Cupcake Questions Answered!

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If you are new to baking or at least cupcake baking, then you might have some questions. We have compiled answers to some of the most asked questions.  Feel free to leave us comments with any other questions you might have and we will do our best to answer them for you!

Q: Can I use a layer cake recipes to make cupcakes?

A: Yes, in most cases. A typical 8 inch round layer cake recipe will make about 20-24 cupcakes.  You will have to adjust the baking time – usually 18 to 20 minutes for cupcakes but check them around 15 minutes for “doneness”.   You might have to experiment a bit to get it to work out right.

Q: Can I turn the recipe into mini cupcakes?

A: Yes, you can.  Be sure to thoroughly grease the mini muffin pan or use mini cupcake liners so you can get them out of the pan. Bake them for about 12-15 minutes.

Q: Can I replace one ingredient for another? Or will it taste good if I do this?

A: This varies by recipe and by which ingredients you would like to replace.  I routinely use margarine for butter without dire consequences (just my preference).  Remember the liquid to dry ingredient ratio will have to remain the same in order for the recipe to work.  On the other hand, you can try exchanging some of the fresh fruits if you have a preference.

Q: How full should I fill my cupcake papers?

A: Most recipes will indicate how much batter to put in each cup but each are usually filled between 1/2 and 3/4 full. Be sure to take into account how much the cupcake will rise.  Again, this might take some trial and error.

Q: How do you get cupcakes out of the pan?

A: Always let your cupcakes cool for a minute or two before taking them out of the cupcake tin. I use a fork to carefully turn and slide them out of the pan.  Let them sit on a wire rack so the bottoms do not get soggy from residual heat coming off the pan.  A wire rack is a baker’s best friend.

Q: Can I freeze cupcakes?

A: Yes, you can.  Place them in an airtight container before freezing (Tupperware works great).   Most recommend freezing them when undecorated or unfrosted since the frosting may or may not freeze well for long periods of time.  The cake portion should ok to keep frozen for up to three months. I have to admit that I freeze cupcakes after they are frosted to keep them fresh for a few days.

Q: How long do cupcakes keep?

A: About 2-3 days.  Be sure to cover them in tupperware or or plastic wrap or something to keep them fresh and to ensure they stay moist.  If you made a recipe with a cheesecake base, then keep them refrigerated.

Q: What is the difference between regular cocoa powder and Dutch -Processed cocoa powder and can I substitute one for the other?  

According to Joy of Baking, Dutch-Processed or Alkalized Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is treated with an alkali to neutralize its acids. Because it is neutral and does not react with baking soda, it must be used in recipes calling for baking powder, unless there are other acidic ingredients in sufficient quantities used. It has a reddish-brown color, mild flavor, and is easy to dissolve in liquids.   Its delicate flavor makes it ideal in baked goods like European cakes and pastries where its subtle flavor complements other ingredients.

Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder tastes very bitter and gives a deep chocolate flavor to baked goods. Its intense flavor makes it well suited for use in brownies, cookies and some chocolate cakes. When natural cocoa (an acid) is used in recipes calling for baking soda (an alkali), it creates a leavening action that causes the batter to rise when placed in the oven.

The two can be substituted but only by adding other ingredients to change the acidity.  I’d recommend using what is called for in the recipe.


Image courtesy of Cupcakes Plain and Fancy


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