Cupcakes can be a delightful treat at a birthday party, wedding or a late-night snack. These single-serving pieces of cake can be packed full of flavours and are considered a blank canvas for creativity and flavour. The most important aspect of a cupcake is the cake itself; which needs to be light, fluffy and flavourful. A cupcake recipe has the right properties to be a light and fluffy cupcake, but there are steps during the recipe that can make the difference between a dense cake and an airy one.
Ensure all cupcake ingredients are at room temperature so that air can be brought into the batter to provide a fluffy texture. This should include milk, butter and eggs. Set ingredients out at least 20 minutes prior to baking to help bring items to room temperature before starting the recipe.
Press your finger into the butter to check its temperature. Butter should be soft enough to hold the imprint of your finger if it is at room temperature. Feel milk and eggs to ensure that they are still not chilled.
Measure ingredients carefully and accurately. Measure liquids in a liquid measuring cup and dry ingredients in dry measuring cups. Ensure dry measurements are always even before adding them into the recipe by scraping off the top off the measuring cup with a knife or cake spatula.
Cream the fats in the recipe together such as the butter and shortening or just the butter. Add the sugar slowly to the fats and allow it to whip on medium-high speed until the mixture has changed to a lighter colour and the texture is fluffy to produce air in the batter.
Alternate when adding milk or liquid with the dry ingredients. For example, a traditional cupcake recipe calls for milk and dry mixture of flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate in equal measurements between the milk and dry when adding it to the butter, sugar and eggs.
Do not over-mix your cupcake batter since over mixing will result in a dense and heavy cupcake. Place the final addition of flour into the batter and mix only until the flour has been incorporated.
Fold in additions such as nuts, berries or chocolate chips to the batter rather than mixing them with the stand mixer to prevent over mixing. Fold the batter by using a spatula to scoop the batter from the centre of the bowl toward the outside of the bowl and then pressing it down to the bottom so the batter from the bottom rises to the surface. Keep turning the bowl as you fold so that everything is incorporated evenly.
Add a whipped buttercream to top a fluffy cupcake.