November 10th is National Vanilla Cupcake Day! Cupcakes are small single-serving cakes made from the same basic ingredients as standard sized cakes, and often decorated in much the same manner. Nobody is exactly sure when or where cupcakes originated, but the earliest cupcake recipe dates back to 1796. The sweet treats likely got their name beacause they were cooked in individual ramekins or cups before the muffin tin became a kitchen staple. Recent years have seen a dramatic upswing in the popularity of the cupcake, with many trendy bakeries focusing primarily on the tiny cakes, and some shops specializing in oversized filled “gourmet cupcakes.”
I’m not the prissy sort of girl who has to drink her coffee through a straw and can’t eat a meal without a fork and knife. In fact, in most cases I would say I prefer finger-food. It’s easier to control and maneuver, you can cram more in your mouth, and you get to lick your fingers clean when you’re done! Maybe this predisposition is part of the reason we served cupcakes at our wedding instead of a traditional wedding cake. Plus, they were just so darn cute, I had to have them! We had four delicious flavors, filled with creamy icing and sprinkled with an assortment of sweet toppings. The cupcakes were a big hit and the next day many of us were still talking about them, saying that we’d have to order some at another future special occasion. And wouldn’t you know? A few months after our wedding the baker we used, who had previously done all of her magic in her own kitchen, opened a shop on one of the main roads near our house. Just about every day since then I’ve passed The Icing on my way out of Stafford. It has been next to impossible, but my jeans are thanking me for practicing some restraint and not stopping in on a regular basis.
Well, until today. This evening I decided to do away with the restraint and stop in for some vanilla cupcakes in honor of National Vanilla Cupcake Day. I rushed down to Stafford after work, with only an hour to make it before the bakery closed. Luckily, I pulled into the lot with five minutes to spare. I almost felt bad about the late blitzkrieg, but it helped that I knew exactly what I wanted: two vanilla cupcakes — one for each of us. I gingerly delivered the goods home and after dinner Chris and I feasted on our little desserts. They were superb! Vanilla cupcakes are a classic and you can be sure that a baker that makes a good vanilla cupcake probably has some other tasty tricks up his sleeve too, which makes going back to The Icing even more tempting. Plus, I made the mistake of asking about their to-die-for Hot Toddy cupcake and I found out they’d be baking some tomorrow! Would it be too much to enjoy a Hot Toddy cupcake and a sundae on National Sundae Day?