The cupcake is the dessert of the moment, and for good reason. It is undeniably delicious, perfectly satisfying, and, best of all, easy to make and serve. And, unlike other sweets, it’s easy to customize with endless combinations of flavors and fillings. Plus, its adorable appearance makes it the perfect centerpiece for any party or get-together.
The term “cupcake” comes from the fact that the cakes were once baked in individual pottery cups, ramekins, or molds. The cakes were then topped with icing and decorations. The first documented use of the word was in 1828, when it appeared in Eliza Leslie’s book, “Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats.”
In the beginning, there was only one way to bake a cupcake — you mixed up all the standard cake ingredients: butter, sugar, flour, and eggs. But, if you wanted to add flavor or texture to the batter, you simply stirred in other ingredients such as milk, nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips. Today, there are thousands of ways to make and decorate a cupcake. You can even fill them with different types of creams or puddings and top them with frosting.
You’ll find lots of recipes for cupcakes online, and you can buy them in specialty shops or grocery stores. But, if you’re determined to make your own, the first step is to gather your ingredients. To ensure that your cakes rise, be sure to measure all of your ingredients accurately. Also, be sure to prepare the baking pans or liners ahead of time. And, once the batter is ready, it’s important to put the cupcakes into the oven as soon as possible. The longer they sit, the more leavening will be lost.
When baking a cupcake, it’s important to use the correct size of pan or liners. The cupcakes will bake more evenly if you don’t overcrowd the trays. Once the cupcakes are baking, be sure to check them frequently for doneness. They’re usually done when the centers spring back when lightly touched with your finger. If you’re not sure, use a toothpick to test the center. If there’s wet batter on the toothpick, continue baking for a few more minutes.
Once the cupcakes are fully cooked, you’ll want to remove them from the trays and allow them to cool completely before frosting them. Once they’re cooled, you can pipe on a layer of frosting or frost them with a knife or spatula. If you’d like to garnish your cupcakes, try sprinkling them with colored sugar or arranging small flowers on top.
To make a filling for your cupcakes, you’ll need to hollow out the center of each one. To do this, either use a cupcake corer (looks like a small metal cylinder) or a metal pastry tip with a similar shape. Alternatively, you can use a paring knife to cut a cylinder out of the middle of each cupcake before adding your filling. For the best results, use a filling that won’t melt or separate while sitting at room temperature.