8 tips for making foolproof cupcakes

Red Velvet Cup Cakes

Because I’ve made a LOT of cupcakes.
And eaten a LOT of cupcakes.
And made a lot of mistakes making cupcakes.
So I’m passing my lessons on to you so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did! Over and over again.
This isn’t a post for experts. It’s for enthusiastic home bakers like me, who can never wait for the Great British Bake Off to start.
My 10-year-old and I will be curled up on the sofa enjoying it together!
So, how to make foolproof cupcakes  . . .

1. Don’t buy cheap cupcake cases.
Sure they seem a bargain and they look pretty but they’re just not up to the job.
The last batch I made with these looked awful – the grease had penetrated through the case so you could hardly see that there were in fact pirates on them and the case had move away from the side of the cakes making them look really untidy.
I still ate them, but, well you wouldn’t want to give them away.

2. Use quality ingredients
Seems obvious, but don’t think you can scrimp on the ‘cake’ and put all your efforts into the topping.
A good quality base is vital if you don’t want anyone who reaches for one of your creations to just lick the icing off and leave the rest in the bottom of its case.

3. When it comes to icing, less is more
Sure it looks really spectacular, that monolithic display of icing and toppings and various things it’s had thrown at it.
But when there is more icing than actual cake you’re going to have your guests gagging at the sugar overload.

4. Butter vs Margarine
A good-quality butter will make your cakes taste wonderfully buttery. But Stork or something similar will give your cakes a lovely light texture.
To compensate, you can replaced a spoonful of the flour with a spoonful of cornflour to make your cakes lighter.

5. Don’t overmix the cake mix
Sure use your whisk to gently beat in the eggs, the butter, the sugar. But when you add your flour you want to ensure you keep all that air in the mixture. So fold in with a spoon until the flour is just incorporated.


6. Don’t overcook
Once the tops are going brown they’re going to be dried out and lose that lovely moist texture that has people “mmmmmmmm”ing as they take a bite. Golden is the colour you’re aiming for.

7. Do as you’re told
If you’re following a recipe, FOLLOW IT. Don’t cut corners or think ‘that won’t matter’. There is a reason it’s in the recipe so don’t skip it or fail to measure it. If it calls for room temperature butter, skipping that step could mean the difference between sunken cakes and perfect ones.

8. Make a mess
How is anyone going to know you’ve slaved in the kitchen over your cupcakes unless there’s flour everywhere and a smear of buttercream icing on your left cheek?

cupcake up close

Do you have any tips you would add?

NOTE: If you’re looking for cupcake cases here are a couple I have found to be really good:
Lakeland Muffin Cases – £2.99 for 250
Sainsbury Silver Foil Cupcake Cases – £1.50 for 45

Here are a few cupcake recipes for you to try too:
Hummingbird Bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes – look amazing, not as hard as you’d think to make.
Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate Chip Muffins – there’s a cheeky little surprise in the centre of each one!
Coconut and Pineapple Cupcakes – totally tropical taste!
Peachy Cupcakes – you can even catch a video of me making them!

Hummingbird Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes – they’re famous and there’s a reason why; they taste amazing.
The Best Chocolate Cupcakes ever – tall claim, try them and find out why

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8 Responses to 8 tips for making foolproof cupcakes

  1. bubbablue says:

    The overcook thing is the hardest. I've got a fan oven, and if the recipe doesn't state, it's hard to decide whether to lower the temp and/or reduce the time. Then the light's bust in our oven, and I don't want to open it to lose the rise. Hard decisions.
    My recent post Building dens and diggers

  2. I agree with all those tips – my extra ones would be use an ice cream scoop to fill the cupcake cases with the mixture & not to bother sifting flour. I’m sure there’s millions of others I’ll think of later. Hx

  3. Becky says:

    Superb tips! I would say don't overfill the cases!
    My recent post 10. Remember What You Did Right

  4. Katie says:

    Love the last tip. I always leave my apron on for a good couple of hours to maximise on brownie points for cooking!
    My recent post Alphabet Nursery Print – Baby ABC – Modern Children's Educational Art Poster Available in A4, A3, 8 x 11 & 11 x 14 by AlphaBino

  5. Michelle says:

    Lovely post, I too cant wait for TGBBO to start again! One thing I always forget to do is preheat the oven, the few times that I've remembered to do it, the cakes came out lovely.

  6. Pauline Mitchell says:

    Yes, I agree with the comment about 'cheap' cake cases. I have searched for, and bought, a variety from different sources, but they always 'part company' from the cupcakes. So, please, where do you recommend that the cupcake
    cases are purchased from. I don't mind ordering on line and paying postage. I love the tips, I have loved the Great British Bake Off with the scintillating Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.

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