They're taking over television, bake shops, blogs, cookbooks and even weddings.
Cupcakes are everywhere.
The cupcake trend that started in the early 2000s is now hotter than ever. In fact, thefoodchannel.com lists cupcakes as the hottest mainstream trend for desserts in 2011. Like it or not, the cupcake is everywhere.
Despite the growing trend, the cupcake is nothing new. In fact, a recipe for a cupcake can be found in a 1796 cookbook called "American Cookery," by Amelia Simmons.
The cake is described as "a light cake to bake in small cups." However, the term "cupcake" was first used in an American cookbook in 1826, according to food historian Andrew Smith.
Although the cupcake is not a new invention, Magnolia Bakery, New York City takes credit for starting the cupcake craze, thanks in part to HBO's "Sex in the City" which featured the bake shop.
Sprinkles Cupcakes, Beverly Hills, Calif., is a favorite of the Hollywood elite and is the world's first cupcake only bakery with four locations in California alone.
The company is currently expanding its cupcake franchise, complete with signature dot, across the world with new locations in Washington, D.C. and the possibility of branches in Paris and Tokyo.
Crumbs Bake Shop, headquartered in New York City, serves up huge cupcakes at over 400 retailers and Washington, D.C.'s Georgetown Cupcake has become a must-see tourist attraction in the district, due in part to its television show "D.C. Cupcakes" on TLC and its signature red velvet cupcake.
Cupcakes have not only taken over bake shops but the blogosphere as well. One of the most popular cupcake bloggers is Bakerella, who is also well-known for her cake pops.
Bakerella features creative recipes such as her Fire and Ice Cupcakes made with chocolate, chipotle, cinnamon and a dulce de leche ice cream topper. The Fire and Ice Cupcakes recipe was so impressive that it was published in Betty Crocker's Big Book of Cupcakes.
For an alternative to a cupcake, try one of Bakerella's cake pops. Cake pops are made from crumbled cake and frosting stirred together and rolled in a ball. The balls are then dipped in melted chocolate and stuck on a stick like a lollipop.
For more recipes, check out bakerella.com or her cookbook "Cake Pops."
The creative cupcake possibilities are endless. A simple Google search provides numerous blogs with creative cupcake recipes.
Martha Stewart is even in on the cupcake fad. Her website has all lists of cupcake recipes for every season and occasion, including weddings.
Cupcakes piled high on a tower have the appearance of a tiered cake, without the trouble of slicing a piece for each guest. Instead, cupcakes provide a hassle free individual cake for each guest. It's no wonder that the craze is now making its way to the wedding scene.
With everything featuring cupcakes now, it's clear that the dessert is no longer simply for a 6-year-old's birthday party.
Order a dozen from georgetowncupcake.com, head over to your local bakeshop to check out the selection or bake your own cupcake creation at home.
Whichever way, the cupcake takes the cake.