Don't let the fancy frosting fool you; learning how to make cupcakes is a snap.
Cupcakes can be any kind of sponge cake you wish from regular to red velvet, lemon to chocolate, but the basic process for baking cupcakes is the same for each. The recipe is the same as for a regular cake; the key is in the amount of batter you use, and to keep an eye on your timings.
Cupcake Batter and Cups
Making sure your batter is light and thoroughly mixed, spoon your mixture into your cupcake cups or cases. You should make sure you don't fill in any more than two-thirds the way up, otherwise they will be overcooked and you'll get serious overspill.
Baking cupcakes takes a slightly different approach to baking a regular sponge cake. Whatever your usual baking time is, subtract 5-8 minutes to start checking your cupcakes for doneness. Make sure your cupcakes aren't overcooked, but don't be tempted to open that oven door too often or you'll get saggy middles— and no one wants a saggy middle!
You'll know they're done when they're golden – or when you touch them and the sponge bounces right back. They should rise to a perfect mound just over the top of the case.
Wait until your cupcakes are completely cool before you start any frosting action. If you're a perfectionist, consider slicing a little off the top of any cakes that have risen a little too much. A serrated knife is your best tool for this job.
Lemon and chocolate flavored frostings are great choices to dress the top of your cupcakes in style, but take your lead from whatever flavored sponge you've created. A red velvet cupcake, for example, can be served with a classic cream cheese frosting for a knock-out look as well as mind-blowing taste.
You can get fancy and use a piping bag for putting your frosting on the cakes, or go for a freezer bag with a small corner snipped out, which works as a makeshift piping bag. Or simply spoon your frosting onto the top of the cakes, as many famous bakeries do, and make a slight well in the top of the frosting mountain. This looks great and ensures sprinkles or other decoration will stick too!
Speaking of sprinkles ... use the regular brightly colored sugar shapes and strands, grated chocolate, silver balls, sugar flowers or even fruit to make sure the cupcakes look completely irresistible.
Here are a few cupcakes that I just love. If you want even more amazing cupcake ideas, check out Tablespoon's Best Cupcake Recipes Collection
Have a creative frosting and cake combos? Let us know!