More than Just Crumbs

The avalanche of cupcake reportage seems to have abated a bit, since spring’s blizzard of (deserved) coverage for Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World. But, being so cute, cupcakes cannot stay out of the spotlight for long.

This week, news media use charity as an excuse to cover cupcakes again, as it’s National Cupcakes for a Cause Week.

Bakeries around the country—like New York’s Buttercup Bake Shop—are donating a portion of the proceeds of sales this week to children’s cancer research. You can even donate a bit to send an E-Cupcake to your far-flung or sugar-averse friends.

NPR’s The Bryant Park Project used the commemorative week to launch an inquiry into the history and uses of the cupcake with Krystina Castella, the author of Crazy About Cupcakes, who notes that cupcakes came about in the early 1800s, when people started to bake cakes in the oven in smaller vessels. That was also when recipes switched from denoting measurements by weight to measurements by cup—hence the cupcake.

Castella also links the cupcake craze to the “kidult” phenomenon and weighs in on the cupcake bans that have hit school districts across the country, as parents have become concerned that huge cupcakes served for birthdays and other class parties aren’t helping their children stay slim. Her take: “The whole thing is ridiculous. It’s about teaching kids to eat in moderation and to exercise.”