The popularity of cupcakes shows no sign of abating, with the category overtaking flapjacks to rival cookies in the total cake market following a 22% increase in value sales in the past 12 months.

Value sales of cupcakes and fairy cakes reached a total of £37m in the 52 weeks to 17 May, according to TNS data, while flapjacks fell 1.4% to £34.8m and cookies rose 5% to £37.3m. Overall, the cake market grew by 4.6% to a value of £1.58bn.

At ingredients supplier Puratos, which is sponsoring National Cupcake Week, organised by British Baker, from September 14-19, marketing director Rupert Taylor said cupcakes continued to perform well, because they are "an easy treat during tough economic times".

"Cupcakes look fantastic, are easy to eat on the go and because they are small and light, people feel less guilty about eating them," he added.

Lisa Boswell, marketing manager for supplier BakeMark UK, said that growth was being driven by increased penetration of cupcakes. "The number of UK households buying into the category is up 11% in the last 12 months, which has driven up volume by 13.7%," she explained. "Inflation has also played some part in driving value growth in the sector, since the average price per pack increased by 7.2% to 92p."

Inflation has underpinned growth across the total cake market, she added, with prices increasing by 2.6% to an average of £1.10.