Wednesday, 20 April 2016

American vs British cupcakes, what's the difference?

You'll have seen the term 'American style cupcake' crop up in discussion to describe bakeries like Hummingbird bakeryViolet cakes and Buttercup cake shop. But exactly what makes a cupcake an American cupcake? How does it differ from it's British cakey cousin? and does it make a big difference in flavour? Naturally, here at Cake Porn I've been making some tasty comparisons..

So what makes a cupcake an American cupcake? It's not dotted in stars and stripes if that's what your wondering, what makes a cupcake more American in style is the difference in texture and sizing compared to traditional British cupcakes, or fairy cakes as they're sometimes named.

Your typical American cupcake is larger in size than your average British cupcake, with generous lashings of frosting on top and a more moister bake. Generally, very sweet in taste and usually packed with flavour, you'll instantly recognize American style cupcakes like Red velvets on the menu at American style bakeries.

One of the key differences between the two is the ingredients used, American style cupcakes tend to use plain flour with plenty of baking powder in the bake to create the rise whilst using the addition of milk, or sometimes replacing the butter with oil in the recipe, to create that moist bake. You'll also find cream cheese frosting used much more often on American style cupcakes to their British counterparts, alongside a plethora of sweet additions to the recipe like Marshmallow fluff and of course peanut butter.

With all these super sized, extra frosted, sweet, moist bakes it's easy to see why we've taken to them so well, but how does the British cupcake compare to it's moist, sweet and generously sized American counterpart? Sometimes referred to as fairy cakes as opposed to cupcakes your British cupcake tends to be a little smaller in size, much like a dainty cake.

Delightfully light and sweet these delicate cupcakes are made using self raising flour with the occasional pinch of baking powder to help the bake along. Compared to the American cupcake we tend to use butter for our bakes which helps compose the light, fluffy texture of the cupcake. We don't tend to go as overboard for the buttercream topping, preferring to add a dainty swirl or layering of frosting on top with the occasional pretty addition of sprinkles or fruit.

The differences may not be terribly noticeable on sight, if you were to place one of each together on a plate the mainly noticeable difference would be the size, it's not until you taste the cupcakes that you can really make the comparisons. American cupcakes tend to have a denser, moister bake with a very sweet flavour, whereas your British cupcake will have a lighter, fluffier texture with a sweet yet subtle flavour. Of course it's all down to the recipes as to the real flavour comparisons but with the American bake taking so well here you may well find a few traditionally American flavours brought into a more British bake.

As far as I'm concerned I'd happily take either cake any day, some days when you crave a really sweet treat you can't beat scoffing upon't a Red velvet cupcake, but sometimes a plain vanilla fairy cake just really hits the spot! Either way, it's all delicious cake!

Images: American cupcakes - Thephotoguy | Dreamstime Stock Photos &Stock Free Images, & British cupcake Theresa Iovcheva via Free images.com.