Nothing sells better at my bakery than cupcakes. Whether its a chocolate cupcake topped with peanut buttercream and a snickers or the old and faithful vanilla-vanilla, cupcakes have been flying out the door since we opened in October last year. As someone who adores all things sweet (especially when they’re pretty), I want to share with you my tips on how to bake the perfect cupcake, as I’m a firm believer that a cupcake can solve anything!
1. Use room temperature ingredients
The first step is one of the most important if you’re looking to create a perfectly shaped cupcake. Get your ingredients out of the fridge around one hour before you plan to bake, or be naughty like me and speed up the process to bring butter to room temperature with a quick zap in the microwave.
2. Measure in grams instead of cups
A French pastry chef once told me the best piece of advice he could ever give me was to always measure in grams in order to achieve the same result every time. No truer words. While cupcakes are much more forgiving than the likes of macarons (where every gram counts), it helps to be in the habit of measuring!
3. Do not over mix the batter
A huge no-no in the realm of baking is to over-mix your batter. Over mixing will lead to ill-shaped cupcakes that do not rise properly. Make sure you mix according to recipe instructions, wipe down the bottom of the bowl with a spatula often, and never over-mix.
4. Use a scoop to divide batter
The best way (I have found) to quickly but carefully measure out your cupcake batter is to use an ice cream scoop. I’ve tried all sorts of whacky ways to evenly divide the batter, but none is more effective than the good ol’ fashioned ice cream scoop. Use a scoop with a lever for quicker portioning.
5. Tap on the bench before baking
Before you pop your cupcake trays in the oven, give them a light tap on the counter to ensure the batter is firmly in the baking cups and not wonky.
6. Rotate cupcakes whilst baking
After your cupcake are at least half way through the full baking time (imperative: do not open the oven before 50% of baking time is complete), rotate them in the oven to ensure even cooking.
7. Learn how to make the Perfect Buttercream
It took me a while to perfect the art of buttercream, something so easy but equally so easy to stuff up! You want a firm buttercream to ice your cupcakes, but not so firm that it doesn’t glide elegantly through the piping bag and on to your cupcake. Buttercream recipe to follow shortly!
8. Pipe with tips in varying styles
The best way to alternate your decorating style is to invest in a few different piping tips. This is an easy way to jazz up your cupcakes with little effort.
9. Be inventive with flavour combos
One of my favourite things about baking is to be inventive and surprise our customers! Flavours like salted caramel, snickers and nutella always sell out quickly… but the fun additions of new flavours are what makes every day new and exciting at Charlie’s!
10. Sprinkles make the world go ’round!
Last but not least, you absolutely must decorate your cupcakes for that added touch of perfection! Sprinkles, small decorations to show the flavour and toppings are a great way to make your cupcakes stand out!
All imagery from my bakery, Charlie’s Dessert House.