Making cupcakes is easy. Bake the cupcake mixture and then decorate. You will end up with a tasty cupcake but it will never look as good as a professional version. How do they do it? We reveal all the secrets to making the perfect cupcake.
110g / 4oz Caster sugar (superfine)
110g / 4oz self raising flour
2 medium eggs
2 tablespoons milk (semi-skimmed or full fat)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extractPREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
Small cake / muffin cake tins. It's not necessary to use these cake tins but they do support the paper cases very well, producing nicely shaped cupcakes. See the paragraph below for more details
Most recipes for
cupcakes say to add the mixture to cupcake containers and then bake for
15 to 20 minutes. But there are a whole variety of cake / muffin
containers and they give significantly different results. To avoid
cluttering up this recipe, the various pros and cons of the different
containers are discussed here
If you are using butter, as we recommend, then it will need to be at room temperature before mixing. So before you do anything else, get the butter out of the fridge, chop it up into slices on a plate and leave in a warmish room for 15 to 20 minutes.
The reason for the butter being at room temperature is that it is then easier to mix with the other ingredients. Using refrigerated butter will make the mixing very hard work.
All of the amounts in these cupcake recipes are critical.
Preheat the oven to Fan 160°C / 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4.
Use a fork to mash up the butter until it softens a bit more. This will take two or three minutes.
Add the sugar to the butter and mix it in well until both ingredients are combined. It takes a couple of minutes.
Mix sugar and butter
Break the eggs into a bowl and mix them lightly with a fork until the whites and yolks are combined.
Pour about a third of the whisked eggs into the butter and sugar mixture and mix well. Add the next third of the eggs, mix well and then do the same for the remaining third of the eggs. Finish off mixing with a wooden spoon to remove all the larger lumps.
Add eggs to the mixture
Now add the milk and vanilla essence to the mixture and mix well for 30 seconds or so. Don't worry about the smallish lumps in the mixture.
Fold in the flour to the mixture and gently mix it in until all the ingredients are combined well.
Add remaining ingredients
Spoon the mixture into the cup cake containers, filling each to about two thirds full. Use a teaspoon for this and drop the mixture into the centre of the cup to avoid leaving bits around the edge. Leave the cupcakes for about five minutes to allow the mixture to settle evenly.
If using a flat baking tray, ensure the cakes are kept well apart. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Note: if you are cooking tiny sweet cup cakes, the cooking time is about 12 to 14 minutes.
Containers filled with cup cake mixture
Cooking time varies on the size of the cupcake. The smaller the cupcake the shorter the cooking time. They are ready when the top is a light golden brown. Their tops will spring back when lightly pressed.
Another way to test if they are cooked is to insert a narrow metal spike into the middle. If it comes out "clean", the cakes are done.
Take the cupcakes from the oven and leave to cool for 20 minutes (preferably on a wire rack) before decorating.
Click on either of the cupcake toppings below to see how to make them:
Click any picture below to create that particular cupcake:
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