We all know that cupcakes are one of the best desserts. But how do you make perfect cupcake batter? This blog post will answer all your questions about making the perfect cupcake batter. You will also find out about some of the things that can go wrong when making your cupcake batter, and how to fix them. So let’s make sure your cupcake batter is perfect every time!
The basic tips to nail the cupcakes – Every. Single. Time!
The basics for when you are making your cupcake batter
What are the different types of cupcake batter?
There are two main types of cupcake batter. The first is a liquid based batter, for example some chocolate cupcake recipes, which will consist of a runny batter that is usually poured into the cupcake cases. The second is a more common batter, such as vanilla cupcakes batter, which is more light and fluffy and so usually requires spooning or scooping into the cases. The type of batter you are using will affect how much you should fill your cupcake cases as lighter batters will require less batter to fill the case, than a liquid based batter, so make sure you know what consistency your recipe is looking for.
The importance of room temperature butter
When making your cupcake batter, it is so so important that your butter is room temperature. Butter that is too hard will not incorporate properly into mixture and will cause the cupcakes to come out hard and crispy. Butter that is too soft will cause your cupcakes to shrink and sink once taken out of the oven. The ‘perfect’ butter is slightly squishy but still holds its shape.
Don’t over mix your batter!
When you mix your cupcakes, it incorporates air into your batter, making it lighter and fluffier. However, if you over mix your cupcakes it will beat too much air into the mixture and cause your cupcakes to deflate when they come out of the oven and sink in the middle, which no one wants! The perfect mixing time is roughly 1 minute and 45 seconds for a basic vanilla cupcake recipe.
How to mix cupcake batter without a mixer
If you don’t have a free standing mixer or a hand held mixer, the go to tool will be a spoon. The type of spoon you use isn’t especially important, as long as you apply a good old amount of elbow grease!
How to colour cupcake batter
Cupcake batter is very simple to colour, simply add your colour drops at the end of the mixing process before distributing into your cases. For example, in a vanilla cupcake recipe, you would add your colouring during the final stage of incorporating the milk and vanilla extract. As for the type of colouring you should use, you’ll need to look out for a good quality gel or liquid based food colouring, and always check the reviews!
Now that you have successfully made your cupcake batter
How much cupcake batter should you put in a cupcake case?
The recommended amount to put in a cupcake case is roughly 2/3 full. Be careful not to fill your cases to the top as this may cause them to overflow. If you are using an ice cream scoop for transferring the batter, you should only need one scoop full. However, with a liquid based batter, this will be different as it will require more of the mixture.
How to measure cupcake batter evenly?
In order to ensure that your cupcakes are even when you take them out you’ll need to put an even amount of batter in each case. You can do this by looking at your cupcakes once you have distributed the batter into the cases and adjust any abnormalities. Additionally, you can ensure that if you are using something such as spoons or an ice cream scoop, you are adding the same amount to each case.
How to pour cupcake batter without making a mess?
With liquid based cupcake batters, you will need to use a different method to fill your cupcake cases. This is because the mixture is very loose and so is likely to make a lot of mess if you use spoons or an ice cream scoop. One method you can use that will minimise the mess is to transfer your batter into a measuring jug and pour it into your cases from there. This will make it easier as you will have a spout to pour your batter from and so will have more control.
What to use to scoop cupcake batter?
The best tools for transferring your batter to your cupcake cases is to use two spoons, an ice cream scoop, or for liquid batters a measuring jug, as described above. When using two spoons, you will want to put roughly a conker sized amount on one spoon and then use the other spoon to scrape it into your cupcake case. If you decide to use an ice cream scoop you can simply fill the scoop with batter and then transfer it into the case, you may also find it helpful to invest in a miniature spatula to help scrape the residual batter out of the scoop.
How you can store your cupcake batter
What to do with leftover cupcake batter?
Sometimes it can be so easy to forget to alter the recipe to the amount you need or to not check how many cupcakes the recipe yields and then you find yourself with this amount of perfectly good cupcake batter left over, so what do you do with it?
There are actually a couple of things you can do with leftovers, for example you could freeze your leftover batter or store it until the next day if you intend to make more, which will be discussed below. Or if you have no reason to store it why not experiment with something new? Cake scraps have a multitude of possibilities, from cake pops to cake truffles, and as cupcake batter can be used to make cake, how about pouring your remaining batter into a cake tin. If you would like to know how to convert your leftover cupcake amount into cake tin sizes read this article next.
Can the batter sit overnight? Can you make cupcake batter ahead of time?
If possible, you want to prepare the batter when you can bake it straight away and if that is not possible then 30 minutes at room temperature is the max amount to ensure that there will be minimal effects to the quality. If you want to pre-make your batter up to a day before you are ready to bake then it’s recommended to store your batter in the fridge. However, they may not rise as high and may be slightly more dense.
Can you refrigerate cupcake batter?
In short, yes. But it is recommended that you do not store your batter in the fridge for more than two days. In order to store your batter in the fridge, you should either wrap the top of your mixing bowl in cling film, or transfer your batter into an airtight container and place in the fridge.
Can you freeze the batter? How long will the batter last in the freezer?
Yes it is possible to freeze your batter. In order to do this you should transfer your batter into zip-top freezer bags or a freezer safe air tight container and place in the freezer. You can store your batter in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to use your batter, you should place your storage container into the fridge and leave overnight to defrost. Then half an hour before you intend to bake, take the batter out of the fridge and leave it to come to room temperature.
It’s time to bake!
The importance of your oven’s temperature
Once your batter is prepared it’s time for baking and the temperature of your oven is so important. I would highly recommend investing in an oven thermometer. An oven thermometer is simply hung on a shelf in your oven and it will tell you what temperature your oven is. This is so helpful when baking as the real oven temperature may not be the same as it states on the dial and certain parts of the oven may be hotter than others (hot spots), all of which will affect the quality of your cupcakes.
Although you may not think the temperature of your oven is that important, it is. Cupcakes that are baked in an oven that is too hot will have hard peaks on the top and will have domed much more than desired and cupcakes that are baked in an oven that is too cool will turn very pale and overflow.
Why do they overflow?
If your cupcakes come out of the oven overflowing their cases then it’s probably due to either two reasons. The first reason may be that you have overfilled them with too much cupcake batter, which as they have cooked has caused them to overflow, my pointers above will help you to distribute the correct amounts. The second reason may be your oven temperature. As I have discussed above, oven temperature is so important and if your oven is too cool as your cupcakes bake, then it will cause them to rise disproportionately in the oven, therefore causing them to overflow.
How long do cupcakes take to bake?
On average, your cupcake batter takes roughly 20-25 minutes. However, this will depend on your specific recipe as some cupcakes will take less time and vice versa. If your cupcakes do not pass the cooked checks (seen below) when the time is up, then you should place them back into the oven for 2 minutes and check after then, if they still aren’t done, repeat this process.
How do you know when they are done?
So how do you tell when your cupcakes are done baking? My two favourite methods are the bounce back test and the skewer test. The bounce back test is where you tap the top of the cupcakes and if it bounces back then your cupcakes are ready. The second test is the skewer test, which is where you poke a skewer into the centre of each cupcake and if it comes out clean, your cupcakes are done baking. If your cupcakes aren’t done baking, put them back in the oven for a further 2 minutes and then repeat the test.
Fixing your cupcake batter if it goes wrong
How to fix over mixed cupcake batter?
As I have explained above, over mixing can cause your cupcakes to sink and deflate once taken out of the oven, as they have had too much air beaten into the batter. So if you have forgotten the time and over mixed your cupcakes, annoying as it is… you’ll need to start again. In future, set up a timer to ensure that you’re mixing for the right amount of time.
How thick should cupcake batter be? / How should cupcake batter look like?
As I explained initially there are two main types of cupcake batter. The first, most common type, will be light and fluffy and should fall off of your spoon in one lump, it shouldn’t be runny. The second is liquid based and so will be of a pouring consistency, in this case you won’t want your batter to be too thick or too watery. Always check with your recipe as it should state what the batter consistency will be like before you transfer it to the cupcake cases.
How to make cupcake batter thinner?
If your cupcake batter is too thick, fortunately you can make it thinner. This is done by adding more of the liquid ingredients. For example you can either add a small amount of water to thin the batter out or you can add some more of the wet ingredients, for example the milk, melted butter or eggs.
How to thicken cupcake batter?
If your problem is that your cupcake batter is too thin and you wish to thicken it up, then you can always add a little more flour and beat for a little longer to incorporate some more air.
To wrap up…
As the world’s most popular dessert, cupcakes are a great way to present your baked goods in an attractive format. However, baking is an art that takes some time to perfect, so hopefully with this article you have learnt to avoid some of the major mistakes!