How To Bake The Perfect Cupcake

I’m not one to advocate calling anything ‘perfect’ because nothing ever can be. But I didn’t want to title this recipe ‘How To Bake A Good Enough Cupcake’, because they truthfully will be way better than ‘good enough’.

Minnie Mouse Cupcakes Apr12

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my Good Enough Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe)

The Perfect Cupcake Recipe – Makes 12

You will need:

2 Large (Size 3) Free Range Eggs

Soft Margarine

Caster Sugar

Self-raising flour (click here for all-purpose flour conversion)

12 Hole deep muffin/bun tin

12 Large good quality cupcake cases

I haven’t specified how much of each ingredient you will need, because it depends on what your eggs (in their shells) weigh. They will probably weigh, together, between 120-140 grams (approx. just a little over 4oz).

(Kudos to Landgirls Cookery School for introducing me to the weighing eggs method!)

Measuring in grams is the most accurate method, when baking. But I appreciate this isn’t typical in many countries. Use the unit of measurement you are comfortable with, but critically do not mix and match. If you start in ounces, stay in ounces. This goes for cups or grams also.

Top Tip – Use ingredients that are at room temperature. I never refrigerate my baking eggs, so they are always ready to go. But I do have to remove my margarine from the fridge a couple of hours, before baking, to take the chill off it. When baking margarine and eggs that are at room temperature should combine without curdling. This will make a better cupcake batter.

Instructions

Preheat (at least 20 minutes beforehand, preferably 30 minutes) your oven to between 150°C-160°C (300°F-320°F or Gas mark 2-3) depending on how fierce your oven is. Fan ovens probably should be on the lower temperature.

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Place your cupcake cases in the tin.

Weigh your 2 eggs (in their shells) and write down the weight. Yes, write it down! It may only take one distraction, for example a knock at the door, for you to forget.

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Put the eggs to one side and keep the weight on display.

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In a large bowl measure out the same weight (132g for me today) of caster sugar and also the same weight (a further 132g) of margarine.

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Cream together. This can be done with a wooden spoon or use an electric whisk/kitchenaid. I use a whisk.

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When it turns pale and fluffy add 1 teaspoon of flavoured extract. Extract not essence! Vanilla is a popular choice but lemon, orange or strawberry are great alternatives.

Add an egg at a time. Please crack into a separate jug first. I recently cracked a bad egg into a recipe and boy not only did if completely offend my senses, but it wasted my mixture!

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Beat or whisk in each egg until just combined, do not over mix.

Top Tip – if the batter starts to curdle when the eggs are added, add a small amount of the flour at the same time. If doing this you need to weigh out your flour in advance.

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When your mixture/batter is smooth, sift in the self-raising flour all in one go. Measure out your flour – the same quantity again (132g for me!) as the eggs/margarine and sugar.

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Fold in with a metal spoon carefully, or you can slowly whisk in, the sifted flour, with your electric whisk/kitchenaid.

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Officially you shouldn’t do this, but I do and it works just fine!

Using 2 teaspoons, one to scoop and one to slide the mixture off,  add 2 generously heaped teaspoons to each case.

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I can’t show this as I need to photograph whilst doing it, I’m lacking that 3rd hand required as a mother generally!

The cases will be filled approximately just over half full. This is correct.

Place in the centre of your preheated oven for approx. 20 minutes. Set your timer for about 18 minutes before checking. Don’t guess! Mine always need 22 minutes for some reason.

To check they are cooked, check they are a light brown (not too dark) and that when pressed in the middle they are firm but springy. If there is any dip in the centre, then they aren’t done.

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Remove from oven and leave them to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes. This allows them to stop cooking (cakes continue to bake once out of the oven!) and to firm up. It will also prevent the cake from annoyingly separating from the case (as it can do if removed from tin too early).

The cupcakes must be completely cool before decorating.

Top Tip – You can place them on a cooling rack. I don’t use a rack for cupcakes, as it leaves line marks/indents on the bottom. You can just place on a cool counter top – mine are granite and this works a treat!

This post is so long I won’t cover decorating today, I will revisit next week with buttercream/frosting decoration. The following week I’ll demonstrate fondant toppers.

Enjoy! And if you do give them a go please share how it went. Feel free to pop a picture on my Facebook page and get some much deserved appreciation! 

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p.s. Above are 120 I made earlier 😉 maybe Mary Poppins is right…practice does make perfect!

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • Jo H. June 26, 2013, 5:32 pm

    Wow – this is very particular, isn’t it? But the finished product looks WONDERFUL! The method definitely makes a difference. I can’t wait for the decorating post.

    I hope your business idea has something to do with your talent in the baking and decorating department, Jo – it’s a no-brainer if you ask me.

  • Jo H. June 26, 2013, 5:32 pm

    Wow – this is very particular, isn’t it? But the finished product looks WONDERFUL! The method definitely makes a difference. I can’t wait for the decorating post.

    I hope your business idea has something to do with your talent in the baking and decorating department, Jo – it’s a no-brainer if you ask me.

  • Live and Learn-Toss and Turn June 26, 2013, 11:37 pm

    Very interesting. I have never weighed my eggs and matched my sugar and butter with them. I gonna have to remember that.

  • Live and Learn-Toss and Turn June 26, 2013, 11:37 pm

    Very interesting. I have never weighed my eggs and matched my sugar and butter with them. I gonna have to remember that.

  • Jessica June 29, 2013, 7:17 pm

    I made these this afternoon and they were FABULOUS! Bringing out the fridge things half an hour before made a huge difference, no curdling at all. Also I used 2/3 brown flour and 1/3 white (approx) and they still were light and tasty. Thanks so much, can’t wait for Part II.

  • Jessica June 29, 2013, 7:17 pm

    I made these this afternoon and they were FABULOUS! Bringing out the fridge things half an hour before made a huge difference, no curdling at all. Also I used 2/3 brown flour and 1/3 white (approx) and they still were light and tasty. Thanks so much, can’t wait for Part II.

  • Peter January 1, 2014, 1:23 pm

    Ok I am going to try your recipe for cupcakes…my sponge cakes come out great but my cup cakes are lousy so will try your recipe and tips today.

  • Peter January 1, 2014, 1:23 pm

    Ok I am going to try your recipe for cupcakes…my sponge cakes come out great but my cup cakes are lousy so will try your recipe and tips today.

  • natasha July 20, 2014, 10:15 am

    Each time my cupcakes comes out like bread or ordinally scones. I now know the secret. Thank u so much

  • natasha July 20, 2014, 10:15 am

    Each time my cupcakes comes out like bread or ordinally scones. I now know the secret. Thank u so much

  • Julia Porter August 30, 2014, 10:51 am

    At last I’ve found someone almost as precise as I am when I bake! The only thing I do differently to you is that I weigh out the batter into my cupcake cases – I’ve found that 60g of batter, whatever type it is, means you get a rise that ends about half a cm below the top edge of the paper case, which means the icing then sits neatly on top.

    I bake a lot as a hobby – I work in an educational institution where cake goes down very well, so I regularly bake four dozen cupcakes on a Sunday to take in (or several loaf cake variations – my lemon drizzle is the most popular!) and I have to rely on others to tell me they’re ok because I don’t actually like eating cake very much (I’ve got a savoury palette!) and I like chocolate even less! But apparently I could ‘win competitions’ with them (this from a colleague who’s a member of the W.I.) so I must be doing something right!

    Right now I’m planning my next batch of 3 dozen cupcakes – 12 of lemon drizzle, decorated very simply with the drizzle and some homemade candied lemon zest, 12 of carrot cake decorated with cream cheese frosting, candied carrot strips and a tiny fondant carrot on the top, and 12 chocolate with chocolate frosting and homemade tempered dark chocolate ‘squiggles’ on the top! They’re for a friend’s birthday for her to take into work – she’d rather pay me to make them than buy them, so again I must be doing something right!

    If I could I’d do this for a living, but reality says I can’t – I don’t have a big enough house/kitchen/oven/fridge to sustain the levels of activity I’d need, although I’ve been told I’d sell out in minutes if I took my efforts to one of the local craft/food fayres we have regularly on the island (I live in Jersey) but it’s nice to dream!

    Anyway, I enjoyed finding your blog as I continue to learn – as I’m sure you’ll agree, you can always learn something extra to add to existing knowledge, and I’ll check out some of your other posts too. If only I had the time to do the same – again, I’ve been asked to by friends, but I know I’d get too carried away with that and forget that I do actually already have a ‘proper job’ which already demands too much of my time during term time!

    Happy baking!

  • Julia Porter August 30, 2014, 10:51 am

    At last I’ve found someone almost as precise as I am when I bake! The only thing I do differently to you is that I weigh out the batter into my cupcake cases – I’ve found that 60g of batter, whatever type it is, means you get a rise that ends about half a cm below the top edge of the paper case, which means the icing then sits neatly on top.

    I bake a lot as a hobby – I work in an educational institution where cake goes down very well, so I regularly bake four dozen cupcakes on a Sunday to take in (or several loaf cake variations – my lemon drizzle is the most popular!) and I have to rely on others to tell me they’re ok because I don’t actually like eating cake very much (I’ve got a savoury palette!) and I like chocolate even less! But apparently I could ‘win competitions’ with them (this from a colleague who’s a member of the W.I.) so I must be doing something right!

    Right now I’m planning my next batch of 3 dozen cupcakes – 12 of lemon drizzle, decorated very simply with the drizzle and some homemade candied lemon zest, 12 of carrot cake decorated with cream cheese frosting, candied carrot strips and a tiny fondant carrot on the top, and 12 chocolate with chocolate frosting and homemade tempered dark chocolate ‘squiggles’ on the top! They’re for a friend’s birthday for her to take into work – she’d rather pay me to make them than buy them, so again I must be doing something right!

    If I could I’d do this for a living, but reality says I can’t – I don’t have a big enough house/kitchen/oven/fridge to sustain the levels of activity I’d need, although I’ve been told I’d sell out in minutes if I took my efforts to one of the local craft/food fayres we have regularly on the island (I live in Jersey) but it’s nice to dream!

    Anyway, I enjoyed finding your blog as I continue to learn – as I’m sure you’ll agree, you can always learn something extra to add to existing knowledge, and I’ll check out some of your other posts too. If only I had the time to do the same – again, I’ve been asked to by friends, but I know I’d get too carried away with that and forget that I do actually already have a ‘proper job’ which already demands too much of my time during term time!

    Happy baking!

  • Gee May 18, 2016, 9:14 am

    Hi

    Can you use butter instead?

    Tia

    • SimplyBeingMum May 18, 2016, 2:12 pm

      Yes softened butter will work well 🙂

  • Jessica September 13, 2016, 8:34 am

    Brilliant cupcakes!! What do you suggest to make them chocolate?

    • SimplyBeingMum September 15, 2016, 8:08 am

      Just add 30g of dark chocolate powder – see how that goes. If you need to add more chocolate powder in future you may need to reduce flour content slightly!

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