Some people think that “vanilla” is synonymous with “boring,” but National Vanilla Cupcake Day is dedicated to dispelling that myth. The very first cupcakes date back to the late 18th century and took their name from the small ramekins or cups in which they were baked. (Who knew nonstick muffin tins weren’t widely available in the 1700s?) We’ve come a long way since then—now, cupcakes are miniature, edible works of art that are almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Diehard chocoholics, do what you will on November 10; the rest of us will be trying not to get vanilla frosting on our noses.
National Vanilla Cupcake Day Activities
1. Put that oven to good use
Unlike complicated tarts or finicky cheesecake, cupcakes are a good starter project for beginner bakers —if you can read a recipe and measure ingredients correctly, you can make cupcakes. And even if your cupcakes end up a little lumpy, just remember that frosting covers a multitude of sins.
2. Go crazy with decorating
Everyone knows the fun in cupcakes is decorating. So get a cake mix or premade unfrosted cupcakes and go crazy! One trip to the cake-making aisle of your local big-box craft store will provide all the inspiration (and supplies) you need to host a cray-cray cupcake partay: icing, sprinkles in all kinds of shapes, edible glitter, even fondant you can mold like clay.
3. Make goodies for a good cause
Your kids’ school, your local animal shelter, or any charity you choose can probably use all the funds it can get. So solicit your baker friends to donate their delicious creations to the cause. Protip: to make the treats look extra-attractive, package them in colored cellophane bags, and make sure to include ingredient lists and note potential allergens.
Why We Love National Vanilla Cupcake Day
A. Vanilla makes a perfect palette (for your palate)
Invite vanilla to the party, and you’ll always have a hit on your hands. Devil’s food, red velvet and spice cakes might be iconic, but vanilla is a blank canvas that lets bakers get creative with fillings, flavors and decorations. Is it time to experiment this National Vanilla Cupcake Day? We say yes.
B. Cupcakes provide portion control and parity
Picture a four-year-old’s birthday party where some frazzled parent is trying to divvy up the Peppa Pig cake. Some kids want the corner piece or the piece with the frosting rose; there’s inevitably a parent who requests a tiny slice from the middle with no frosting. Cupcakes, with their uniformity, prevent this problem. Additionally, their perfect portion control makes it harder to eat more than one. (Who are we kidding—we’d eat a whole plate.)
C. They are an affordable, yet indulgent treat
Remember the cupcake craze that swept the country about a decade ago? Cupcake-exclusive bakeries popped up all over the place because they offered a small, sweet escape from the financial crisis, bank bailouts, and underwater mortgages —and at an affordable price. While there’s no longer a “cupcakery” on every corner, the logic remains. Need an afternoon pick-me-up or a just-because-it’s-Friday treat? Cupcakes to the rescue.