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Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I wanted a cupcake, I did not have one.

David Grayson

What could be more delightful than the enjoyment of a tiny little, personally-sized vanilla cake decorated with delicious frosting?! Cupcakes are a clever and functional way to enjoy the tastiness of cake–without even needing a fork!

And the gold standard of the cupcake is vanilla, which can be used as a blank canvas to provide all kinds of fun flavors and designs, from the simple to the extravagant.

It’s time to enjoy Vanilla Cupcake Day!

History of Vanilla Cupcake Day

Since most of these recipes were developed in home kitchens, it is a bit difficult to trace them back to one original inventor. Usually, people would find an idea that worked, share it with a friend or neighbor, and they would pass it on elsewhere. So no one really knows from which specific woman’s kitchen the first cupcake originated.

However, cupcakes can officially be traced back to 1796 when a recipe notation for a cake to be baked in small cups was written in American Cookery (by Amelia Simmons). This idea was in contrast to what was the most popular way to bake a cake at the time: in layers. It’s likely that they were baked into little teacups at first. The benefit of baking them in small cups was that they were great for a cook in a hurry as they would bake quite a bit faster. Plus, they could be served individually, without the need for cutting them into smaller servings with a knife.

But it may have taken a few years for these miniature treats to actually get dubbed with their rightful name. In fact, the earliest known documentation of the term “cupcake” came more than 30 years later in 1828 in Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats in Eliza Leslie’s Receipts cookbook.

Sometime around 1919, the first-ever commercially available cupcakes made an appearance in the form of the Hostess ‘Cupcake’. Of course, cupcakes have been a standard at children’s parties and afternoon teas over the last many years. 

But a resurgence of the venerable cupcake certainly came along in the early 2000s. In fact, the world’s first Cupcake-only bakery, Sprinkles, in Beverly Hills, California, USA, was opened in 2005. The idea went crazy and cupcake bakery started popping up all over American towns, and then later in cities all over the world.

And while these bakers have been creative, and it’s certainly possible to get a cupcake in almost any flavor under the sun, this is a day about bringing everything back to the basics, tried-and-true flavor of the vanilla cupcake.

It’s time for Vanilla Cupcake Day!

How to Celebrate Vanilla Cupcake Day

This day certainly offers a myriad of delightful opportunities to celebrate! Enjoy Vanilla Cupcake Day with a variety of inspired activities, including some of these ideas:

Eat a Vanilla Cupcake

Not that most people really need a reason to eat a cupcake but, for those who do, Vanilla Cupcake Day is the perfect excuse! Plus, though many people favor chocolate, this might also be the day that a chocolate lover re-discovered the delicate and understated beauty of the vanilla flavor.

Head over to a cupcake bakery and choose the largest vanilla cupcake they have in the glass case. (Plus…let them know it’s Vanilla Cupcake Day and they might even offer a little discount!)

Bake Vanilla Cupcakes

Get busy in the kitchen with baking vanilla cupcakes to eat on your own and to share. For simplicity and speed, many people like to purchase boxed cake mixes that can be altered and embellished into something truly unique. 

Or, for the baking diehards, it might be time to invest in some light-and-fluffy cake flour that will render those vanilla cupcakes a texture and flavor that melts in the mouth. In addition, be sure to use only high-quality, pure vanilla extract to make the flavor come alive.

Share Vanilla Cupcakes with Everyone

As an ambassador for Vanilla Cupcake Day, the job is pretty simple: just share Vanilla Cupcakes with anyone and everyone it is possible to come into contact with!

Headed to work? Take a batch of vanilla cupcakes. Going to a family gathering? Vanilla cupcakes are the dessert of the day. Meeting friends at the coffee shop? Surely no one would be opposed to enjoying a vanilla cupcake along with that latte. Or act like the cupcake fairy and take vanilla cupcakes around to various folks in the neighborhood. Relationships built on baked goods are certainly hard to beat! 

Get Creative with Vanilla Cupcakes

Just because they are vanilla does not mean they have to be bland or boring! Especially in recent years, vanilla has been rebranding its reputation with the availability of deliciously grown vanilla bean pods and carefully aged vanilla extract. These true representations of the vanilla flavor have brought it to the forefront of the cupcake world, putting it back in direct competition with its more flamboyant cousin, the chocolate cupcake.

And even though a cupcake is boasting delicious vanilla flavors, that doesn’t mean it can’t be topped off in some unique and unusual ways! Get creative with different toppings for vanilla cupcakes by trying out some of these interesting ideas:

  • Vanilla Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Topping. It might look like frosting, but it’s lighter and fluffier! Simply put some fresh whipping cream in a cold metal bowl, whip it with a mixer for a few minutes until it begins to thicken, add powdered sugar to taste, and finish off with a bit of lemon juice. 
  • Vanilla Cupcakes with Powdered Sugar. Instead of taking the focus away from the actual cupcake, simply garnish it with some powdered sugar to let the flavors of the star of the day shine through! 
  • Vanilla Cupcakes with Edible Flowers. Let nature take center stage with flowers that can be eaten. Drizzle a simple citrus syrup on top first, to give the flowers something to stick to, then top with lovely flowers. 
  • Vanilla Cupcakes Jam and Fresh Fruit. A great complement to vanilla flavoring is fresh fruit. In lieu of frosting, spread a bit of jam on the top of the cupcakes and then use it like “glue” to hold on fresh fruit such as strawberry slices, whole blueberries, raspberries or slices of kiwi.

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