It’s National Cupcake Week! We are celebrating our love for the little sponge treats by posting a new recipe every day. If you haven’t checked them out yet click here
If the idea of whipping up a batch of cupcakes is a scary thought, then don’t worry! Cupcakes are one of the easiest things to bake and with enough practice you’ll be baking up delicious cupcakes in no time.
There are a few essential things you should know before you even start weighing out your ingredients, so we’ve put together a post full of Cupcake Tips for Beginners, plus a list of the tools and equipment we find invaluable when baking.
So without further a do… get those aprons and the ready – we’ll make a baker of you yet!
Cupcake Tips for Beginners
Might seem obvious, but make sure your work space is clear. A chaotic kitchen is not good to anyone. Wipe down surfaces, clean your hands, tie back long hair and put on an apron.
Get your ingredient and tools out ready.
Make sure you have all your equipment and ingredients on hand ready for weighing out. Opening cupboard doors searching for the flour will mean you have to wash your hands again. Your ingredients should all be at room temperature before mixing. Using cold ingredients will mean you may end up with lumps, which could mean you beat your batter for long – a major no no!
Don’t forget to pre-heat the oven!
For the best results cakes should always go into a pre-heated oven. It will help to ensure a level rise.
Use the best ingredients you can afford.
The more you bake the more confident you’ll become in the ingredients you use. I favour certain brands over others because I know they taste better. One thing that I consider very important is to buy Vanilla Extract over Vanilla Essence. The extract has a much purer taste where as the essence can taste quite synthetic. You will find the Vanilla Extract in most supermarkets and whilst it is a little more expensive than the essence, it’s definitely worth the extra money.
Don’t over mix your batter.
Over beating your cake mix can have a number of consequences. It may mean your cakes fall away from their cases after baking but most worrying it could mean your cupcakes won’t rise. Your cupcakes could be quite dense and not light and fluffy. Be wary when using a stand mixers as they beat faster than you could using a hand whisk.
Aim to fill your cupcake case to around 1/2 to 2/3 full. Any more and the mixture will spill out leaving a mess, any less and your cupcake could end up pretty wimpy looking!
Always use a timer
Follow the recipe for baking times, but always use your judgement. Baking times can vary on the oven used, how hot is was when you placed your cakes inside and how much batter was used. Small cupcakes usually take around 8-10 minutes where as larger cakes can take up to 14 minutes. You will know your cupcakes are done by sticking a knife of cocktail stick in to the centre. If it comes out clean then your cakes are done.
Enjoy when fresh
Cupcakes are better eaten on the day you make them, but they will keep for up to 3 days. You can freeze undecorated cupcakes for up to 3 months.
Perfect your icing swirl, fill your cupcakes with different flavours and spend the time cutting out sugar shapes. Making your cupcakes pretty is half the fun! If you are using fondant paste to cut out sugar shapes, make sure you do it at least 24 hours before you intend to use them. They will harden and there will be less chance of them wilting when you place them on top of your buttercream. Read our great tutorial on how to use sugarcraft cutters.
You will definitely need a good set of scales. Guessing the weight of your ingredients will never end well…! Make sure you invest in a good cupcake pan. We like this one from Master Class. The cups are deep so it makes larger cupcakes – we like our cupcakes big! Don’t forget the timer! Leaving your cupcakes in the oven even just for a minute longer could mean they go from being light, moist and fluffy to oven done, dense and… burnt!