When learning how to make cupcakes that look every bit as good as they taste, the first and most important step is the baking process. While absolute perfection isn't necessary, the tips and instructions given below will help you to get as close as possible. They'll help you ensure that your decorated cupcakes taste as they should, that they are the right size, and more.
Always take the time to preheat your oven and ensure that you set it at the precise temperature called for in the recipe. Allow about 10 to 15 minutes to make certain your oven has reached the proper temperature before inserting your muffin tins.
Not all cupcake liners are the same quality. As Grandma used to say, you
get what you pay for. The cheapest paper liners get stuck on the baked
cupcakes, making them difficult to peel off without taking little pieces
of the cupcake with them. Nobody likes that.
Thin paper liners also appear greasy after baking which can detract from your cupcake's appearance. So, if you plan to serve your cupcakes in their liners, choose a liner that's suitable.
Consider paying a little extra for better quality.
Finally, make sure you use the right size liners for your tin. Most "standard"
(2-1/2 inch) cupcake tins can hold "standard" liners, up to the larger
size liners. However, if you try to use a liner that's too large for
your pan, it will distort the shape of your cupcake.
If you want "extra large" or "jumbo" cupcakes, you will need a "jumbo" (3-1/2 inch) cupcake tin with its larger openings for 6 cupcakes, and "jumbo" size liners that fit these larger pans perfectly.
If the cupcakes are for a special occasion and you need them to be perfect, either make a practice batch first or use a cupcake recipe you are familiar with. When it's a recipe you've used before you can always be sure of the results. Learning how to make cupcakes that are perfect every time does require practice.
Read the cupcake recipe in full before starting and always pre-measure your ingredients and gather the bowls and pans you'll need. A few minutes spent in preparation will help ensure you don't make any mistakes.
Fill your cupcake liners 2/3 to 3/4 full. Do NOT over fill, or your cupcakes will overflow their liners while baking resulting in a real mess. A glass measuring cup with a pouring spout works well to measure out thin batter.
Some cooks prefer an ice cream scoop for adding the correct amount of batter to each cupcake liner. Use a medium scoop that measures about 3 tablespoons when filling standard liners. For jumbo cupcake liners, one heaping ice cream scoop should be enough.
As soon as your cupcakes go in the oven, set your timer. Always set it to the recipe's "minimum" recommended baking time and even then, watch them carefully, and test for doneness. This is perhaps the most important tip when learning how to make cupcakes. Here's how to tell whether your cupcakes are ready:
When your cupcakes test ready, remove the tin from the oven and allow your cupcakes to sit for a moment until cool enough to handle. Don't leave your hot cupcakes sitting in their tin for long, though, as moisture buildup can cause the liners to pull away from the cupcakes.
Gently remove the individual cupcakes from the tin and place them on a cooling rack for about 30 minutes.
Cupcakes should be completely cool before you ice them or your icing will melt and not hold its shape. Once they've cooled, decorate them as you wish, or store them for decorating later.
If you plan on decorating your cooled cupcakes later, cover them loosely with wax paper, so their tops remain dry. They will become sticky and harder to decorate if you cover them tightly or place them in a sealed container.
Learning how to make cupcakes is easy when you follow your recipe and complete the needed steps.