All You Ever Wanted To Know About Cupcake Recipes

By Anya Shiela Richards

Cupcakes are really just small cakes, so you can use any cake recipe to make them. The fact that they are small makes cupcakes interesting and fun. For instance, you can bake a batch of cupcakes using your favorite cake recipe, and freeze some for another day. Cupcakes can be made from readymade cake mix as well (one box of cake mix is enough for about 24 to 30 cupcakes, depending on the size of the cupcake cavities in the pan). Converting your regular cake recipes into cupcake recipes or using store-bought cake mix will produce perfectly good cupcakes. However, if you want to make cupcake batter from scratch, you will need the following:

Basic Ingredients

21/4 cups flour

3 tsp baking powder

11/3 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup shortening

Floor coloring (optional)

Of course, if you plan to bake anything other than a basic cupcake, you will need to add other ingredients. Adding 1/4 cup of cocoa to the above basic cupcake ingredients will give you chocolate cupcakes, for example. You can flavor your basic cupcake mixture to taste using ingredients such as spices (nutmeg, ground ginger, cinnamon ...), fruit (lime, shredded coconut, pureed bananas, raisins ...) and nuts (almonds, pecans etc). In fact, you can add anything to your basic cupcake mixture as long as the result is a blend of flavors that you like. Alternatively, simply use your favorite cake recipes to make your cupcakes.

You will also need a cupcake pan, cupcake pan liners, mixer, large bowl and an oven.

Preheat your oven and then start making your batter. Put the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, milk, vanilla and shortening into the large bowl and beat with the mixer for about one minute. Next, add one egg at a time, beating thoroughly after you add each egg. Continue mixing until the batter is smooth (about three minutes).

Line the pan with the cupcake liners then fill 2/3 of them with the mixture. An ice-cream scoop will help you get precise amounts of mixture in the pan. For regular-size pans, use a scoop that measures 1/3 so you only put two. As they rise, they will occupy the remaining space to form a mound. Place the pan in the oven and let it bake for around 23 minutes. If you need to make more but do not have another cupcake pan, store the mixture in the refrigerator as the first batch of cupcakes cooks. When ready, remove, cool the pan for about 15 minutes then add the remaining mixture. On average, a pan makes 12 cupcakes at a time.

Once the cupcakes are completely cool, you may start frosting them. While the cakes cool, you can make your frosting. While there are many cupcake-frosting recipes, the four principal types are butter cream frosting, chocolate butter cream frosting, dark chocolate ganache and lemon cream cheese frosting. To make butter cream frosting, mix150g softened butter with 12g confectioner's sugar then add 1 tsp vanilla and 2 tsp hot liquid (water or milk) and stir until creamy. Use 2 tsp of cocoa in place of the vanilla to make chocolate butter frosting.

Chocolate ganache is a rich, dark chocolate frosting. To make it, have ready 1 ounce of bittersweet chocolate, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 3 tbsp butter and 3 tbsp brandy (optional). Melt the chocolate, cream and butter, and mix well in a bowl. Next, if you are using brandy, add it to the mixture. Allow the chocolate ganache to cool before you apply a generous cover to your cupcakes. Many people love the distinctive taste of lemon cheese frosting, which you can use to add special flavor to basic cupcakes. To make it, mix together 30g softened butter, 80g softened cream cheese, 11/2 cup confectioner's sugar and 1 tsp grated lemon rind. Beat until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy then spread over the cupcakes (remember, these should not be hot). Using a pastry spatula makes it easier to spread any of these frostings evenly unto the tops and sides of the cupcakes. You can also use a pastry bag to make decorative designs with the frostings.

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