There’s nothing quite like biting into a delicious cupcake that’s baked to perfection. When all of the flavors come together, and the texture is just right, cupcakes are downright heavenly! Whipping up a batch of delightful cupcakes is really quite simple if you follow these quick and easy baking tips.
Here are my ten ultimate tips for baking cupcakes:
- Bake cupcakes at no higher than 375° F (190° C).
- Wait to frost cupcakes until they have completely cooled.
- Fill cupcake molds evenly and only ⅔ of the way full.
- Use a toothpick to check for readiness.
- Fill any unoccupied spaces in the pan with water.
- Use a corer to fill your cupcakes easily.
- Start with a boxed cake mix and add your own flair.
- Add easy decorations.
- Transport and store cupcakes in a cupcake carrier.
- Use a mini cupcake pan.
Read on for a more detailed explanation of each one of these tips. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself baking perfect batches of cupcakes that are bound to impress your guests!
1.Bake Cupcakes at No Higher Than 375° F (190° C)
When baking cupcakes, it’s essential not to cook them at too high of a temperature. Cupcakes are meant to be baked at a lower heat for a more extended period of time. Typically, you will not see a cupcake recipe that calls for a temperature higher than 350°F (190°C).
If you bake at a temperature higher than 375°F (190°C), your cakes will bake much quicker on the outside than they do on the inside. As a result, the outer layer will be fully baked before the inside has had a chance to rise fully. As the inside of the cake expands and rises, the top will begin to crack.
Cupcakes that have cracked tops and sides are much more difficult to frost, as they tend to crumble easily, and the stability of the cupcake is compromised. Avoid this issue easily by sticking to a lower temperature.
Top or Bottom Heat for Baking Cupcakes
Most ovens’ standard function keeps the bottom heating element on. When baking your cakes, if you place them on the middle rack, the heat will rise and create the perfect environment for baking evenly. Usually, using the bottom heat element and the center rack will provide you with the cupcake texture you are looking for.
When the top element is turned on, the heat is much closer to the top of the baked goods and will affect the texture and cooking speed. If you desire a more crisp cupcake top, you may wish to turn on the top element and experiment based on your personal preferences.
2. Wait To Frost Cupcakes Until They Have Completely Cooled
Frosting cupcakes may just be the best part of baking these tasty treats- but it can go horribly wrong if you are too eager to start the frosting process.
By waiting until the cakes are completely cooled, you will avoid these common issues:
- Melted Frosting: If your cupcake is still warm when you begin frosting, there’s a good chance that your frosting will start melting and become extremely soft. Depending on the texture, it could end up dripping off the sides of the cake or even soaking into the cupcake itself.
- Crumbly cake: When the cake is warm, it is much more susceptible to crumbling. As you spread the frosting, you may begin to see bits of cake mix into the frosting, taking away from the lovely design you had planned. In some cases, the cake may even crack or fall completely apart.
- Sunken Cake: Frosting a cupcake while it is still warm and soft can cause the middle to sink. It’s essential to allow the cake to fully cool to protect its structural integrity
When To Frost Cupcakes After Baking
It typically takes a good hour or two after the cupcakes come out of the oven for them to be thoroughly cooled. After removing the cupcakes from the oven, leave them in the pan to cool for 5-10 minutes. Then, you can transfer each cupcake to a cooling rack.
After the cupcakes have been cooling for 1-2 hours, touch the bottom and ensure you do not feel any heat. I like to bake my cupcakes the night before I frost them so that they have a whole night to cool and I can frost them right away the next day.
In a rush? Allow the cakes to cool on the counter for at least 30 minutes, then place them in the refrigerator to speed the cooling process along. They should be ready to be frosted in about an hour!
3. Fill Cupcake Molds Evenly and Only ⅔ of the Way Full
Overfilling is an extremely common mistake in the world of cupcake baking. When you overfill your cupcake pan, the cakes will rise far beyond their intended height and can even spread out, combining with each other and creating quite the mess.
How To Make Cupcakes Rise Perfectly
To make your cupcakes rise perfectly every time, only fill your pans ⅔ of the way full. Leaving ⅓ of open space in each cupcake mold will leave the proper amount of room for the cupcake to rise.
Additionally, it is very important to make sure your cupcakes are filled evenly. The goal is for all of your cakes to be nearly identical. By using a cookie scoop, you can ensure that you have the exact same size cupcake every time.
I especially like this Cookie Scoop Set from Amazon.com because it comes in three different sizes that can be used for various sizes of cupcakes. You can also use these scoops for scooping cookie dough or even ice cream!
4. Use a Toothpick To Check for Readiness
Achieving the perfect texture is essential when it comes to baking a good cupcake. Too high of a baking time will result in a chewy, dry dessert. Too little bake time and your cupcake will be gooey and undercooked in the center.
Most cupcake recipes will call for a bake time range to account for varying oven types. I suggest airing on the side of caution and starting with the shortest suggested bake time. For example, if your recipe says to bake at 350°F (177°C) for 22-28 minutes, start with 22 minutes and check for readiness.
Using a toothpick, insert it into the center of the cupcake and pull it straight out. If the toothpick comes out clean, your cupcakes are fully cooked. If there is any batter on the toothpick when you pull it out, the cupcakes are underdone. You can place them back into the oven and add a couple of minutes at a time until they are fully baked.
5. Fill Any Unoccupied Spaces in the Pan With Water
If you find yourself without enough cupcake batter to fill all molds in the pan, don’t leave those spaces empty. Empty spaces can cause uneven baking and can even warp your pan during the baking process!
An easy remedy for both problems is adding water to each empty space. You should add water until each slot is about halfway filled. Aside from protecting your pan, the added water can improve the texture of your cakes because of the additional moisture in the oven!
6. Use a Corer To Fill Your Cupcakes Easily
Add a delicious surprise to your cupcakes and fill the center with some tasty filling! Filled cupcakes may seem like an advanced baking trick, but you’d be surprised to learn just how easy this technique is to achieve!
This Norpro Cupcake Corer on Amazon.com offers two different sizes, making coring your cupcakes a breeze! Simply insert the corer in the top center of your cake and twist. When you remove it, you will be left with a perfect hole in the center of your cake.
Once you have cored your cupcake, you can fill the hole with chocolate ganache, frosting, preserves, or whatever filling you can dream up! When you decorate the top of your cake, the frosting will cover the core, hiding your surprise treat inside!
7. Start With a Boxed Cake Mix and Add Your Own Flair
Using boxed cake mix is one of the easiest ways to whip up a batch of yummy cupcakes quickly- but who says you can’t make it your own? Add your own flair and change up the recipe a bit.
- A can of soda
- Extra eggs
- Chocolate Chips
You can even try replacing some ingredients like using milk and butter instead of water and oil. The possibilities are endless!
Self-proclaimed Cake Doctor Anne Byrn has several recipe books full of ideas for boxed cake mix goodness. You can purchase her cookbook, The Cake Mix Doctor, on Amazon to find over 150 ways you can doctor up your boring old box mix. Use these recipes as inspiration, and then branch out on your own!
8. Add Easy Decorations
Decorating cupcakes doesn’t have to be intimidating or complicated! Take the opportunity to be creative and add some personalization to your dessert. Usually, when you bake cupcakes, they are intended for a specific celebration or gathering event. If your event has a theme, go with that!
Here are some of the easiest ways to dress up your cupcakes:
- Cupcake Toppers: There are tons of printable cupcake toppers available to purchase online, or you can make your own! Keep it simple and cut them out, tape each one to a toothpick, and place one in the center of each frosted cupcake.
- Sprinkles: Keep it simple and drop a few sprinkles on top, or take it a step further and dip the cupcake directly into a bowl of sprinkles, coating the frosting entirely in a colorful layer.
- Edible Glitter: Add some sparkle to your cakes and throw some edible glitter on top!
Decorations are the perfect way to elevate your cakes and really impress your guests. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try something new.
9. Transport and Store Cupcakes in a Cupcake Carrier
After dedicating your time and hard work to baking the perfect cupcakes, you want to be sure you protect them! If you are bringing them to an event, using your typical dinner plate or platter is a recipe for disaster. The bumpy car ride can have your cakes tipping and toppling on every speed bump!
Keep it easy and get yourself a cupcake carrier. I recommend picking up this Wilton Cupcake Box Folding Tray on Amazon.com because it is disposable, easy to fold, and comes complete with convenient carrying handles. It also comes with inserts for both full-size and mini cupcakes! This one, in particular, can hold up to 24 cupcakes, but you can find carriers in various sizes, depending on your needs.
Cupcake carriers are created to house each cupcake individually so that going over bumps in the car and slight tips of the box will never result in a cupcake catastrophe. If you plan to bake cupcakes often, it is a great idea to get a reusable cupcake carrier that you can use for transporting to events as well as storing in your refrigerator.
10. Use a Mini Cupcake Pan
Cupcakes are often baked in one standard size, but mini cupcakes are becoming increasingly popular as a fun, bite-sized option! Especially when multiple flavors of cake are available, mini cupcakes are great because they allow all of your guests to try more than one flavor.
Mini cupcakes take less time to bake than their full-sized counterparts, so if you are in a time pinch, these tiny treats are the perfect solution! Not only do they cook quickly, but they also cool quicker too! You can easily bake, frost, and decorate mini cupcakes in one afternoon.
Keep in mind all of the tips mentioned above regardless of your cupcakes’ size- and I guarantee they’ll all come out baked and frosted to absolute perfection!