If you are new to the world of baking – anything, not just cupcakes – then maybe you are a bit overwhelmed when reading some of the more complicated recipes.   Baking a rich and tasty cupcake doesn’t have to be complicated.

A favorite cake recipe can be easily converted to cupcakes by following these steps from Better Homes & Gardens:

Step  1:  Choose a recipe for a butter style cake (a cake that starts with beating butter and sugar together).  A two-layer cake usually makes 24 to 30 cupcakes.Step 2:  Line cupcake/muffin pan

Line 24 to 30 2 ½ inch muffin cups with paper bake cups or grease and flour the cups.  If you don’t have enough muffin cups, refrigerate the remaining batter while the first batch bakes.

Step 3: Fill Liners with batter

Fill cups ½ to ¾ full with batter.  If desired, before baking the whole batch, bake one or two cupcakes with different amounts of batter in the liners to see which height you like best.

Step 4:

  • Bake the cupcakes at the same temperature called for in the cake recipe, but reduce the baking time by one-third to one-half (cupcakes usually bake for 15 to 20 minutes).
  • Check doneness by inserting a wooden toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. If the toothpick comes out with moist or wet crumbs on it, continue baking the cupcakes, checking doneness with a clean toothpick after a few minutes.
  • Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Frost and decorate cupcakes as desired.

Or maybe you would prefer to use a box mix because it is more convenient.  Erin Whitney-Chavez wrote an article on Livestrong with some tips on improving a box cake mix for cupcakes.  These are just suggestions and a starting point.  Do some experimenting with different mixes and flavors.  You might just make up your own favorite recipe!

1. Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract to the cake batter. Optionally, ½ tsp. almond or a fruit extract can be added.

2. Include 1 tsp. cocoa to the mix to add or increase the chocolate flavor.

3. Substitute melted butter for vegetable oil that the cake mix calls for. Melt the butter in a microwave oven and add to the cake mix.

4. Add instant pudding mix to the cake mix to give the cupcakes a lighter and fluffier texture. Add 3 tbsp. of any flavor pudding mix to the cake batter

5. Replace the water with milk or buttermilk when making cake batter. The milk provides a richer texture to the cupcakes.

6. Create fruity cupcakes by adding citrus peel or fruit. Puree the fruit and reduce the water. Alternatively, grate the citrus peel and add to the cake mix.

7. Add spices to the cake mix. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or clove are popular choices to increase the flavor.

8. Consider adding a rich liquor to the cake mix. Rum is commonly used, but other liquors can be added. Use only half the water in the box cake recipe and use liquor for the other half.