Just after Christmas, I posted my guide How To: Meringue and it has been quite popular. I had hoped to post these how-to guides quite regularly but I just never got around to it. I’m sorry it has taken me three months to post the next in the series I promise I will try better to post these more regularly.
Cupcakes are the most popular recipe on my blog and they are my absolute favourite! My most popular recipe is my Pink Gin Cupcakes followed by Salted Caramel Cupcakes in second place. Cupcakes are super easy to make and depending on the flavours can be made in a couple of hours. Below I have left some of my top tips for making sure that your cupcakes succeed.
Hints and Tips
Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature.
You should always make sure your ingredients are at room temperature. I leave my ingredients such as eggs and butter out on the worktop the night before I bake, that way they are always the right temperature.
The reason for leaving them at room temperature is because when at room temperature, eggs, butter and other dairy ingredients form an emulsion which traps air. When your cakes bake in the oven the trapped air expands and produces fluffy baked cupcakes, hence the importance of room temperature ingredients.
Follow the recipe
Well duh, I hear you say! To some, this may be so obvious but you would be surprised how many people don’t follow the recipe and then wonder why it never worked. If a recipe says to use unsalted butter, then use unsalted butter there is probably a reason why that type of butter has been used. For example, I use unsalted butter in buttercream because Stork makes the buttercream too soft. Also, if a recipe says use self-raising flour then that is the type of flour you need to use. Plain flour won’t rise in the oven and your cupcakes will just end up like flat little pancakes.
Bounce Back Test
If you aren’t sure whether they are baked or not use the bounce back test. Press the top of the cupcake gently and if it bounces back then they are ready if they don’t they’re not. You could also insert a skewer into the middle of the cupcake and if comes out clean then they are ready. Another test I use sometimes is a listen to the cupcakes (okay, I know this sounds weird) but if you can hear them then they aren’t ready. If there is no sound coming from the cupcakes then they are ready.
Let them cool completely
I have been guilty of this. I am so impatient I just want to decorate them and make them all pretty and when I did do this and they were still a little hot the buttercream all melted and there was a big mess. Wait until the cupcakes have completely cooled before you start decorating them.
Use an ice cream scoop
This is another strange one but hear me out. To make sure you have equal amounts in all your cupcake cases I use an ice cream scoop. The one I use you can find here. It just makes all the cupcakes even and therefore they all bake at the same time. If you do it by eye then you might end up with some bigger than others, and the smaller ones might be baked and the bigger ones might not.
This is so important. Don’t open the oven to check and see if the cupcakes are baking properly because as soon as the cool air hits them they are only going to sink. You can open them at the end of the bake just to see if they are ready but I wouldn’t open the oven door before then. I tend to give my cupcakes 15 minutes and then open the oven, if they need a bit longer then I put them in for two minutes and then check them again until they are done.
Some Cupcake Products I Use
I’m not saying these are going to make your cupcakes perfect but these are some of the items I use that help me get my cupcakes perfect each time.
I use these in every cupcake recipe I post. They are such a perfect size for cupcakes, they are slightly bigger than normal cupcake cases so you might find you have some extra mixture but who doesn’t love extra cupcakes? Also, they open into little flat trays so you never miss a crumb. The final thing I LOVE about these is that they are flat bottomed so you can just put them straight onto a flat baking tray rather than using a muffin tray.
I only recently started using spatulas in the kitchen and I have no idea why because they are brilliant. They help get all the mixture from around the edges of the bowl compared with using a spoon.
Baking can be very expensive depending on where you shop. I always buy non-branded supermarket products for the base of my cupcakes. In my opinion, flour is flour as long as you don’t mix two different brands of flour then it shouldn’t matter whether your ingredients are branded or not.
I LOVE my Kitchen Aid! Okay, I know they are pretty pricey and not everyone can afford one but honestly stand mixers are the way forward. You can put the ingredients into the bowl and let the mixer do all the work while you weigh out the next ingredients.
If you have any questions about either cupcakes or any other on my blog please get in touch either on social media, email or the contact page on my blog. I love to hear what you think or to help if you are struggling with any part of the baking. You can also tag #sarahscakeblog on social media of pictures of your bakes. I would love to see your take on any of the recipes you have found here.
If there are any recipes you would like to see on my blog let me know too, or look out for another poll/QA and let me know what you would like to see whether it be simple or extravagant, cookies, macaroons, or cake. I am constantly thinking of new ideas to try out sometimes it is easy to forget about the simple recipes, so hopefully you will be seeing more of them in 2019 too.
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