My top baking tips

10 May 2012

Why are my cupcakes sinking? Why are they taking so long to bake? How do I know when my cupcakes are ready? Find the answers to all your questions here!

I've wanted to do this for a while. Put together a list of my top baking tips. Sometimes when I'm baking I think 'Ooh this would be handy to know!' So I've made a note of them and here they are...

  • Follow the recipe! It sounds simple but it's essential. If you're making cupcakes follow the sponge recipe exactly. If you mess with it something might go wrong! If you want to change anything, have a play with the icing by adding flavouring or colours.
  • Read the recipe carefully and don't rush anything. You might miss out a vital ingredient or part of the process which could mean disaster!
  • Get a decent set of digital weighing scales. It's really important that you get the weights of the ingredients spot on. Baking is a science so if you get any of the quantities wrong, it just won't work.
  • Make sure you take your butter out of the fridge in plenty of time to let it soften. It's impossible to use the butter if its still hard! If you forget, cut it into small pieces and put in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften it.
  • Don't use eggs straight from the fridge. Leave them at room temperature. It will help the mixture to come together evenly. By mixing cold items into your batter, you risk having a lumpy batter which might cause you to overmix it.
  • Don't overfill the cases or they will overflow. Don't fill them more than two thirds full.
  • To make sure your cupcakes are all the same size, use a scoop to fill the cases with the mixture {e.g. an ice cream scoop or a small measuring cup}
  • Preheat your oven. Turn it on when you start making the batter so it has plenty of time to heat up to the correct temperature.
  • Get an oven thermometer. My oven is quite old and it was always taking longer than the recommended time for baking in the recipe. So I got an oven thermometer {it only cost 72p from Amazon!} so that I could set my oven to exactly the right temperature.
  • Do not under any circumstances open your oven until the minimum cooking time has passed! Opening your oven will let heat out and could cause your cupcakes to sink.
  • Ovens vary greatly so use the baking time as a guide. I always set my timer for the minimum time in the recipe then check if the sponge is ready. If not I set my timer for another 2 minutes then check again. Keep checking every 2 minutes until done.
  • Check that your cupcakes are ready by inserting a skewer or toothpick into the centre. If it comes out clean the cake is done. Alternatively, gently touch the cake, if it springs back, it is ready.

Well I hope you find these tips helpful. Why don't you bake your favourite cupcakes now?  Enjoy one as soon as it's ready and then either share the rest with friends or freeze them for your future enjoyment!

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