Something Old & Something New
Cupcakes are currently experiencing a renaissance. The last time cupcakes were this trendy was in the 1950s. I have an old tupperware container that was my grandmother's that I always thought had an inconvenient shape, until I realized that 9 cupcakes tuck in there perfectly. Is that a mandate that three should be eaten immediately? In any case, my generation seems to be relishing everything retro.
When I tried to look up a few cupcake recipes in my "Better Homes & Gardens" cookbook from the mid 1990's, I was surprised that it only lists three main flavors -- vanilla, yellow, and chocolate. We are so beyond that now -- gourmet cupcake recipes abound on the internet.
Cupcakes originated in the 19th century, when cakes were often times baked in tea cups for speedier baking, because larger cakes took an eternity to cook on a hearth. But even more intriguing, cup cake recipes were the first recipes written with proportions in cups instead of weights. Click here for more cupcake history or here if you are truly cupcake obsessed.
This is a recipe recently posted at Save Your Fork . . . There's Pie, for Lime Ginger Cupcakes with Coconut. I just came upon these silicone cupcake molds. I have to admit they were too cute to leave on the store shelf or even let sit in my cupboard for 24 hours. I decided to do a little experiment, as they recommend that you spray oil to coat the insides "for best results." I like to push limits, you see. I also wondered how well they would work without a muffin tin holding them up. They passed the no-muffin-tin test with flying colors. They did fine only supported by a cookie sheet. When I popped the cupcakes out of their ungreased molds they stuck about as much as you would expect with paper liners.
My only concern left was whether it would effect my health, but apparently silicone rubber is the only non-stick bake-ware material that is also inert. Apparently this has to do with the compactness of the polymer on the molecular level which renders it resistant to interactions with other molecules.