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10 Easy Hacks for Making the Best Cupcakes and Muffins

Never sweat a kids’ birthday party or housewarming again: We’ve got the best tips and tricks for making cupcakes and muffins! Find out how to make the best batter, bake them to perfection, and employ some simple special effects to wow a crowd.

By
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,

Muffin and cupcake tips

Better Batter

Here’s a quick tip for better batter. For the best-tasting muffins and cupcakes ever, always bring the eggs, milk, and butter to room temperature first. It will make the ingredients blend on a chemical level better, making your muffins or cupcakes airier. Simply leave the ingredients out for several hours before you start baking. Or, to bring eggs up to room temperature, place them in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.

Using Yogurt in Cupcakes and Muffins

To give your muffins or cupcakes an extra tang and an incredibly light texture, swap out a potion of the milk for vanilla yogurt. You’ll win raves for that extra-special something in your muffins!

Instant Way to Lower Calories

When making muffins and cupcakes, try reducing the amount of sugar by one-fourth and seeing if you notice (we never do!). In spiced muffins, you can take out even more thanks to cinnamon: Reduce the amount of sugar in your recipes by half and double the cinnamon. Not only will the cinnamon taste help retain sweetness with the fewest calories possible, it has also been shown to help control blood sugar levels.

Scoop Dreams

Making your cupcakes all the same size will not only ensure no one argues over which cupcake they want, it will also make sure they all bake the same. For perfectly baked cupcakes that are uniform in size, use an ice cream scoop instead of pouring batter into the cups or using a regular spoon.

Easy Way to Grease Muffin Tins

We hate throwing things away, so we love this tip that not only makes greasing muffin tins easier, but gives you one last use for your butter wrappers before you toss them out. When you finish a stick of butter, fold the wrapper in half and store it in a sealed container in the fridge. When it comes time to grease muffin tins, just rub the buttered side in each cup! It’s quick and there’s no mess.

Smart Baking

When baking muffin or cupcakes, fill empty cups in your muffin tin with water. This will ensure they bake evenly, and that your tin won’t warp.

Cupcake Special Effects

Ever wondered how to make cupcakes with the icing on the inside? It’s easy: Once your cupcakes are baked and cooled, poke a hole through the top of each one with a straw. Using a pastry bag or a plastic sandwich bag with the corner snipped off, pipe frosting through the hole you just made. Then, spread frosting over the tops to cover the hole, or hide it with a chocolate chip or other candy. 

Prevent Soggy Muffin Bottoms

Prevent muffins from getting soggy bottoms by letting them crisp a little longer in the pan. After removing the pan from the oven, just let it sit for 10 minutes before transferring each muffin to a wire rack to finish cooling.

For Stuck Muffins

If you appreciate second uses for household items as much was we do, you’ll love this tip. If you’re having trouble getting your muffins out of the pan, try using a (clean) shoehorn! The curved shape should help them pop right out.

Hold Your Cake and Eat it Too

Little kids usually end up eating cake with their hands anyway, so try this fun dessert treat: Fill flat-bottomed ice cream cones with cake batter and bake them for a cupcake/ice cream cone hybrid. Get the recipe and more directions here.

Giving Cupcakes or Muffins as a Gift?

Baked goods make perfect gifts. And the perfect container is closer than you might think: Empty aluminum-foil and plastic-wrap boxes! Cover the box in some nice gift wrap, line the inside with tissue paper, and stick your treats inside. They’re the ideal size for cupcakes and muffins!

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