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Cupcakes: Tips & Techniques


Kim Shook
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Hopefully someone else responds, as I'm not too adept at troubleshooting, but I will post my cupcake recipe for you and maybe you can compare. I just made these last week for my son's kindergarden class. I've been testing cupcake recipes for a while now, and so far these are my favorite. They are tender and very light.

2 c flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 cup cold water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 c butter

1 c sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake papers. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Measure water into large measuring cup. Add eggs and vanilla and lightly mix and set aside. Cream together butter and sugar until light. alternately add flour and liquid mixtures, beginning and ending with flour. (three additions of dry, two additions of wet.)

scoop evenly into pans and bake about 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. DO NOT BROWN cupcakes or they will be dry. Remove to wire rack and let cool. Frost as desired.

Edited by shaloop (log)
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out of curiosity, can either of you tell me what the keeping qualities of your respective cupcakes are? how long do they keep? thanks

I don't know. :biggrin: I've made them twice and they didn't last around my house more than 24 hours either time!

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CM, you didn’t mention how long you baked the cupcakes, but if they over baked, even a little, this could account for them being a tad dry. The recipe seems rich enough though. If anything if might be a little short on liquid. Was the batter thick?

For a disher/scoop try a #16 (2 oz).

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Hi guys:

i need help with my cupcake recipe. The taste of the cupcake was great; it was relatively soft but it was a tad drier than I would have liked. I would also have liked it to be richer, perhaps? Hope that makes sense. Here is the recipe, please help me make adjustments and please explain why(ALSO, please recommend the size disher or ice-cream scoop that I would need ):

1 1/4 cups cake flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 tsp salt

2 whole eggs PLUS 1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

I used the creaming method. 12-cup regular light colored muffin tin. filled it 2/3 of the way up. perfectly acceptable dome shape after baking. 350 degree oven, middle rack.

Thanks for your help.

CM.

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The recipe looked ok, although it seems to be shy a bit on liquid or fat. You might consider increasing the sour cream to 1 C (and if so, boost the baking soda by another 1/4 tsp), or another 1/2 stick butter. I also think RMR may be on to your "dryness" problem---definitely do not overbake: there should be moist crumbs (but not goo) on a tester.

He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau
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  • 3 months later...

I made some cupcakes last night, basic recipe, chemical leaveners, and they had a nice dome on the top in the oven, but when I took them out and they cooled, the top of the cupcake became flat, the dome "deflated." Does anyone have any suggestions why there is no dome?

thanks

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Hi guys:

i need help with my cupcake recipe. The taste of the cupcake was great; it was relatively soft but it was a tad drier than I would have liked. I would also have liked it to be richer, perhaps? Hope that makes sense. Here is the recipe, please help me make adjustments and please explain why(ALSO, please recommend the size disher or ice-cream scoop that I would need ):

1 1/4 cups cake flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 tsp salt

2 whole eggs PLUS 1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

I used the creaming method. 12-cup regular light colored muffin tin. filled it 2/3 of the way up. perfectly acceptable dome shape after baking. 350 degree oven, middle rack.

Thanks for your help.

CM.

Hi,

Maybe in the end your recipe needs adjusting as JayBassin suggested - but, I agreed also with his first glance that the recipe looked ok. I didn't see anything wrong with it - except that the addition of an extra egg yolk seemed odd to me and unnecessary. And, the recipe sounded familiar to me. So, I went on a search and found the original recipe.

It's a cupcake recipe from Gale Gand.

The original recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups SIFTED cake flour, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and just 2 eggs. http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/re...6_20416,00.html

This could be why your recipe is dry - you may have too much flour in yours and a tad less sugar. Yes, there is an added egg yolk in your recipe, but too much flour and less sugar can make for a drier recipe.

Gale Gand's .........................................Yours.......................Difference

1 1/4 cups SIFTED cake flour .......1 1/4 cups cake flour......Yours may have too much flour, depending how you measured it

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar......1/2 cup.....................yours has less

2 eggs.....................................2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk...yours has 1 more egg yolk

I always explain techniques, so please do not feel insulted if you already know this: (Some people take offense if I sound elementary, but I always explain everything in detail.)

To measure 1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour: Sift flour onto a piece of waxed paper. Spoon flour into measuring cup and level to rim. How did you measure your flour? Did you spoon it into the measuring cup or scoop it into the measuring cup and then level it to the rim?

Sifting flour first and then spooning it into a measuring cup will yield slightly less flour by weight per cup in a recipe than if you spoon it into a measuring cup and level it to the rim. If you scoop flour into a measuring cup and level it to the rim, you'll end up with the greatest amount of flour by weight per cup. The difference in weight starts to make a differemce in a recipe. Too much flour and not enough liqquid, sugar and other ingredients, can make for a dry recipe because flour absorbs the available liquid in a recipe.

Here are some differences I noted when measuring all-purpose flour:

All-purpose unbleached flour

Spooned into metal cup: 4.41 ounces (125 grams)

Dipped with metal cup: 5.0 ounces .59 ounces more

Sugar also attracts moisture from the environment to a recipe. If you add in less than the recipe calls for, the recipe's mouthfeel will appear to be drier and will also in fact, will be drier. Sugar acts as a tenderizer because it attracts water away from the proteins in the flour. By binding water, sugar helps prevent excess gluten from forming. And, the effects of less sugar to flour are compounded by how you measure the flour because the ratio of flour to sugar is affected.

Oh - and, the extra egg yolk in your recipe - it adds fat and emulsifiers, so your recipe is more tender and creamy. I mean if you overmixed and overbaked your cupcake recipe, it would have helped prevent dryness (unless you really, really overmixed and overbaked the recipe to death), so I think the way the flour may have been measured and the lack of extra sugar, made the difference in the recipe's drier outcome.

Edited by Sarah Phillips (log)

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

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I made some cupcakes last night, basic recipe, chemical leaveners, and they had a nice dome on the top in the oven, but when I took them out and they cooled, the top of the cupcake became flat, the dome "deflated." Does anyone have any suggestions why there is no dome?

thanks

Please post the recipe in egullet's format so I can review. Thanks!

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

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Hi guys:

i need help with my cupcake recipe. The taste of the cupcake was great; it was relatively soft but it was a tad drier than I would have liked. I would also have liked it to be richer, perhaps? Hope that makes sense. Here is the recipe, please help me make adjustments and please explain why(ALSO, please recommend the size disher or ice-cream scoop that I would need ):

1 1/4 cups cake flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 tsp salt

2 whole eggs PLUS 1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

I used the creaming method. 12-cup regular light colored muffin tin. filled it 2/3 of the way up. perfectly acceptable dome shape after baking. 350 degree oven, middle rack.

Thanks for your help.

CM.

I have an almost identical cupcake recipe except that it uses 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, although if you wanted to use cake flour, your amount is pretty close (should actually be 1 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons of cake flour to equal AP.)

It also uses 1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks, omits the baking soda and uses 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt instead. It also uses the high-ratio method of mixing which is why I was drawn to it.

Edited by RodneyCk (log)
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Sarah

Here is the recipe:a Gale Gand recipe

1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) cool unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

Line a muffin tin with cupcake papers. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift the sifted flour with the baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Cream the butter in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft, then add the sugar and mix. Add the eggs, and vanilla and whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer running at low speed, add a third of the flour mixture and mix. Then add half of the sour cream and mix. Add another third of the flour and mix. Add the remaining sour cream and mix, then the remaining flour. Give it one last mix to make sure everything is blended in.

Pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling them 3/4 full. Bake until firm to the touch in the center, 20 to 25 minutes. Set the pan on a wire rack and let cool.

thanks

Dave

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Hi guys:

i need help with my cupcake recipe. The taste of the cupcake was great; it was relatively soft but it was a tad drier than I would have liked. I would also have liked it to be richer, perhaps? Hope that makes sense. Here is the recipe, please help me make adjustments and please explain why(ALSO, please recommend the size disher or ice-cream scoop that I would need ):

1 1/4 cups cake flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 tsp salt

2 whole eggs PLUS 1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

I used the creaming method. 12-cup regular light colored muffin tin. filled it 2/3 of the way up. perfectly acceptable dome shape after baking. 350 degree oven, middle rack.

Thanks for your help.

CM.

I have an almost identical cupcake recipe except that it uses 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, although if you wanted to use cake flour, your amount is pretty close (should actually be 1 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons of cake flour to equal AP.)

It also uses 1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks, omits the baking soda and uses 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt instead. It also uses the high-ratio method of mixing which is why I was drawn to it.

RodneyCK,

How did your recipe turn out? I like the looks of yours better, especially the way the baking powder is used and the amount - I was not crazy about the amount and perhaps type of leaveners used in Chef Gand's recipe - it bothered me. The extra egg yolk makes sense in yours because of the use of all-purpose flour. I bet yours tastes nice and moist.

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

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RodneyCK,

How did your recipe turn out? I like the looks of yours better, especially the way the baking powder is used and the amount - I was not crazy about the amount and perhaps type of leaveners used in Chef Gand's recipe - it bothered me. The extra egg yolk makes sense in yours because of the use of all-purpose flour. I bet yours tastes nice and moist.

I thought they were moist and tender, but you know how each taste bud is different, lol. Taste when it comes to baked goods is so subjective.

Looking over the recipe again, given the quantities, you could probably up the liquid portion a bit more, maybe start with an additional 1 or 2 tablespoons of sour cream or even milk and it should be ok. What do you think Sarah?

I would imagine the reason the author used baking soda was because of the sour cream, a free ride with the addition of acid.

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I made some cupcakes last night, basic recipe, chemical leaveners, and they had a nice dome on the top in the oven, but when I took them out and they cooled, the top of the cupcake became flat, the dome "deflated." Does anyone have any suggestions why there is no dome?

thanks

Dave,

Thanks for posting Chef Gand's recipe. How did you measure the flour? The recipe indicates 1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour.

It bothers me that the cupcakes "deflated" meaning something went wrong somewhere.

Not all cupcakes will dome. Doming has to do with the ratio of ingredients in the recipe, the baking temperature, mixing methods used and a whole host of reasons. In general, the more the recipes resemble high ratio cake recipes, the less they will dome - the more the recipes resemble muffin recipes, the more they will dome.

Edited by Sarah Phillips (log)

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

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RodneyCK,

How did your recipe turn out? I like the looks of yours better, especially the way the baking powder is used and the amount - I was not crazy about the amount and perhaps type of leaveners used in Chef Gand's recipe - it bothered me. The extra egg yolk makes sense in yours because of the use of all-purpose flour. I bet yours tastes nice and moist.

I thought they were moist and tender, but you know how each taste bud is different, lol. Taste when it comes to baked goods is so subjective.

Looking over the recipe again, given the quantities, you could probably up the liquid portion a bit more, maybe start with an additional 1 or 2 tablespoons of sour cream or even milk and it should be ok. What do you think Sarah?

I would imagine the reason the author used baking soda was because of the sour cream, a free ride with the addition of acid.

Your right, RodneyCK, Chef Gand did add in baking soda because of the sour cream, but she could have used baking powder and let the sour flavor of the sour cream come through. Baking soda also would have helped with more browning in the recipe. Sometimes the texture is not right if you have an acidic ingredient and do not have some baking soda in it -- it "all depends".

Recipe development is all subjective - Chef Gand may not be incorrect in her recipe - I just want to make that clear so no one gets excited - recipe development is in the eyes of who is developing it - everyone does things differently. My way is my way - Chef Gand's is her way -- we each have our own signature way of developing and composing recipes. I have never tried Chef Gand's recipe, but I will this afternoon because now I am curious as to how it really turns out.....

I have a similar recipe I know you are familiar with, RodneyCK, my Lemon Blueberry Cake Muffins, where I use 1 1/2 cups ap flour, and 1/2 cup milk. The sugar is at 3/4 cup and they have a slight dome. They are tender and cakelike in texture and quite moist. I do not need an extra egg yolk, nor extra milk.. http://www.baking911.com/asksarahbb/index.php?showtopic=270

Edited by Sarah Phillips (log)

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

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I have never tried Chef Gand's recipe, but I will this afternoon because now I am curious as to how it really turns out.....

davecap and others...just to get back to you...I have not had the time to test Chef Gand's recipe, yet! I will try this week....Anyone else try it?

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

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Sarah

Thanks for the response.

I used a measuring cup for the measurements. Measurements were done correctly. I may have had slightly less sour cream, than as exactly in the recipe, but I would not think that would have contirbuted to the "no dome" effect.

thanks for your thoughts,

Dave

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Dave,

Thanks for posting Chef Gand's recipe. How did you measure the flour? The recipe indicates 1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour.

Dave, did you see this?

Sarah

Oh yeah, regardless of the dome, I used the same batter as a cake, and my daughter loved her birthday cake.

I forgot to mention this - Strangely, when I baked the birthday cake, in a 4x4x5 cake tin, the cake did dome.

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Dave,

Thanks for posting Chef Gand's recipe. How did you measure the flour? The recipe indicates 1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour.

Dave, did you see this?

Sarah

Oh yeah, regardless of the dome, I used the same batter as a cake, and my daughter loved her birthday cake.

I forgot to mention this - Strangely, when I baked the birthday cake, in a 4x4x5 cake tin, the cake did dome.

That's not unusual.

Sometimes you take a cake batter to make cupcakes, and it doesn't turn out the same way, even if you did bake it for the correct time at the correct temperature.

Something to do with leavening and surface area, I think.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm desperate! I make all my cakes from scratch and use the same recipe for cakes and cupcakes. My white cupcakes have this irritating habit of popping out of the paper liners. I don't know what to do!!! They look awful! I've had to throw out the really bad ones, but there are times that I've got to use some of them to fill an order. I've tried everything I can think of...

*underfilling the liner to give the cake room to grow

*overfilling the liner so that there is absolutely no paper not covered in cupcake

*completely cooling the cupcakes in the pan

*removing the cupcakes when totally hot

*removing the cupcakes when semi-cooled

*leaving them at room temp

*putting them in the cooler

*freezing them

*spraying the liners with pan spray

*not spraying the liners with anything

*baking them way in advance

*baking them the day of the event

*baking them a day or two before the event

*adding extra leavener

The weird thing is ALL of these things have worked and then they suddenly stop working. I guess that means that they're not really working at all.

This used to only happen to the white cupcakes, which I make with butter. My chocolate and carrot cakes are made with oil, and it wasn't happening with them. That's why I tried spraying the liners with the pan spray-to make the liners greasy like the other cakes. Well, now, it's happening to all of the cakes!!! I'm not doing anything different-same liners, same recipe, same pans, same oven, same person scaling, mixing and baking (me).

The other thing is that sometimes they start out fine and then suddenly the liners just pop off of them. There truly doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason. None of the cakes are dry-even the cupcakes that popped out of their papers aren't dry. I always taste test the bad ones to see if I can finally catch what's happening.

It's getting so bad that when people order cupcakes I kind of shudder inside. Is there anything I can do to prevent this??? I'm desperate. I've got a wedding coming up and they're ordering 300 cupcakes. I just can't bear having to throw that many cupcakes out and start again.

Please help!

"Health food may be good for the conscience but Oreos taste a hell of a lot better." Robert Redford
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What a puzzler!

The only thing I don't see that you've tried is changing brands of liners.......if you can even do that. You may not have much of a choice as far as that's concerned.

I definitely think anything that causes "lubrication" like spraying the liners with pan spray would definitely make them pop off, since you want the cake to stick to the liner to keep it on.

What's your humidity like there? Would humidity moisten the liner enough to make it pop off?

Do you think your problem could be climate related? :unsure:

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Would length of time that you beat the mixture make any difference?

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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I'm in Chicago-so there are definitely times that humidity here is miserable, but then there are times that it's not a problem.

I don't know if the amount of time mixing the batter would make a difference because sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't.

I know the spraying of the liners seems counter-intuitive but I did it because the oil based cakes weren't having the problem and I was trying to mimic them... until they started to have the "popping" problem. Plus, for a while it did work!!!

AGHAGHAHGAAGHA!!!

"Health food may be good for the conscience but Oreos taste a hell of a lot better." Robert Redford
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