It’s fair to say I’ve done some research in the area of cupcakes. Besides baking for my own enjoyment, I’ve organized city-wide tours to search for the perfect cupcake, and created hundreds of versions for wedding showers, birthdays and other events.
I’m shocked at how many cupcakes sold from fancy boutiques come up short. It only takes a few dry mouthfuls of cake and a heavy frosting-induced belly ache to realize that you have just wasted $3.25 and …
it’s hard to beat a homemade cupcake.
That is not to say that every homemade cupcake is delicious and perfect in every way, or that all boutique creations are dry and crumbly, but great homemade cupcakes are definitely attainable, even for the novice baker. And for much less cost than a dozen from the local bakery.
Without disclosing just how many of these sweet treats I’ve consumed in one day (how many are in a baker’s dozen again?), I’ll pass along a winning cupcake recipe that has served me well!
With the baking tips I’ll share, the recipe you’ll find below, and a bag of Cadbury mini eggs, you will be well on your way to the perfect cupcake and a simple Easter dessert everyone will love.
Tips for Baking and Frosting Cupcakes
- Begin with all ingredients at room temperature.
- Do not over beat the batter.
- Lightly grease the cupcake pans edges in-case of sight overflow.
- Fill muffin cups slightly over half-way.
- Bake in the middle of the oven.
- Bake muffin tin on a cookie sheet to prevent cupcake bottoms from getting too brown
- Cool cupcakes completely before frosting
- Only frost cupcakes on the day you intend to serve them
Practice makes perfect. Once you make a recipe a few times, you’ll be able to make adjustments to improve on your cupcake, be they filling the liner less or more, or frosting techniques.
Go ahead, make a few batches. I don’t think you’ll hear anyone complaining about the leftovers!
Everyone should have a reliable cupcake recipe in their repertoire; a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for people of all ages. Today I’m sharing mine: classic yellow cake and rich chocolate frosting.
Sure, I’ve baked many cupcakes in my time, but when it comes to the ultimate authority on the subject, I easily defer to Martha Stewart. These recipes are 100 percent hers; there is no need to adjust them.
The simple little Easter decoration, however, is mine. It’s easy enough for the amateur cake decorator and kids can help place the mini eggs into the ‘nests’.
Yellow Butter Cupcakes
From Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
Makes 24 cupcakes
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.
Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups so that each is about two thirds full.
Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cupcakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool completely.
Frost with Dark Chocolate Frosting
Cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container for up to three days.
Dark Chocolate Frosting
From Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.
Frosts 24 cupcakes, generously.
- 24 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon boiling water
- 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Pinch of salt
Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water. Turn off heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes. Set bowl on countertop, and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Beat in cocoa mixture. Use immediately or chill until ready to use. Bring frosting back to room temperature and beat until smooth before using.
1. Spoon Method. Dollop a generous amount of frosting onto the top of the cupcake. Using the back of a teaspoon, gently rub it in a circular motion into the frosting to make a indention. Frosting will squish out the sides and cover most of the cupcake. Place a few mini eggs in the ‘nest’.
2. Piping Method. Place your tip of preference on the piping bag and starting about 1/2 inch from the edge of the cupcake, pipe a ‘nest’ in the middle of the cupcake.
Alternatively, place frosting in a ziplock bag and snip off one of the corners with scissors to create a makeshift piping bag. Squeeze out frosting onto cupcakes to create ‘nests’. Decorate with mini eggs.
Are you baking up anything special for Easter?