I made some yummy halloween cupcakes for my daughter’s kindergarten class, and I think they came out really cute, and yummy! I am really working on perfecting one thing at a time with my baking skills. I am happy to say that I perfected the sugar cookie recipe, and now my next is having a variety of perfect icings. I have been working on a simple buttercream, and decided to give it another try, but without experimenting, for the kids sake. As for the cake….boxed chocolate cake mix! I will work on making cook cake after icing…icing is just always more interesting, and more yummy.
So I wanted to write some things down for anyone who has questions…I get alot of questions about baking, and I am by no means an expert, but I do bake ALOT. I have been through all sorts of problems, and have had to change things up as I have been going along. So if any of these tips help someone else, then I will be happy!
Most of my customers are mother’s or baking fans that don’t have alot of experience, so here are some basic things to think about before you start baking those special cupcakes…
I have finally discovered that just reading a recipe is not going to make your baked goods come out perfect. You have to change things as you go, and learn. Start with 1 recipe and try it several times until you know what to change to make it perfect.
Most recipes ask for items such as butter, or creamcheese to be at room temp.. you really should plan ahead and let these items get to room temp on thier own. I use to microwave the butter to get it soft, but often half of it would be fully mealted, which changed the consistancy.Mix your ingredients well, as indicated by the recipe. I am not sure what recipe I use to use back in the day that made me afraid of “over mixing”. Once I finally got over that, it changed the outcome of my cupcakes dramatically.
The actual color of your baking pan makes the times and temps vary! (I had no idea until i baked 2 dozen cupcakes in different color pans, one pan came out ok, the other were burnt to a crisp ;(Have 2 pans, the same color, ready to bake in. I find it easier to put 1 pan in the oven and bake, while I can line and fill the 2nd pan. Once the first pan is done, I wait 2 minutes before I take the cupcakes out of the pan to cool on the counter, and line and bake again.This gives the pan time to cool down, so you are less likely to burn yourself, and it doesn’t mess up your cooking time since the batter isn’t getting heated up while you finish filling the liners. It also keeps you in the kitchen
BAKING TIMES/ TEMPS
There are many different variables to keep in mind. I have burnt many a cupcake just because my oven is actually 5 Degrees hotter then most. So now I automatically turn my oven down every time I bake anything.
The thickness of the cupcake liners may also change the times of baking.
I use a mini ice cream scooper (2 scoops per liner) to fill the cupcake liners with batter. It creates the perfect amount of cupcakes everytime!
Wipe the cupcake pan with a wet paper towel of any spilled batter BEFORE putting in the oven. It is so much harder toclean the pan after it has been baked and stuck to the pan.
Not sure how long to bake? I start at 10 minutes and then check every min. after… Check with a butter knife, if nothing sticks to the knife, it’s done! If there is gooey batter on it, keep it in longer.
DON’T FORGET. I have to confess I have forgotten several times that I had stuff in the oven. And beeping from the timer, has not helped this. I am a major multi-tasker, so I will go in the basement and start laundry or go outside and water flowers, all the time the oven is beeping, and I can’t hear it! So for your cupcakes sake, stay in the kitchen!
You can always do dishes, or start on the frosting…etc.
Waiting to the last minute is the best thing to do. I have been making my frosting the night before, so I can bake the cupcakes the same day, and just spread the icing on easily, without creating everything all at once, which gets al little frustrating. Especially while trying to handle 2 little kids at the same time.
Always get extras, or a back up plan.
I have started to keep a stock of store bought cake mix, and tubs of icings, in case the unfortunte event of ruined cupcakes should happen. The halloween cupcakes I just made… My dog ate half of them because he was just tall enough to stand up and steal them from the kitchen counter when I wasn’t looking! Luckily I had an extra box of cake mix in the cupboard!
So, just plan ahead, and have a back up plan.
Here are my recomendations for storing baked cupcakes, only from my experience, I am not an expert
Fridge- 1- 2 days at most. If storing in the fridge, you can put the decorations on first. Although, if there is any condensation then sanding sugars should not be put on until your ready to display, or eat. The color from the sugars will sorta stain the frosting, and look yucky. If you keep them longer then 2 days, they will be hard as a rock because the moisture from them will be gone, they will taste gross, and the liners will start seperating from the cupcake.
Counter- overnight I have left unfrosted /undecorated cupcakes on the counter overnight, and the next day they were great. You should not frost them until your ready to eat/display. If you store them in an airtight container, they will keep longer, and stay very moist. It astually looks like it gets more moist if you store them that way.)
Keep in mind, from my experience, if there are alot of eggs in the recipe, cupcake liners may start to seperate. It only happened to me once, with mini cupcakes, and I used very high quality greaseproof liners.
Frozen? I have read that you can freeze undecorated cupcakes in the freezer…I have not tried it, but really want to! I have a line of cupcake liners that claim, they can be frozen, without any side affects.. What I read said to just defrost by leaving them on the counter to get them to room temp. then eat!?
Recipe vs. Actual
I wanted to give you a comparison of the recipe versus my actual. Ihave had people complain to me that thier cupcakes burned, and it’s my fault.. Sorry guys, it’s not my fault!
RECIPE TEMP 350 Degrees
ACTUAL 345 Degrees
RECIPE BAKING TIME 20- 25 minutes
ACTUAL BAKING TIME 12 minutes (what a huge difference in time,if I left them in that long they would be black!)
**Owl cupcake topper from Fantastic toys.. www.fantastictoys.etsy.com