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Everyone has that one foolproof dessert, the go-to treat for when you’ve got a bad case of sweet tooth. There’s your chocolate, your ice cream, and your cookies, but none of these are as versatile as the old reliable cupcake.
Once just a staple of kiddie parties, there’s now a cupcake recipe for every persuasion, thanks to cooking shows like Sugar Rush, Nailed It!, and Zumbo’s Just Desserts. Traditionally sweet, cupcakes it turns out can be tangy, spicy, and savoury, too. Ready to get baking what you can’t help craving?
6 Foolproof Cupcake Baking Tips
Whatever your preference, these 6 tips will help you get your baking fundamentals right.
Use only the best ingredients
Every delicious cupcake starts with high-quality ingredients. Measure properly, and don’t skimp on the good stuff! We mean the cocoa powder, butter, milk, vanilla extract, and so on.
To make perfectly smooth batter, before you start whisking away, take your refrigerated raw materials and leave them out for about an hour, to let them come to room temperature. They will combine better that way - the secret to making fluffy cupcakes!
There’s mixing and then there’s…
If you’ve tasted or made dense cupcakes before, that was probably due to overmixed batter. When you mix too much, you lose some of the air bubbles and end up with too much gluten in your cake.
On the other hand, it’s also possible to undermix and not have enough gluten in your batter, which may then result in sad, collapsed cupcakes.
Avoid that gummy quality or fallen centre, by spending only a few seconds to combine your dry ingredients.
One size does fit all
A good batch of cupcakes is one that is consistent in flavour and colour, and especially in size. It’s more than just an aesthetic consideration; making sure that each one is the uniform size guarantees that the set will all bake at the same time.
If you’re tempted to eyeball it (“Hmm I dunno, it looks pretty even to me”), resist the urge. You can simply use a measuring cup (some also suggest the use of an ice cream scooper) to distribute the batter evenly into your cupcake liners.
Temperature is everything
There are many ways to spoil a baked good, but nothing is worse than a cupcake that’s burnt on the outside and uncooked on the inside. If this has happened to you, blame it on insufficient pre-heating. Invest in an oven thermometer to avoid this unfortunate baking mishap.
When you finally start backing, go from a high temperature - say 204°C (400°F) for five minutes and then drop it down to 177°C (350°F) for another 10 minutes or so.
Collect and cool
About a minute after you’re done baking, move your cupcakes from the pan onto a wire rack, to avoid overcooking. Make the mistake of leaving them in the pan and you’ll end up with overdone, dried-out cupcakes.
Once cooled, only then should you start to frost your cupcakes. Not a moment sooner, or your icing could melt.
Put icing over the entire cupcake
Frosting acts as a seal and is what helps keep cupcakes super-moist. Also, refer back to the no-skimping rule.
Finally, store your cupcakes in an airtight container, to keep in the moisture.