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."

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
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: Lifeguards / Leisure Club Attendants - Seasonal Placement

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Qualified Lifeguards are required to join a fa...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Exhibition Content Developer

    £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in South Kensington, this prestigi...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - major leisure brand

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Partner

    £25000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Partner is required to ...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn