Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000105 EndHTML:0000007844 StartFragment:0000002291 EndFragment:0000007808

Cupcakes are the royalty of desserts, with their popularity soaring. New niche bakeries dedicated to the love of cupcakes are opening across the country.

Why pay for the best cupcakes when you can create the tasty goodness in your own kitchen? Home bakers can easily create their own artistic cupcake masterpieces. There are a few secrets to flawless cupcakes, and here we find the top five secrets.

Giant cupcake

1 - The first step is to make the best batter you can. This means using the best ingredients you can find. Cupcakes are simply miniature cakes. To make the best, one must start from scratch, no cake mixes! Ensure you use real butter, do not use margarine or shortening. By not using butter, you will find that you need to add additional sugar. If you are making vanilla cupcakes, use real vanilla beans. The same can be said for fruit flavoured cupcakes, use the fruit itself not flavoured extracts. Do not use cocoa, melt bittersweet chocolate for your chocolate creations. It takes a bit more work, but the flavour is so worth it! Ensure all of your ingredients are at room temperature, so that they mix together evenly. Don't over mix your batter, this will cause them to be chewy rather than perfectly moist.

2 - Once your batter is complete, its time to fill the cupcake liners. Yes, always use cupcake liners. They provide easy removal and clean up as well making your cupcakes stay fresher longer.

It is important not to overfill your cupcake liners. The goal is to fill it two-thirds full. A bakery secret is to use a #20 ice cream scoop purchased from a restaurant supply store. The size of the scoop fills the liner to the perfect amount as well as giving you the perfect cupcake shape.

3 - To ensure your cupcakes bake evenly it is best to use a shiny, non-stick aluminum pan. The silicone molds do work fine, but to ensure proper baking and to make the flavour stand out, aluminum is your best bet.

4 – Icing. No cupcake shall go un-iced! To reduce the amount of confectioners sugar in your icing, add a bit of cream cheese. It adds flavour and creaminess. When adding the sugar into your recipe do it very slowly. Cream it gradually into the butter, this will prevent any graininess and grittiness. Creaming it slowly in allows for the sugar to become creamed into the butter. If you do not want the icing on top, imply use an icing bag and a small tip, and insert it into the top of the cupcake. Squeeze a little icing into the cupcake and it will have an icing filled centre.

5 – To make your cupcakes more travel friendly, slice off the top of an iced cupcake and flip it over to make a mini-layer cake. Wrap the mini-layer cake in plastic wrap and you have a cupcake to go.