1828, American English, from cup (n.) + cake (n.), probably from the cups they are baked in, but possibly from the small measures of ingredients used to make them. Meaning "attractive young woman" is recorded from 1930s, American English.
1. Line a cupcake tin with plastic wrap, pressing it into cups.
2. Nostalgia alone cannot explain the success of the cupcake.
3. A cupcake with a candle on it is romantic.
4. Now the Rocks need to plow through the upcoming cupcake schedule, win them all.