Saturday, May 24, 2008

10 Tips for Baking a Perfect Cupcake

1. Fill your cupcake wells 1/2 to 2/3 full.

Any more and you will get a gooey mess instead of a beautiful cupcake. If you use less than 1/2 a well of batter, then you will get wimpy cupcakes and will have to use extra frosting to make them look larger.

2. Choose the right cupcake pan.

Good cupcake pans are shiny and on the heavy side. They will cook 6 to 12 cupcakes at a time. Large muffin pans don't work well for baking precious little cupcakes. Make sure you have 2 pans available because then you won't have to cool a pan before you finish baking your cupcakes. Two 12 well cupcake pans should be enough for one batch of cupcakes.

3. Make it easy o remove the cupcakes from your pan.

Either use paper or foil wrappers or spray the individual wells with a nonstick spray. If you are using the new silicone pans, wrappers or nonstick spray work fine in these also.

4. Don't overmix your batter.

This will cause your cupcakes to be rather chewy instead of perfectly moist. Follow the directions in your cupcake recipe. If your recipe calls for a hand mixer and you are using a stand mixer, you will need to reduce you mixing time. Stand mixers mix batters faster than regular hand mixers. Consult your owners manual for mixing time adjustments.

5. Bring all ingredients to room temperature before mixing your cupcake batter.

The items will mix evenly, and the result will be a wonderful cupcake batter. By mixing cold items into your batter, you risk having a lumpy batter which might cause you to overmix your batter. GASP! What a No No!

6. Bake your cupcakes at the proper temperature.

Preheat your oven to the correct temperature BEFORE you put your cupcakes in the oven. An oven thermometer would also be a great idea to make sure your oven is set to the right temperature. If your oven cooks food faster at the rear of the oven, then make sure you rotate your cupcake pan halfway through the baking time.

7. Use your favorite cake batter to make cupcakes.

Batter for an 8 inch layer cake usually makes 20-24 cupcakes. Just make sure you have mixed the batter well, and only fill the cupcake liners 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake approximately 20 minutes, and check for doneness using a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes.

8. Test for doneness after the minimum cooking time.

If the cupcakes aren't finished cooking after the minimum time, then place them back in the oven for some additional cooking time. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

9. Cook only one pan of cupcakes at a time.

Place your cupcake pan in the very center of your oven. If your oven tends to cook items more that are towards the back, then rotate your cupcake pan halfway through the cooking time. If you absolutely have to bake 2 pans of cupcakes at one time, make sure you switch cupcake pans halfway through the cooking time. By this I mean put the bottom pan on the top and move the top pan to the bottom.

10. Cupcakes are best eaten the same day they are made.

Undecorated cupcakes can be frozen up to 3 months.

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