How to Start to Make Cupcakes - learn the main rules.
The prime rule: Gently does it. Cupcakes are tender souls. Read the recipe: Read every recipe you will use carefully before cooking. Follow directions: every recipe is the result of trial and error.
Mise en place: This French term is a general rule for all cooking, not just for baking cupcakes. Get your ingredients out and organized. Prepare whatever pans you are using; check that your equipment is also in place.
How to Get Air into Cupcakes:
If there is any cupcake you don't want to eat, it is a leaden one. Air, air, air: if you want to know how to make a cupcake light, you must incorporate air. A recipe will merely state to cream ingredients, or to mix ingredients, but the secret hot to make is how to incorporate air. Don't mash your ingredients, lift them as you work. A whisk is designed to incorporate air and using a whisk will help.
How To Mix the Batter for Cupcakes:
Whether cake or or cupcake, one must mix gently, remembering that it is air you want to mix in as well as the ingredients. Vigor and strength are anathema to the cupcake - cupcakes want purring, and gentle licks, not wild howling. And when you've mixed everything most of the way, change to a spatula. Lift that batter, and aerate as you lift. You will also get the sides better mixed with a spatula. Don't treat your cupcake any way but tenderly. A mix master is wonderful at aerating and mixing, but the wrist is a wonderful tool when one is happy to use it to lift a tool.
How to Prepare the Cupcake Pan:
Give a nice swipe of butter to the top of the pan. Should that cupcake rise to the heavens, you don't want it to stick to the top of the pan. A cupcake should be allowed to puff itself up - after all it is the most popular of sweets, a fine reason to puff up.
How To Cook the Cupcake:
When measuring ingredients, be exact. Dry ingredients are best measured in individual sized measuring cups so you can even the top with a knife. Wet ingredients are best measured in glass measures where you can see that the ingredient has hit the exact level.
Fill the pan openings 1/2 to 2/3 full. To get uniformity, try using an ice cream scoop. No oven is perfectly even: they all have hot spots. Midway through your cooking, change the pan positions: if you are using two racks, change the racks. Rotate the pans so what is facing the outside now faces the back of the oven. The cupcakes will thank you. And never rely on testing the cupcakes by pressing on the top of the gentle cupcake. It will begin to shrink away from the side of the pan, and then you will insert the traditional tester into the center to see if it comes out clean. Don't maul those cupcakes by pushing on them.
How To Cool the Cupcake:
Always cool on a cooling rack. Air will circulate underneath which will let the pan cool more evenly.
Using parchment paper. You can cook your cupcakes in parchment paper, rather than in cupcake liners. Cut a large circle and push the parchment into the pan with the bottom of a glass. Parchment paper is meant to replace butter and flour. The edges that overlap the pan may burn a little, but it is an attractive, rustic quality to give a cupcake.
How To Apply Frosting:
Now, now, we humans are all in a hurry, but cupcakes are not and you will not discover the secrets of how to make if you hurry. Now that you've successfully learned how to make cupcakes, you want to frost if for the finish.They ask you to let them cool completely before you think about frosting. If the cupcakes are still warm, the icing will melt, drip, ooze and make an unattractive cupcake. Give a gentle rub to the cupcake to remove crumbs before you add that sweet and lovely frosting or you will have a lumpy, crumby frosting. Not fair to the cupcake which aims to please. So add a thin layer of frosting to your cupcake. This is called a crumb coat and will prepare the cupcake for he thicker frosting. Should you have a problem, a sprinkling of coconut, possibly a few walnut bits will disguise uneven frosting.
You can pick up the cupcakes by their bottoms, turn them upside down and give them a roll into prepared bowls of any loose ingredient, such as shredded coconut, finely chopped nuts, or sprinkles. Bits of candy are better placed by hand.
Do allow the kids to help. A small spatula is perfect. While the frosting may not look like a professional was at work, your kids are learning how to make a cup0cake, but they are also letting their artistic urges loose.
Wrap in plastic wrap for freshness. Store unfrosted cupcakes in the freezer for about 2 months. Freeze small batches of icing to be used with the cupcakes.