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Tips for Cupcakes


What is a Cupcake?

A small, individual-size cake that's usually baked in a muffin pan. Sometimes the cupcake mold is lined with a crimped paper or foil cup. After baking, the paper or foil is simply peeled off before the cupcake is eaten.

Copyright (c) 1995 by Barron's Educational Series, from The New Food Lover's Companion, Second Edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst

Preparing Cupcakes

Line cupcake pans with cupcake papers, or grease the pans.

When baking cupcakes, place pan in the middle of a preheated oven.

Set a timer so that you don't forget about your cupcakes.

Bake cupcakes for the minimum time suggested, then test them to see if they're done.

Cupcakes are done when you can insert a toothpick into the middle of one and it comes out clean and dry.

Always wear oven mitts when removing cupcake pans from the oven.

Place cupcake pan on cooling rack for at least 5 minutes.

Remove cupcakes from the pan and place them back on the rack to cool further.

Let the cupcakes cool completely before you decorate them.

Icing and Decorating Cupcakes

Before you begin icing and decorating cupcakes, make sure they are completely cooled.

If you're icing cupcakes, first brush them lightly with your fingers to remove any loose crumbs.

Place a dollop of icing in the center of the treat you want to ice. Using a table knife, make short strokes to spread the icing from the top of the dollop - this keeps crumbs from getting in the icing.

If your icing is difficult to spread, dip the knife in hot water.

Try using decorations other than candy, such as cereal, pretzels, chips, etc.

For special birthday cupcakes, ice each one, then place a hard candy ring or gummy ring on top and stand a candle in the center of each one.

Decorating Idea-Caterpillar Cupcakes

Make your cupcakes into a caterpillar by icing the bottom and sides of each one, then line them up in a wiggly row with the un-iced sides down. Decorate the front cupcake with lollipop antennas, candy eyes and nose and a shoestring licorice mouth. To all the other cupcakes, add shoestring licorice feet and other decorations. For a fuzzy caterpillar, sprinkle on some coconut.

Are You Eating Muffins or Cupcakes?

Hot breads are always a hit and muffins are one of the easiest to make. They are more quickly and easily made than biscuits and no kneading, rolling or cutting is required. They can be a savory, last minute dinner muffin or a sweet delicious breakfast muffin. Made using whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, bran, honey, fruits and nuts they can be very nutritious. But like the healthy granola craze which turned into candy bars, muffins also can quickly turn into cupcakes. Eating cupcakes for breakfast is your choice, but don't tell yourself you are eating healthy breakfast muffins. A recent magazine article revealed some muffins available in New York delicatessens were claimed to be low fat, but actually contained up to 23 grams of fat. That's more fat than two Egg McMuffins.

What is the Difference Between Muffins and Cupcakes?

Some say cupcakes have frosting. A basic formula for muffins is 2 cups flour, 2-4 tablespoons sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 egg, 1/4 cup oil, shortening or butter, 1 cup milk. When the fat, sugar and egg ratio in a recipe reaches double or more than this, you have reached the cake level.

Other Technical Difference Between Muffins and Cupcakes

The method of cooking is different for muffins and cupcakes. The muffin method is by far the fastest and easiest. Flour, sugar, baking powder and salt (all the dry ingredients) are mixed together. This is where the leavening can be uniformly dispersed into the flour. Sugar is mixed with the flour to prevent the flour from lumping when combined with the wet ingredients.