A cupcake is a small cake which is generally designed as a single serving. Many people enjoy making and eating cupcakes along with other miniaturized foods, and most bakeries offer a line of these cakes in addition to their other desserts. In some parts of the world, a cupcake may be known as a fairy cake, which is probably a reference to the small and dainty size.
Almost any cake can be turned into cupcakes. Some sponge cakes and tortes may not always translate as well, but in general these recipes can be converted with a few small changes. Most cupcakes are usually made in specialized pans or molds which consist of a series of interconnected cups for batter. These cups may be lined with wax paper or foil to make removal much easier, and to allow people to handle the cupcakes without getting their hands dirty.
If you are making cupcakes, you may want to read the recipe carefully to ensure that the cake batter will perform well in smaller cakes. You might also want to consider making a smaller batch so that you can experiment with different varieties, like chocolate and vanilla. Be aware that cupcakes have a much shorter cooking time than regular cake, since their volume is significantly smaller. You might also want to try playing with fillings such as jam, pastry cream, or cream cheese.
Many children's parties feature cupcakes instead of cake because the individual servings eliminate arguments about the sizing of slices of cake. They may also add a personal element to the party, making each attendant feel especially valued. When allergies are a concern, individual cupcakes can also be made without ingredients like nuts, which some people may be allergic to. Adults may also enjoy these treats at parties, with cupcake wedding cakes being a popular item in some parts of the world.
Some bakers greatly enjoy making and decorating cupcakes, since the small size adds a unique challenge. The frosting must be carefully applied so that the sweets are not overloaded, and decorations need to be added in moderation so that the end product doesn't look too busy with design elements. Some bakers like to pipe on flowers, leaves, writing, and other elements, while others may add sprinkles, plastic models, and other fun decorations.