This week, we celebrate all that is good in the world. Specifically speaking, cupcakes. As yesterday marked the beginning of the fifth National Cupcake Week – a whole seven days to rejoice in the simple pleasure of creamy and delicious frosting atop soft, delicate sponge.
It’s been a rapid rise to stardom for the humble cupcake, undoubtedly buoyed by the popularity of Great British Bake Off and gourmet sellers such as Hummingbird Bakery and Lola’s. In 2008 – when the recession first struck – the fastest rising recipe search on Google was ‘cupcake’ while in 2009 sales of the bite-sized beauties rose by 50% in the UK. Three years later in 2012, cupcake sales in Great Britain reached a mouth-watering £23.5m.
Today, the British baking industry is worth £3.4 billion and last year we, as a nation, devoured 110 million cupcakes. Mary Berry would be proud. But just what is it that makes the cute cupcake so popular with the masses? Some could say that, in times of austerity, we Britons saw cupcakes as an affordable luxury that we could indulge in at around £2 a pop. Better still, we could make them ourselves.
Elena Ragone-Marriott, Head of Digital and Media and two-time champion of Center Parcs’ Head Office Bake-Off, says: “Baking is a real passion of mine outside of work, but it does mean I get roped into making a lot of birthday cakes! It’s much easier than you’d think; it’s something anyone can try and cupcakes are especially simple to perfect.” Elena shares some of her tips for success:
- Don’t over-mix the batter; mix on a low speed if using a machine. Overdoing it will crush any air bubbles – essential for making that light and fluffy sponge.
- Don’t have enough time to decorate? Bake your cakes in advance and freeze them, before taking out to ice when you’re ready.
- Use gels for colouring your icing as liquid colouring can often make your icing go soggy. The colour will also be more vibrant.
Alternatively, if you’re short on spare time or are visiting Center Parcs soon, why not celebrate National Cupcake Week – like you need a reason to eat cakes – by taking part in our cupcake-themed activities? There are three to choose from, to suit all ages, so the whole family can take part.
- Cupcakes for Little Ones
Age: 3-7 years
Duration: 45 minutes
What is it? In this parent-accompanied session you and your mini chef can mix imagination with a sprinkle of creativity to produce the perfect cupcakes. We’ll provide everything you need to decorate four delicious cupcakes to take home with you. Book me in!
- Cupcake Creations
Age: 8-14 years
Duration: 1 ½ hours
What is it? Get creative in this mouth-watering cupcake decorating workshop. Whether you keep it simple or make it extravagant, you’ll end up with tasty treats to take home afterwards. We’ll provide everything you need, just bring along your imagination. Book me in!
- Cupcake Decorating Workshop
Age: From 12 years
Duration: 1 ½ hours
What is it? You’ve tasted the rest, now it’s time to be the best. Learn the tricks of the trade in this decorating workshop and create six beautifully tasty cupcakes, displayed in your own presentation box you can share with family and friends…if they’re lucky enough! Book me in!