I'll give you some hints: they are sweet and come in a multitude of flavors, can cause surprisingly strong feelings of either love or loathing, and have inspired television shows and competitions across the country (and globe). Still not sure?

You know fairy cakes by another name.... cupcakes! (Apparently "fairy cake" is a British term- I had to search on BBC just to be sure). 
I made some cupcakes today, mini ones in fact. I don't like saying that mini foods are cute, but shoot, there's just no denying how cute these little guys are. Not to mention tasty. MMMM. All of this got me thinking, when was the first cupcake made? Who had the grand idea to make a personal-sized cake? 

I took to the Internet to investigate. Alas, there aren't many scholarly journals out there dedicated to the history of cupcakes, so for today, Wikipedia is my primary source. (Fore warned is fore armed.) 

Apparently, it all began with "a cake to be baked in small cups", from a recipe in American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, published in 1796. Just over 30 years later, another cookbook, this one with the term "cupcake" was published. (It was called Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats, by Eliza Leslie.) Interestingly, "cupcake" and "cup cake" did not mean the same thing. A "cup cake" meant a cake made with volume measurements of ingredients (i.e. cups), instead of ingredients measured by weight.  

Not a whole lot happened in the life of the cupcake, except the advent of box mixes making them easier to make, so fast forward to the 21st century, and suddenly, cupcakes are it. All it took was one bite on Sex and the City (the episode aired in 2000, if you're wondering) and the cupcake trend exploded. Suddenly, bakeshops everywhere were selling cupcakes, some even only selling cupcakes. Crumbs Bake Shop, which got its start in 2003, went public last year, after netting $2.5 million in income in 2010.  
What do YOU think? 
Is the cupcake here to stay? Vote to the right, and be sure to check out the yummy photos below :) 

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