8 Baking Tips for Muffins & Cupcakes
Muffins and cupcakes are easy to bake, but little tips and tricks will help you make the best batches. Here are some rules of thumb for how to bake like a pro.
1. Using a lumpy mix for muffins
Muffins are among a small number of baked goods where less
beating achieves better results. Muffin batter should be mixed together only until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined. The mixture ought to look a little lumpy. If it is overworked and appears smooth, the muffins will have a dense, rubbery texture.
2. A tip for filling liners for cupcakes
Cupcakes should be beautifully uniform in size, risen perfectly just above the rims of the papers. To achieve this result, use an ice cream scoop or large cookie scoop to portion out the batter evenly, and do not fill the papers to the brim. This will also help you avoid dripping the batter on the edges of the papers.
3. Using cooking spray for easy portioning
Some cake batters and cookie doughs are sticky and difficult to portion out neatly, even using an ice cream scoop. Try spraying the scoop lightly with baking spray first. This helps the batter slide out easily in one go. Wipe the scoop with a paper towel and spray again if needed.
4. Remove cupcakes from the pan immediately
It is common practice to let a large cake set in its pan for a few minutes after removing it from the oven. However, smaller cakes, such as cupcakes, can continue to cook if left in a hot pan. This is why it is advisable to remove them as soon as possible, taking great care not to burn your fingers. Leave on a wire rack to cool.
5. Filling empty pans with water
There may be times when, even though you are following a recipe, you might end up not using every space in a 12-hole muffin pan. Before baking, carefully fill half of the empty space full of water. This will help distribute the heat and allow the other cakes to bake more evenly.
6. A soft top for muffins
Muffins bake at quite a high temperature, and it is not uncommon to find that the tops are a little overcooked by the time the inside is done. A simple trick to rectify this is to cover the muffins with a clean, dry dish towel while they cool. The resulting steam will soften the tops slightly, making them perfectly moist.
7. Moistening muffins with grated apple or pear
Muffins have a reputation for being delicious straight out of the oven, but they tend to taste dry and stale within only a couple of days. To keep them moister for longer, try adding some grated apple or pear, or even a little mashed banana, to the mix. A single apple, peeled and grated, can be added to almost any muffin mix to produce a moister, longer-lasting muffin. Small pieces of diced fruit added to the mix will give your muffins extra texture, as well as increase their moistness.
8. Cream the Ingredients
When a recipe calls for creaming the butter with the sugar, it means not only mixing them together but incorporating air, resulting in a light and fluffy batter. For this reason, it pays to cream for as long as the recipe specifies for a feather-light cake — even if it already looks mixed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl several times. Electric hand-held mixers take a bit longer than stand mixers to achieve the same results.