Exceedingly Posh cakes: Heidi Klum has given Victoria Beckham a year's supply of cupcakes as a birthday gift


Last updated at 00:40 11 May 2008

Enlarge   Victoria Beckham Heidi Klum February 2008

Grand gesture: Heidi Klum spent £1,000 on a year's supply of cupcakes for Victoria Beckham

They are calling it the Marie Antoinette diet. And even Victoria Beckham, who strives to be Hollywood's most fashionable - and thinnest - woman, has become a convert to the latest food fad: the cult of the cupcake.

Victoria, who normally restricts herself to a miserly intake of endamame beans and seaweed shakes, fell under the spell of the brightly coloured cakes after supermodel Heidi Klum gave her a year's supply for her 34th birthday.

Ms Klum has arranged for a dozen of the confections - a super-sized American version of the traditional British fairy cake - to be delivered to the Beckhams' Los Angeles home at 3pm every Friday, at a cost of £1,000 for the year.

A more sensitive soul than Mrs Beckham might have taken the gift as a pointed comment on her sometimes gaunt figure.

Instead, Victoria has taken Marie Antoinette's 'Let them eat cake' advice to heart and now shares her weekly consignment with husband David, sons Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz and their domestic staff.

The lowly cupcake has become a stylish must-have, thanks largely to the cult television show Sex And The City, with celebrities on both sides of the Atlantic flocking to designer bakeries.

Victoria's minuscule - and bizarre - diet has for some time been the focus of fascination and concern.

Until Ms Klum arranged the weekly delivery of cup cakes, she was restricting her daily food intake to endamame beans (as many as she likes, any time she likes), seaweed shakes, strawberries and frozen grapes (as a special treat).

Carbohydrates were outlawed after 3pm. In the evening she would drink two or three glasses of white wine, meaning that - because she had eaten so little - she would sometimes end up slightly the worse for wear.

This led some people to say Victoria might be a victim of drinkorexia - a condition where, in an attempt to stay pencil-thin, women refuse all carbs... except those contained in alcohol.

Now, as she attempts to have a longed for baby girl, Victoria has been advised that she needs to eat some carbs if she wants to get pregnant, so Ms Klum's cup cakes are a particularly welcome gift.

She currently eats one a day throughout the week - the other five going to her husband and children. It is not known whether she scrapes off the calorie-laiden icing before tucking in.

Scroll down for more...

Primrose Bakery owners Lisa Thomas Martha Swift

Sweet success: Primrose Bakery owners Lisa Thomas and Martha Swift with some of their fashionable confections

"Victoria has been a lot less fastidious about her weight recently," a family friend said.

"She and David are desperate to conceive and she knows she needs to put on a bit of weight in order to do so. She's bumping up on the calories and the cupcakes are working nicely. Victoria is delighted with Heidi's present. She really looks forward to the delivery.

"Her favourite flavour is chocolate - a chocolate sponge cake with chocolate icing and dark chocolate flakes on the top. She gets 12 in every delivery so there are plenty for the boys, David and their staff."

The friend added: "Heidi is now very popular with the Beckhams."

The cupcake revival began thanks to Sex And The City's Carrie and Miranda, who often stopped off for a vanilla-flavoured cake with lurid pink icing.

The store where the scenes were shot - the real-life Magnolia Bakery --went on to become an institution in downtown New York.

Scroll down for more...

Sex And The City TV Season One 1998

Cupcake crazy: The Sex And The City characters in the TV show regularly ate cupcakes from Manhattan's Magnolia Bakery

The craze spread rapidly across America and cupcake bakeries began springing up in London, attracting a growing number of celebrities - including Kate Moss, Sir Elton John and Sadie Frost - eager to sample such exotic ingredients as Madagascar vanilla, Belgian chocolate, Philadelphia cream cheese and buttercream.

And to add to the fancies frenzy, Selfridges in London will this month launch a Sex And The City themed cupcake to coincide with the movie version of the TV show.

Jane Asher, guru of British baking, who runs a fashionable party cake business in Chelsea, says: "Cupcakes have been around for ever but I have noticed they have had a massive resurgence in popularity.

"Five years ago, we had virtually no requests for them. Now, everyone wants them for all kinds of special occasions - weddings, children's birthdays, christenings, even grand cocktail parties.

"The trend is part of a general craze at the moment for homebaked goods."

A simple cupcake - so called because it is baked in an individual cupshaped paper case - uses the same basic ingredients as most standard cakes: butter, sugar, eggs and flour.

Scroll down for more...

Cupcakes Hummingbird Bakery

Cup winners: A selection of colourful cakes from London's Hummingbird Bakery

But the American version is typically larger and more lavish than its British fairy cake cousin, with lashings of pastel-coloured soft whipped icing, elaborate decoration and exotic flavourings.

So what - besides sheer indulgence - is fuelling the cupcake's revival?

Professor Richard Shepherd, co-director of the food, consumer behaviour and health research centre at the University of Surrey, says: "The American version seems to have taken over recently in this country because they are associated with glamour.

"People have seen them on TV and want to try them for themselves. There is also a strong underlying psychological association between these small cakes and childhood. They remind people of their childhood kitchen, safety and security. They are the ultimate comfort food."

Tarek Malouf, 34, opened the Hummingbird Bakery in Portobello Road four years ago after realising there was a gap in the market.

"My sister lives in New York and whenever I'd visit we would go to these fantastic bakeries.

"I had a hunch that cupcakes would be as popular with British customers as they were in the States."

The hunch proved right - he now has a second shop in South Kensington and between them the two shops sell 20,000 cupcakes a week.

A 180-year-old treat...

The term 'cupcake' was first used in 1828 in Receipts, an American cookery book by E. Leslie.

The Oxford Encyclopaedia says there are two theories about the name: it comes from the amount of ingredients used to make the cake (a cupful of flour, a cupful of butter, a cupful of sugar etc), and that the cakes were originally baked in earthenware cups.

The topping is traditionally thick butter cream made from softened butter, icing sugar, vanilla and hot water.

Oprah Winfrey is a frequent visitor to the Beverly Hills cupcake emporium Sprinkles. Kate Moss and U2 are fans of The Primrose Bakery in London.

The average price of a cupcake is £2 and each provides, on average, 300 calories.