It might seem to us like cupcakes have been around forever, but as with any food recipe it has its own unique creation story. As cupcakes is our namesake at Ava’s Cupcakes, we thought it fitting to share this sweet piece of history. Therefore, our latest blog dives into the history of cupcakes!

History of Cupcakes – When Did This Sweet Treat Begin?

What is now known as a cupcake all began with the first ever cupcake recipe called “A Light Cake to Bake in Small Cups” by Amelia Simmons. It appeared in the first American cookbook written by Simmons called American Cookery.

This original cupcake recipe includes much of the common ingredients today, such as:

  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Flour

However, it also includes an assortment of less common ingredients we would find in today’s cupcakes. Those include:

  • Wine
  • Rose Water
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Currants
  • Emptins (basically hops)

After this original cupcake recipe, it took a couple decades for the term cupcake to actually appear. The first documented use of the term cupcake was used in 1828. It appeared in Eliza Leslie’s Receipts cookbook, Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats.

Important Dates in the History of Cupcakes

Below are some quick dates to know in the history of cupcakes.

  • 1871: Second ever cupcake recipe published with more ‘familiar’ cupcake ingredients.
  • 1919: Hostess introduces ‘The Cupcake’, it’s first snack cake.
  • 1920’s: Cupcakes are iced for the first time (in only vanilla or chocolate icing).
  • 1940’s: Malted icing is available for cupcakes.
  • 1947: D.R. “Doc” Rice is assigned with redesigning cupcakes and creates a look similar to today’s cupcakes.

From Then to Now: Cupcakes Today

Today cupcakes are so popular there is even a show dedicated to bakers fighting to see who makes the best. What show are we talking about? Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, of course! The delectable contest show currently boasts 1.6 million viewers. Cupcake Wars is important in the history of Ava’s Cupcakes as well since our owner, Michelle Spell, won on that very show! You can thank that show for birthing our cupcake flavors of Banana Guava, Apple Pie, and Chocolate Truffle.

Ava’s Signature Flavors History

If you’ve visited our stores or website, then you probably have noticed we have 12 signature flavors. Since this is a history of cupcakes blog, we wanted to share a little history on our signature flavors and how they came to be.

The Signature flavors became the Signature 12 after our doors were open for 12 months. While there was no connection between the 12 months and the 12 flavors, it just happened to be the 12 most sought-after flavors. Additionally, people would always ask, which flavors do you recommend? It became obvious very quickly that most people love variety. Plus, they seemed to love the idea of a sampler pack filled with our best sellers. Since 2012, those 12 flavors have made up our Signature Sampler!

History Lesson Is Done & It’s Time to Pick Up Ava’s Cupcakes Today!

Now that your mouth is watering from reading all about cupcakes, are you ready to actual enjoy some of the best? Then, stop in at our Clemmons or Winston-Salem locations and pick up your favorites today!

You can find or contact our stores at:


  • Address: 1483 River Ridge Dr, Clemmons, NC 27012
  • Phone: (336) 283-9021


  • Address: 1539 Hanes Mall Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC 27103
  • Phone: (336) 999-7178

For those not living or visiting the Piedmont Triad in North Carolina, we ship our one-of-a-kind cakecups anywhere in the continental U.S. Visit our e-store to view and order those as well as some other shippable sweet treats.

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