Treat yourself... have a cupcake

The UK's latest cottage industry is now worth £7.3m. Susie Mesure reports on the irresistible rise of the iced fancy that has instant gratification baked in

They have been dubbed the "5-to-9ers". Every evening after work, they don their pinnies and get out their mixing bowls. Meet the stars of the new baking craze that has spawned an entire cottage industry and provided retailers with the sales equivalent of an instant sugar high.

Sales of cupcakes have soared by nearly 50 per cent in the past year, prompting people all over the country to set up their own cupcake bakeries. The first National Cupcake Week kicks off tomorrow.

More and more cupcake shops are opening up around Britain. The Cupcake Company, the third cupcake store for Kensington, west London, opens tomorrow.

Emma Jones, who runs the home business website Enterprise Nation, says the number of cottage cupcake bakers registering with the site has jumped by two-thirds in the past six months. "Because of the recession, people are reverting to doing something they love, like baking. We're seeing a lot of people hold down a day job but start doing something like making cupcakes at night. We call them the 5-to-9ers," she said.

Andrew Williams, of British Baker, the industry magazine behind Cupcake Week, said: "We have been taken aback. It's a cottage industry that attracts a fanatical type, and many people have either packed in their jobs to start their own cupcakeries or are running internet businesses and looking to scale them up to full-time."

Melinda Foster, who runs Fantasy Cupcakes from her home in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, said: "Cupcakes are a decadent, affordable, small piece of luxury, offering instant gratification in these dark and depressing times." She started her baking business 12 months ago, initially selling to friends and family. "It's grown from there."

Tanya Lynch is the Cardiff-based Cupcake Girl. She went into business last February and has not looked back. "Our biggest order has been 600-plus. We get orders for weddings, from companies using cupcakes for marketing, even for divorcee parties. I now employ a couple of chefs." Figures from TNS Worldpanel show the UK's cupcake market is worth £7.3m, up from £5m a year ago. Even big retailers are involved: Marks & Spencer's new cupcake range, launched last May, has been its fastest-selling cake in decades. Matt McAuliffe, the chain's product development manager, said: "The economic climate has been about self-treating, and cupcakes are very much an affordable indulgence."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there