Tips for Baking Cupcakes

With these easy tips for baking cupcakes, anyone can learn how to make cupcakes successfully each and every time.

Whether starting with a cake mix or making cupcakes from scratch, these helpful hints apply to all cupcakes.

As a general rule, most cake recipes or mixes can be used to make cupcakes. Simply adjust the baking to less time for the smaller cakes. Using a standard muffin pan with the oven set at 350 degrees, cupcakes generally take 18 to 20 minutes to bake.

Proper measuring of ingredients is essential to baking cupcakes, especially when you're making them from scratch recipes. Spoon the dry ingredients into appropriately sized measuring cups, overfilling the top. Without tapping the measuring cup or shaking the contents down, level the ingredients to just the top of the measuring cup using a knife or a spatula. To measure wet ingredients, use a glass measuring cup and pour the liquid to the exact level needed.

Paper or foil cupcake liners provide a pretty “package” and allow you to bake without greasing or spraying the pan. They also help keep cupcakes from drying out. Place the cups evenly in the muffin pan and check that the cups are level before filling. When using foil cups, remove the paper liners, if included, before filling and baking. Liners are included to help separate the thin foil cups.

If not using liners, generously grease or use cooking spray and flour each cup of the muffin pan. Even non-stick pans need to be greased and floured before baking to ensure that the cupcakes come out of the pan easily and don’t stick.

If you are using silicone cups, spray the cups with cooking spray before filling with batter. Place the silicone cups on a cookie sheet or sheet pan for easy transfer to and from the oven and even baking. You may need to adjust the baking time for some shapes.

When baking cupcakes in a pan that has a dark or non-stick surface, you should lower the recommended recipe temperature by 25 degrees to avoid cupcakes getting too brown. Dark pans give cupcakes a darker finish when baked.

To put the batter into liners, muffin pans or silicone cups, use an ice cream scoop, a large spoon or a measuring cup and fill 1/2 to 2/3 full with batter. If you want a rounded cupcake, fill 2/3 full.

Check the cupcakes for doneness at the minimum baking time given in the recipe. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached, your cupcakes are done.

Remove the cupcakes from the pans immediately after baking and let them cool completely on wire racks before frosting. To remove the cupcakes from the silicone cups, invert the cup and gently apply pressure to the bottom while carefully peeling the silicone cup away.

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