As an enthusiastic baker, is there anything more satisfying than making the perfect cupcake? A nice, moist cupcake, a delicious filling and a gorgeous topping! In this article, you can find some great tips to help you out while you are working on those yummy cupcakes. New tips and useful information are continuously added to make sure you can find the tips you might need to create the most spectacular cupcakes!
Before you Start
- It is easier to work in an organised kitchen. Clean up and make sure all the dishes are done before you start. If you need something, it will be clean and where you expect it to be.
- Prepare your muffins trays, cupcake cups, etc. so everything is ready to be used.
- Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. This will prevent your batter from curdling.
- Depending on the ingredient, it is worth it to buy good quality ingredients. When using chocolate, cacao powder or fruit, you can really taste the difference.
- Make sure your ingredients are fresh before you start.
If you are only baking on rare occasions, it would be wasteful to invest in expensive baking supplies. If you are a frequent baker, however, I would say that it pays off to invest in some quality supplies. Some basic supplies I cannot go without when I am baking muffins are:
- A digital food scale. You can also use a manual scale, but I like the accuracy and speed of the digital scales.
- A stand mixer. A hand mixer will work just as well, but I like to have my hands free to do a bit of cleaning up or measuring while the batter is being mixed.
- A silicone spatula of high quality. I hate wasting food, so I always make sure that I get all the batter out of my bowl by scraping it out with a spatula. I prefer a good quality silicone spatula, they can handle extreme heat and cold, they do not discolour when using food colourant, they are hygienic, and well let’s be honest, it’s awesome that they come in all kinds of colours.
- Muffin Trays of high quality. What does that mean? The material is thick, and the surface is shiny. These muffin trays are usually of a lighter colour.
- A cooling rack.
- An ice cream spoon. You can use this to make sure all your muffins are the same size.
When buying cupcake cups and muffin cups, make sure you choose a cup that is made from thick quality paper. It will keep your baked goods fresh, and the cups won’t look greasy after you take them from the tray. If you are not giving away the muffins, you can use silicone cups.
Making the Batter
- Measure all your ingredients carefully. Ideally, you weigh them using a food scale, but some recipes use measuring spoons. Whichever method the recipe dictates, make sure to stick to the same method for all your ingredients.
- Do not use both imperial and metric in the same recipe. If the units are mixed, convert them before you start.
- Weigh all your ingredients before you start mixing so they can be used in a timely fashion.
- Preheat your oven in time, so when that you are done mixing your ingredients, the oven is ready to be used. This way your batter will not curdle because it is sitting around, waiting for the oven to heat up.
- Sieve your dry ingredients to prevent lumps from forming.
- Use the firm whisk beater(s) to mix the batter.
- Use a silicone spatula to remove ingredients sticking to the insides of the bowl while you are mixing. Make sure they get absorbed into the batter after you have loosened them.
- Mix until all your ingredients are homogeneously mixed, and your batter is smooth. Stop mixing as soon as you have reached this point. It is possible to over-mix your batter.
Adding Additional Ingredients
- When adding additional ingredients like chocolate or fruit, make sure the pieces are not bigger than a blueberry. If they are, they will influence the structure of your baked goods.
- When mixing in additional ingredients, make sure they are not just in one place in your batter before you stop mixing. Do not keep mixing the batter after the ingredients are mixed in evenly; it might damage the structure of the batter.
Moving the Batter
- Fill three-quarters of the cupcake cups with batter.
- Use an ice cream spoon to transfer the batter one portion at a time. Using the ice cream spoon will ensure that all your cupcakes are the same size.
- If you are using cute cupcake cups that are very thin, you can add a tiny bit of rice to the bottom of each cupcake hole in your muffin tray. The rice will absorb the grease and will make sure there are no stains on the outside of your cupcake cups.
Baking the Batter
- Bake your cupcakes in the centre of the oven.
- Do not open your oven for at least the first half of the indicated baking time. Ideally, you should leave it closed for at least the first three-quarters of that time.
- Test if your cupcakes are done before you take them out of the oven if you are using a recipe or the oven for the first time. How? Check out my article [How do I know if my Cake is ready?].
It is possible that when you are making a recipe for the first time, the indicated temperature is too high. One temperature setting is not the same for all ovens. If this is the case, your baked goods will start to brown before the inside is solid. You can still save your baked goods by covering them with aluminium foil. Don’t forget to make a note in your recipe that will remind you to lower the temperature and increase the baking time the next time you are using it
Removing the Cupcakes from the Muffin Trays
- Let your cupcakes cool down a little before removing them from your tray(s) so you won’t get burned.
Taking Care of your Muffin Trays
- If you put the right amount of batter in your cups and muffin trays, it should not be necessary to wash them with soap after you are done. Wipe them down with a moist cloth. This will keep your muffin trays as good as new for a very long time.
- Let your cupcakes cool down. Wrap them in plastic wrap, so they will not dry out.
- Keep your wrapped up cupcakes in airtight containers while you store them.
- Frosted cupcakes do not need to be wrapped in plastic wrap, just place them in an airtight container.
- Store cupcakes that you have frosted or that have a dairy-containing filling, in the refrigerator.
- Cupcakes have a short shelf life. They taste best when eaten right after you take them out of the oven. If stored correctly, they will stay good for several days.
- Covering cupcakes with icing or frosting will prevent your baked goods from drying out as well. Store your iced or frosted baked goods in airtight containers, and they will stay good for several days.
- You cannot freeze raw batter. The freezing process will destroy the structure of your batter.
- You can freeze your baked goods for several months if wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in airtight containers while in your freezer.
- It is not recommended to freeze cupcakes that are frosted, iced or filled with something delicious.
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