Cupcakes: Little delights or a total nightmare?

Tanya Hoff

PERFECT: Cupcakes

WHEN you have a light, fluffy cupcake it’s a joy to eat and admire especially with a delicious buttercream topping!

But, aargh, the number of things that can go wrong!

Sunken. Over spillage. Over risen. Unequal sizes. Square.

I thought I had cracked a good cupcake.

But having recently moved to Spain. Everything seemed to go wrong.

From not being used to the temperature of my new oven, to not understanding Spanish when buying my cake mixture.

After wading through the Spanish supermarket, with my Google translate at hand. I finally, managed to crack a cupcake in Spain. 

I have pulled together some top tips to help:
1. Test one out in the oven first. This will help you decide on how much mixture to put in the cupcake and how long to bake them for. 
2. Do it on a low temperature. Around 150 degrees Celsius for big cupcakes and for mini cupcakes I set it at 140 degrees Celsius in a fan oven. This prevents the cakes from forming a dome or cracking.
3. It’s so easy when you have all your ingredients on the table to mix up baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, especially if reading it in Spanish. This is super important not to mix up. Too much bicarbonate of soda can give you a funny taste in your cake. As well as, the cake rising too quick.
4. If you don’t have a cupcake baking tray, I tend to double up the cupcake cases. Or you can buy cupcake cases that are lined with a greaseproof finish. They prevent the bottom of the cupcakes having a greasy bottom and stop the cupcakes falling over in the oven. Plus it helps keep the shape round. No too square!
5. I use baking parchment on the tray the cupcakes cases sit on. Again this helps remove any of that greasiness you can get when baking cupcakes. 
6. To ensure all your cupcakes are the same size use a digital scale to weigh out the mix. In a medium size cupcake holder I tend to weight out 42g and in a mini one about 30g. Remember your mixture will rise and you don’t want it to overspill.
7. When placing the cupcakes on the baking tray do not put them too close to each other. They need space to do their thing.
8. The most difficult thing to avoid is not opening the oven door. Just sit and relax with a cup of tea. Avoid opening the door in the first 10 minutes of being in the oven. Otherwise you will have sunken cupcakes. 

When you get this right it’s such a joy!

And then you can get creative and add other things to your cupcakes. Like yummy Ferrero Rocher.

• Follow me on (Facebook or Instagram) for details on cupcake recipes and other top tips.

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