Know your cupcake history

Digest 200 years of cupcake history in 11 easy bites


Lynne Olver, founder of website, claims to have sourced a recipe for cakes baked in cups from the 18th century. Apparently, ‘cup’ refers to the quantity of ingredients used, rather than the cakes’ shape. The recipe was allegedly inspired by that of the English pound cake.

Food historian Andrew Smith, has traced ‘the first known recipe using the term “cupcake” in an American cookbook’, as quoted in 167-year-old publication Scientific American.

New Yorkers Jennifer Appel and high-school friend Allysa Torey launch Magnolia Bakery in New York.

Rival cupcake bakery Buttercup opens in New York.

Carrie Bradshaw, the lead character in US TV show SATC, is filmed buying a cupcake from Magnolia. The long lines outside the store become even longer, and the bakery later becomes
a stop on the New York SATC tour.

Billy’s Bakery opens in New York’s Chelsea, created by a former Magnolia manager, while Sugar Sweet Sunshine, another NYC cupcake shop, is launched by two former Buttercup employees. The New York Times reports that Magnolia sells 3,000 cupcakes in one day and turns a profit of at least US$40,000 (Dhs1.5m) a week through the sale of cupcakes alone.

The Hummingbird Bakery opens in London’s Notting Hill.

At least six cupcake bakeries exist throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Sprinkles Cupcakes opens in Beverly Hills, with the tagline ‘the world’s first cupcake bakery’.

Sugar Daddy’s opens its first branch in Amman, Jordan, and then in Beirut in 2009.

Sugar Daddy’s (now known as Hey Sugar!) opens in Dubai.

Magnolia opens in Bloomingdale’s at The Dubai Mall – the bakery’s first international store.

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