By any other name, still cupcakes

The British call them fairy cakes, the Australians call them paddy cakes, but here in America, we call them exactly what they are – cupcakes because they’re the size of a tea cup.

Those little cakes that were once so famous at school parties and homeroom mothers are a small cake designed to serve one person and might be baked in a thin, decorated cup liner or just in an aluminum muffin pan.

With cupcakes, it is easier not to eat too much dessert – as it is an individual serving of luscious cake and creamy frosting, or not frosted if that is your choice. Cupcakes have been around the block several times. They are in sealed packets and have been sold in grocery and convenient stores for lunches since my childhood, sold by the dozens in bakeries and at organization bake sales, another good place to find them.

The Jefferson County Farm Bureau held its second-annual cupcake wars contest at the Jefferson County Fair this year, and scenes of a favorite summer place were constructed out of the tiny cakes and rated by the judges.

Three preteens who called themselves “The Triple Cupcakers” made Cherry Lemon Cupcakes, using a cake mix to cut down on time. Here is their prized recipe.


Cherry Lemon Cupcakes

2 cups fresh cherries, pitted

1/2 cup lemon head candy

1 box super moist cake mix (They used Betty Crocker.)

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 egg whites

Place fresh, pitted cherries, lemon head candies and lemon juice into a food processor and grind them until the candies are in small pieces. Mix together water, oil and egg whites. Blend into cake mix until well mixed, no lumps. Add cherry lemon mixture and stir until mixed in completely. Fill cupcake papers or muffin tin one-third with batter and bake at 350 degrees for 13 minutes. Frost with lemon cream cheese frosting. In their case, it was divided, and different food colors were added as needed.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

2 sticks salted butter

1 cup shortening, they used Crisco

2 pounds powdered sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Cream together shortening and butter. Add powdered sugar and beat until well mixed. Add lemon juice and lemon zest and beat another 2 minutes.


The second-place team made a beach as well, but they had hungry-looking sharks in their ocean water and sandy beaches made from brown sugar, with umbrellas and beach towels spread out for sunning.

The cupcake designing team was Erica Cline and Kylee Sabo. Here is the recipe used for their Summer Fun entry, Chocolate Zucchini Cake, taken from the Farm Bureau Cookbook. The baker who entered the recipe was Jona Scott of Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup butter, 1 1/2 sticks

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups grated zucchini

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries

1 cup chopped nuts

Sift together dry ingredients. Cream butter and sugar. Mix in eggs, vanilla, grated zucchini, milk and cherries. Add dry ingredients and nuts. Put into muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for 16-20 minutes and test for doneness. If not done, bake a few more minutes.

Note: I did not receive a frosting recipe for this, so any favorite recipe will do.


This is a cupcake recipe that I found in a Family Circle magazine. It is quite unusual, with cocoa, maple extract and bacon added to the mix. Try it for an unusual dessert sometime.

Sizzle Factor


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks softened, unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon maple extract

3/4 cup milk

2/3 cup, 10 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped into small pieces

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with 18 paper liners. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in eggs and maple extract. Beat in flour mixture, alternately with milk. Fold in bacon. Divide batter among liners and bake at 350 degrees for 21 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Makes 18. Frost with the following chocolate-maple icing.


1 cup milk chocolate chips

16-ounce box confectioners’ sugar

2 stick softened, unsalted butter

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon maple extract

Melt milk chocolate chips in microwave and cool slightly. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar, butter and milk until smooth. Beat in maple extract and chocolate. Spread over cupcakes, and a suggestion is to sprinkle with additional chopped bacon, if desired.


This is another different type of cupcake recipe that uses jars of baby food in the ingredients. It is from one of my favorite food and household tips magazines, Family Circle.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 eggs

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup clover honey

4-ounce jar pumpkin with pears baby food (Nature’s Goodness brand was suggested.)

2 jars, 4 ounces each, applesauce and apricots combination or a jar of each type

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 cup ground pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two mini-muffin pans with paper liners. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside. Beat eggs, butter, sugars and honey in a large bowl on medium speed until well combined. Add baby food and cinnamon and beat until smooth. Fold in pecans. Slowly add flour mixture using a sifter; fold in until ingredients are well mixed. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling them 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers come out clean. Remove cupcakes from oven to a wire rack and let cool completely. Repeat with additional mini-cupcake liners and remaining batter.


1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup ground pecans

In a large bowl, beat confectioners’ sugar, butter, cream cheese, condensed milk and extracts on medium speed until smooth. Frost each cupcake by putting a generous dollop of frosting on top with a spoon. Garnish with ground pecans. Makes 60 mini-cupcakes.


Red Velvet Cake is delicious in any shape or form, even more so as cupcakes with a cream cheese filling. McCormick provided this recipe that calls for a full ounce bottle of its red food color.

Red Velvet Cream-Filled Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup milk

1-ounce bottle red food color

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Red colored sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Beat butter and granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup two-thirds full. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in the pans on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.

Meanwhile prepare vanilla cream cheese frosting. Make an indention in the center of each cupcake using the handle of a wooden spoon or a straw, making sure not to break through to the bottom of the cupcake. Spoon about 3/4 cup frosting into a resealable plastic bag. Cut a small piece off one of the bottom corners of bag. Pipe about 1 teaspoon frosting into each cupcake. Spread top of cupcakes with remaining frosting. Sprinkle with red colored sugar.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 box, 16-ounces powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in a box of powdered sugar until smooth.

Note: If you do not have red sugar crystals, you can make it by putting 1/2 cup white sugar crystals in a large resealable plastic bag. Add 1/2 teaspoon red food color. Seal bag and knead until the sugar is colored evenly.

(McCoy can be contacted at