to as number cakes.
- The second cupcake recipe was invented in 1871.
- In 1919, Hostess introduced its first snack cake.
- In the 1920s, cupcakes began to be decorated with frosting.
- The world's smallest cupcake ever made was 1.5 centimeters tall and 3 centimeters wide. It was created during National Cupcake Week.
- Sprinkles Cupcakes opened the world's first cupcake-only bakery in 2005.
- Georgetown Cupcakes sells an average of 3,000 to 5,000 cupcakes per day.
- The Food Network has a show exclusively about cupcakes called Cupcake Wars.
How to Celebrate National Cupcake Day
- Make your own cupcakes at home with family or friends.
- Buy fresh, local fruit from your town's farmer's market and use it to top your cupcakes.
- Make cupcakes with seasonal flavors like eggnog, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Decorate cupcakes with your favorite frosting.
- Take pictures of the cupcakes you make and post them on social media with the hashtag #nationalcupcakeday.
- Check with your local cafés, restaurants, and bakeries to see if they are offering free/discounted cupcakes or limited-edition flavors in celebration of the holiday.
- Enjoy one with a cup of your favorite coffee or tea.
My Moist and Delicious Lime Cupcake Recipe
To celebrate National Cupcake Day, I decided to make twelve moist and delicious lime cupcakes. A week ago, my husband bought a bag of limes. I had already used half of them in a lime cake, so I decided to use those that remained to make lime cupcakes. They turned out to be a perfectly sweet and zesty spin on the classic dessert.
When baking cupcakes, one of the most important things to keep in mind is the moisture content. Appropriate moisture content helps cupcakes stay soft and fluffy. How many times have you had cupcakes that were too dense and heavy? A common cause of this problem is overmixed batter. Alternatively, it could be related to the temperature of the ingredients. It's important to make sure that the butter (if using butter), eggs, and milk are at room temperature before being incorporated. When it comes to baking, following the recipe instructions exactly is critical to ensuring a good outcome.
Prep time: 10–15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime zest, grated
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- vanilla frosting (I used ready-made, but you are more than welcome to make your own)
- freshly sliced lime
- freshly grated lime zest
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a standard-sized cupcake tray with baking papers, then set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, whole milk, lime juice, and lime zest. Use a hand mixer to whisk these ingredients at a lower speed. Mix until all ingredients are combined, then set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, sieve the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use a whisk to incorporate the ingredients evenly.
- Gradually add the dry mixture into the wet mixture. At this point, you can use a whisk to combine them to prevent overmixing.
- Use an ice cream scoop or a spoon to fill each mold in your cupcake tray.
- Bake for 10–12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Place the cupcakes on a cooling rack. Let them cool completely before decorating.
- Remove the center of each cake with a cupcake corer or a nozzle (optional).
- Fill a piping bag or resealable plastic bag with frosting. Cut one corner off and squeeze a small bit of frosting into the hole in the center of each cupcake.
- Start decorating each cupcake's top to your liking with frosting.
- Top each cupcake with sliced lime and lime zest.
- Enjoy with coffee or tea!
© 2019 Liza
Liza (author) from USA on September 08, 2020:
It's always nice to know the history behind the foods. Thank you for commenting, Peggy :)
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 06, 2020:
What I enjoyed reading most was the history of cupcakes, and what a nineteenth recipe might have had as ingredients. I like the sound of your lime flavored cupcakes.
Liza (author) from USA on July 05, 2020:
I think it goes well with any toppings that you like. I love citrus and berries toppings on cupcakes such as lemon, raspberry, blueberry. However, you can even try vanilla.
Yea, please let me know how it turns out for you, Kyriaki.
Kyriaki Chatzi on July 04, 2020:
Cupcakes (and their "cousins," muffins) hold a special place in my heart.
And I really think your version (with the lime juice and zest) will be one of those twists that'll hook me for life.
So, come next week, I'll defnitely give your recipe a go and let you know how it turned out.
Quick question: Do you have any recommendations for toppings other than the lime?
Liza (author) from USA on January 13, 2020:
I guess your wife and I have a common :) Thank you for commenting, Dale.
Dale Anderson from The High Seas on January 13, 2020:
I'm not a cupcake fan but my wife is so it doesn't take much to get the treats into our house.
Liza (author) from USA on January 05, 2020:
Hi Prantika, thank you for your lovely comment. I appreciated it :) The lime cupcakes were so delicious! My husband and I were so addicted to the lime flavor. He is asking me to make them again. By the way, let me know after you made them and please share your thoughts on the recipe :)
Prantika Samanta from Kolkata, India on January 04, 2020:
I am fond of cup cakes. Your article has a great deal of information about the cup cakes and I want to try your recipe of lime cup cake. The recipe is quite interesting and the tips are beneficial. Thank you for sharing a wonderful article with helpful tips.
Liza (author) from USA on December 17, 2019:
Hi Liz, thank you for commenting. It's nice to hear cupcakes have become popular in the UK. I have to research what type of cupcakes that the English like the most :)
Liza (author) from USA on December 17, 2019:
Hi Linda, I think you should try to make this. Actually, lime is one of my favorite flavors for dessert. Thank you for stopping by :)
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 16, 2019:
The ingredients for the first cupcakes sound very interesting! I want to buy some limes and use them in recipes. I think your recipe would be a great one to try.
Liz Westwood from UK on December 16, 2019:
Great step by step guide. In the UK cupcakes have become very popular the past few years.