It’s once again National Cupcake Week in the UK. The annual celebration (from Sept. 17-23), organized by British Baker magazine, provides a chance for bakers, both professional and amateur, to try to outdo each other with unique cupcake designs and recipes. More importantly, it raises money for the charity CLIC Sargent, a UK cancer charity for children and young people, and their families. Their mission is to provide “clinical, practical, financial and emotional support to help them cope with cancer and get the most out of life.” People can participate by having cupcake sales that benefit CLIC Sargent, and also by purchasing a cupcake pin.
Cupcakeries (yes, it’s a word) have been flourishing in the UK as the tiny baked goods have become somewhat of a fashion statement. “Once associated only with heaps of lurid buttercream and covered with sprinkles, now a new flavour-first aesthetic is gaining ground,” notes the BBC. The UK saw an 11% increase in cupcake purchases in 2011 over the previous year, and that doesn’t even count the homemade ones. According to Charles Banks, director and co-founder of thefoodpeople, which studies global food trends, “Cupcakes were repopularised in the 1990s and there are various schools of thought as to why it happened.”
Banks partially credits the television show Sex and the City, which showed cupcakes as the “en vogue thing to have.” On a current hit U.S. television show, Two Broke Girls, which was co-created by Michael Patrick King, a writer and director for Sex and the City, the leading characters are slowly but surely building their own cupcake business. In fact, one TV blogger noted, “If your life doesn’t revolve around heart, soul, sex and cupcakes, you’re not adequately adhering to the Michael Patrick King guide to existence.”
For cupcake-loving vegans, it’s easier than ever to indulge their sweet-tooth. There is no shortage of vegan cupcake recipes online. There’s even a vegancupcakerecipes.com website. For those who lack the time, talent, and/or desire to get out the mixing bowl, PETA UK has provided a handy list for those searching for vegan cupcakes throughout the UK. Cat and the Cream offers dairy-free, wheat-free, soy-free cupcakes, which can be found at Whole Foods stores around London, as well as in Glasgow. Ms. Cupcake, billed as “London’s first entirely vegan retail bakery” is located in the Brixton section of London. They also offer baking classes. All of the listings can be found here.