Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Put It In The Pantry With Your Cupcakes...

It is amazing to think that it is 48 years since a fresh faced young Dustin Hoffman appeared on screen as The Graduate. 

It was a film with the most fantastic soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel. I loved these songs - even if I couldn't always work out the lyrics. I was aware that Mrs Robinson really needed to know that Jesus loved her - and that she had a pantry full of cupcakes. Back in those days, we had 'fairy cakes' - and cupcakes were an American mystery, along with McDonalds, Oreos and Pizza Hut. These were food items I had heard of, but never seen in reality.
I was humming the tunes on Sunday afternoon - I decided to make some cakes - for Sunday tea and also to leave in the tin for Bob to eat whilst I was away at WWDP committee. I found this recipe in my Rachel Allen 'Food for Living' cookbook. It was unusual in that [a] it had a very small amount of butter- and that was melted into warm milk, and [b] the method involved whisking the eggs to great volume, for about 10 minutes. I decided to give it a go...
Rachel specifies that these are 'pretty little cakes' so I decided I should use some pretty little paper cake cases.
A friend in Leicester, who has long since given up baking, gave them to me - I think they must be 1960s vintage, they are so retro and sweet.
Rachel does warn that the cakes come out flat on top, so that was useful to know.
My   cakes looked fine - I didn't have any sugared almonds or crystallised flowers, so I just put sugar sprinkles on top. 
But here's the thing. I have three packets of paper cases in my cupboard.
One is a pack of Sainsbury's Cupcases [bought cheaply after the Queen's Jubilee in 2012] One is a pack of Supercook cases - 100 for 45p from the Co-op, no idea when that was, and the last one is the amazing pack of floral ones from my friend. Here they are

The thing is, they are clearly different sizes.
The capacity of the newer Sainsbury's ones is at least twice that of the other two.
The oldest, floral ones are slightly shallower than the plain white paper ones. Here is how they line up.

The experts are always telling us that portion sizes are getting larger- this seems to bear that out.
No wonder we are all getting fatter!


  1. I learnt the word bariatric from the BBC website yesterday- and then a friend called round and stayed for dinner- whose dietician daughter is working with bariatric children. Portion size indeed. Vocabulary expanding with waistbands and bun cases!

  2. I think that the size is part of the difference between fairy cakes & cupcakes too. Cupcakes seem to require vast amounts of buttercreamy topping etc, whereas fairy cakes have icing and sprikles. Fairy implies "small & delicate" too.

  3. Portion sizes definitely have changed.

  4. Fairy cakes sound very dainty and delightful.


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