My self-proclaimed expertise is cupcakes. I enjoy both making and consuming cupcakes. Cupcakes are precisely portioned, movable, and extremely cute. The flavor options are limitless, as are the methods to adorn cupcakes. I enjoy developing new cupcake recipes with unusual tastes.
I’ve learned and gained various tactics to help me make the ideal cupcake over the years of making cupcakes and devising recipes. These are simple steps you can take to make your cupcakes appear more remarkable and professional. Here are my best picks.
1. Ingredients should be at room temperature
I used to disregard this advice when I first began baking. I could see why it’s essential to have room temperature butter because creaming it would be difficult if it wasn’t. But I always used milk and eggs direct from the fridge. What a blunder!
The primary reason you want your components at ambient temperature is to ensure proper mixing and emulsification. This may result in a lack of substance in your muffins.
But I don’t always remember to take my materials out of the fridge before preparing! So here are a pair of short pointers!
- Butter – Microwave the covered butter in 5 second increments, rotating the cube of butter 1/4 turn each time. Remove the butter from the microwave once it begins to melt slightly.
- Eggs – Place chilled eggs in a dish and cover with boiling water. (not boiling). Allow the eggs to soak in water for 5 minutes.
- Milk – Microwave milk for 30 seconds in a glass measuring cup. Check the temperature and continue to microwave in 10-second increments until it reaches room temperature.
2. Do not overmix the batter
It is critical not to overmix the muffin mixture. Overmixing the dough causes the development of gluten, which gives the cupcakes a stiff and brittle structure.
When creating bread, the dough is kneaded for several minutes to develop protein and create a spongy structure. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not eat a crunchy muffin!
The majority of my muffin recipes are hand-mixed with a spatula. I do this for two reasons: (1) to avoid cleaning my stand mixer, and (2) to avoid overmixing. When combining by hand, I find it a little simpler to halt when necessary.
Stop combining the muffin mixture as soon as the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, leavening agents) are completely mixed with the liquid ingredients. (milk, oil). This will prevent further gluten development and result in a delicate, fragile texture for your muffin.
To ensure that all of the dry components have been combined, I typically stir the dish once with a spoon. If some flour shows, carefully fold it into the mixture until it is completely integrated.
3. Use a cupcake scoop for evenly baked cupcakes
A cookie spatula is one of my best and most-used culinary utensils. I have several sizes to create precisely round cakes and to divide dough into muffin molds!
The primary reason I recommend using a cookie spoon for your muffin mixture is to ensure even, consistent baking. Your cupcakes will appear orderly and professional if they are all the same size. This will result in a more flawless final product.
I’ve discovered that no matter how hard I try, I can never get the muffin dough to be precisely divided without using a spatula. Using a teaspoon also results in fewer droplets on the edges of your muffin tins.
Simply ladle some mixture into the muffin cups, smooth it off with the edge of the basin, and bake!
I suggest investing in a collection of various sized cookie cutters for your pantry. You’ll have the proper utensil for the task whether you’re making tiny, regular, or giant cupcakes!
4. Do not overfill cupcake liners
muffin recipes will typically specify how full to make the muffin containers should be. The most frequent quantities are half filled, two-thirds full, and three-quarters full. This is critical to remember and implement.
Many variables can influence how much cupcakes raise, including the components, leavening agents, and baking temperature. Some muffins will ascend higher than others.
Unfortunately, I have a history of underfilling the cupcake cases, resulting in very short, pathetic-looking cupcakes. I also overfilled my cupcake wrappers, resulting in a volcanic cupcake that exploded all over my plate. This results in sloppy pastries and time-consuming cleanup.
If a recipe does not say how much to stuff the cupcakes, I suggest going with two-thirds filled.
5. Bake cupcakes in the center rack of the oven
Every cooker is unique. Some are more volatile than others! I highly advise you to roast your cupcakes in the middle of your oven. This may necessitate rearranging your oven shelves, but it will be well worth it.
If the cupcakes are cooked too near to the top of the oven, they may burn or raise too quickly, resulting in broken tips.
Whereas if the cupcakes are cooked too near to the bottom of the oven, they may take longer to prepare and don’t raise as well.
If you’re preparing several quantities of cupcakes, you may need to take your time baking them if you want flawless cupcakes. Depending on your oven, one or two muffin trays may accommodate in the middle. If you use two plates, just make sure that the cupcakes nearest to the edges of the oven do not color quicker than the cupcakes on the inside.
Unfortunately, because each oven is unique, you may need to conduct some trial and error trials to get to know your oven better!
6. Use the touch test rather than a toothpick
My best method to see if the cupcakes are done baking is to probe them! A SMALL jab. The cupcakes are done if the cake rebounds back! Continue baking if the muffin feels moist or does not rebound back.
This has proven to be a more reliable indicator of whether or not the cupcakes are precisely cooked. I’ve used toothpicks in the past and dislike them for two reasons: (1) I don’t always have them or, if I do, I have to rummage through my kitchen cupboards to locate them, and (2) I’ve had toothpicks lie to me!
Disclaimer!! When performing the contact test, use extreme caution. The muffins are extremely hot. We’re searching for a fast but delicate prod! Please do not set fire to yourself. If you’re worried about the danger, stay with the toothpicks.
7. Remove cupcakes from the pan to cool
It is critical to remove your cupcakes from the muffin tins to settle. Because of the interaction with the pan, the cupcakes will continue to warm if they are still in the pan. We don’t want the cupcakes to continue baking because they are smaller than normal cakes and will dry out.
When I take cupcakes out of the oven, I typically let them rest for 2 minutes in the skillet before transferring them to a metal stand. I use a tiny angled spatula to help me with this. I gently pull the cupcake out of the pan by inserting the spatula between the cupcake wrapper and the pan.
A message of warning. The muffins will be extremely warm. Please be cautious not to harm your fingertips!
And NO! Please do not turn your muffin dish upside down onto a metal stand! These lovely ladies have worked hard in the oven to raise exactly for you! Please do not crush their caps!
8. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting
This may seem self-explanatory, but it is an important stage in making the ideal muffin.
Butter is present in buttercream. Butter dissolves relatively readily. If you don’t want your icing to spread all over the muffin, wait until it’s completely cold before decorating.
If you’re in a hurry (story of my life), put the muffins in the refrigerator for a few minutes to speed up the procedure. Don’t keep them in there too long!
Alternatively, if it’s a cooler day and you have a clean, suitable location to do so, take the cupcakes outside for a few minutes to settle down. Make certain that they are safe from the weather, wildlife, grime, dust, and cupcake robbers!
9. Pipe the frosting using a piping tip
It is said that you “eat with your eyes first.” A cupcake layered with buttercream icing is a piece of beauty. I strongly suggest piping on your icing to create the ideal muffin. It will appear more polished, and honestly, I believe it is simpler to pump it on!
If you are a beginner cook, I recommend investing in a Wilton 1M tip. This pastry tool is extremely adaptable. With just one tool, you can make a variety of frosting patterns! I’ll be sharing a lesson on how to pipe five various patterns on a muffin with a Wilton 1M tip.
Disposable pastry containers are also required for putting frosting onto the cupcakes. Disposable piping bags will contain the pastry tip and enable you to create your frosting with ease.
Check out my Vanilla American Buttercream recipe for the ideal, simple buttercream icing for cupcakes!
10. Store in an airtight container
After frosting your cupcakes, store them in a secure receptacle. This keeps the muffins moist and prevents them from drying out. We’ve made it this far! We don’t want to mess up our perfectly baked cookies!
You may need to chill your cupcakes depending on the preparation.
Many of my muffin recipes will keep absolutely fresh if kept at room temperature for a few days. If you want to keep it for an extended period of time, you may need to chill it.
If you’re going to store your cupcakes in the fridge, make sure they’re in a sealed receptacle. Chilling the cupcakes without any covering will cause them to dry out and possibly acquire any residual freezer smells.
For the greatest outcomes, most recipes will tell you how to keep your cupcakes. My muffin recipes typically keep in the refrigerator for 5 days, but I’ve kept them for up to a week with excellent success.
For optimal results, remove your cupcakes from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving to allow them to come to room temperature.