Now a name for individual sponge cakes in general, most commonly if round and decorated, but formerly a term for little cakes cooked in a cup, most especially when turned-out upside-down to display a cup shape.
Original Receipt from 'Saleable shop goods for counter-tray and window:' by Frederick T Vine (Vine 1907)
No. 37.- Cup Cakes.
2 lbs. soda flour (No. 1), 1 lb Sugar.
3/4 lb Currants, 3/4 lb Butter
3/4 lb peel (cut fine), 10 eggs.
Mode, - Cream up the butter and sugar, beating in the eggs in the usual manner; mix in the flour, fruit, and peel with the milk to a nice batter, not too soft, and spoon into greased cup-pans; place on to flat tins and bake in a warm oven. The cup-pans are made three or six riveted upon a sheet of tin (see illustration. Fig. 22). They are displayed
in the windows round side uppermost, and have a very nice appearance; so be very careful with the baking. Sell at 1d. each.
Original Receipt in 'The Encyclopedia of Cookery' by Theodore Garrett (Garrett 1891);
Cup Cakes. - (1) Blanch and skin 1 lb. of sweet almonds, put them in a mortar and pound them, adding occasionally a few drops of water to prevent them from oiling. Put 1 lb of butter in a saucepan, place on the fire, and when it has melted stir in slowly 1 lb. of ground rice and the pounded almonds. Continue stirring the mixture over the fire until browned, but taking every care not to burn it, then pour in lqt. of boiling syrup and 1 pint of boiling milk. Place the lid over the saucepan, and leave the contents for six or seven minutes; then stir it vigorously with a fork. Take the mixture out of the saucepan in teacupfuls, and turn them over on to a hot dish, leaving each the same shape as the cup (see Fig. 261); dust over with caster sugar, and serve.
(2) Put 1 lb. of butter, three eggs, 1 pint of milk, 6oz. of fine sugar, and a little yeast into a basin and mix them well up, adding sufficient flour to make the dough the required stiffness. Cover over the basin with a cloth, and put it before the fire for the dough to rise. Take a few cups, butter them inside, fill the cups with the paste, and put in the oven. When done, turn them out and leave on the flat side to cool.
The name 'cup cake' has also been used to indicate a type of cake made by measuring-out ingredients by cupfuls. Although commonplace in North America, the practice of measuring by cups is very rare in England, as seen in the example below where the editor has failed to realise that, because cup-measurement is proportional, it doesn't matter, as far as the character of the product is concerned, what size of cup is used.
Original Receipt from 'Pot-luck; or, The British home cookery book' by May Byron (Byron 1914)
762. CUP CAKE (Kent)
One cup of butter, one cup of sugar, three cups of flour, four eggs, one cup of milk, two teaspoonfuls of baking powder, two cups of sultanas. (Presumably breakfast-cups. Ed.)
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