Tag Archives: cupcake troubleshooting

Happy Cakes

Since the last entry “Cupcake Disaster” I have reverted to using the Primrose Bakery Vanilla Cupcake recipe.

I think I have mastered the art of not over-beating the mixture, although I do still tend to hover around the oven whilst they are cooking to see if they are rising. When I see they are, I do heave a huge sigh of relief.

Anyway, a couple of batches after the disaster SC tries a cake and says “Mummy, these are delicious! What did you do to make them so scrummy?”

To which I replied, “I made them with love and happiness!”

He loved that explanation, so we have renamed them happy cakes, and every time he tries one from a new batch he always says they are good happy cakes 😉

Happy cakes it would seem go down well in this house – by George, I may have cracked the basic cupcake recipe.

Maybe it’s time to take the cupcake making to the next level?

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking

Cupcake Disaster!!

The weekend saw my first major-league cupcake DISASTER!!

I had used a new recipe 2 weeks ago – the Primrose Bakery vanilla cupcake recipe.

It was a good recipe and resulted in a good textured cupcake. More akin to the shop-bought cupcakes than I have managed to get in my attempts so far.

I’m not sure if it was because the recipe used a larger quantity of all-purpose flour in relation to self-raising flour, or because when it came to adding the flour and milk the recipe said “beat”, so I dispensed with the folding technique and just carried on using my electric beater.

Anyway, I used the same recipe again at the weekend.

I thought when I was spooning the mixture into the cake cases that it didn’t look, or feel right. Then the cakes didn’t rise as much as normal.

I had no inkling anything could be wrong.

But the cakes were so YUCK, even SC couldn’t eat them. He took one mouthful, look puzzled, then took a smaller mouthful, before spitting it out and saying “YUCK! These are disgusting!”

I was at a loss. I had used the same recipe, what could possibly have gone wrong?

I narrowed it down to 2 possibilities:

1.  I had used different sugar. I replaced my light brown sugar with fruit sugar – natural sugar where you need to use one-third less.

or

2. I had done something wrong in the mixing process.

I had also made a batch of rock cakes that morning using the fruit sugar – yes, Saturday is a good morning. The kitchen always smells scrummy!

The rock cakes had turned out fine, and tasted good.

So, I don’t think it could have been the use of a different sugar.

Where had I, then, gone wrong in the mixing process?

The only thing I could think of that I had done differently was to keep the beater on whilst adding the flour and milk. I must have over-beaten it. I had no idea this was even possible to over-beat a cake!

When I was adding the last remnants of milk into the mixture it did keep clinging to the beater. I guess that should have given me a clue that something was wrong.

Still, we live and learn. One batch of bad cupcakes is not a total disaster, just a learning curve.

Note to self, don’t over-mix next time.

I did make another batch on Sunday morning, still using the beater but making sure I turned it off between flour and milk additions, and the cakes turned out perfectly 😉

1 Comment

Filed under Cooking

Cupcake Trials #4

Well, I made another batch.

Now, when I was young a supermarket used to sell cupcakes, nothing as fancy as todays standards, but just sponge with an icing top. The cakes were very dense in texture, but light at the same time. How?

I had a teeny, tiny, blip when adding the flour and milk. My mind had wandered off and I just weighed out the self-raising flour straight into the mixture, and was about to do the same with the plain flour, when I realised, what I had done.

So the mixture had self-raising flour added and folded in, then some milk, then half the amount of plain flour, some more milk, the remaining flour and then the remaining milk.

This oversight on my part has not, thankfully caused any difference to the cakes. They are still edible 😉

I just can’t get the texture of ones you get at the bakery (and I’m not talking cupcake specialists here). They still just have the consistency of a  slightly denser Victoria sponge.

Could it be that I should only use plain (all-purpose) flour and dispense with the self-raising aspect and add a small amount of baking powder, to assist with the rising?

Also I use pure vanilla extract, and I still can’t taste it. Is vanilla essence stronger, even though it’s not as ‘pure’?

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking

Cupcake Trials – Attempt #3

A bad workman always blames his tools. So in the spirit of this old saying I will say that the first 2 cupcake batches have not turned out perfectly due to lack of the right equipment.

Actually, it is more correct to say that it was just a bad workman!

The first attempt I used a recipe that I found online. It was a ‘Magnolia Bakery’ recipe. Yes! That famous New York City cupcakery made famous by Sex & the City

Not that the cakes turned out inedible, far from it. Let’s just say that when one copies a recipe off the internet it is wise to copy all of it and not just the ingredients list! I made-up the recipe Using the same method I do for fairy cakes, popped the oven on the same temperature and guessed the length of cooking time.

Looking back, the lessons learned were to read the whole recipe and put the oven at the correct temperature!

For the second batch I found a vanilla cupcake recipe in a party cake book that had been languishing at the back of my wardrobe for ages. Pretty much the same recipe as the ‘Magnolia’ one, but this time I had a method as well. Foolproof? You would think, wouldn’t you?

I followed the recipe to the letter, remembering to alternate between flour and milk at the folding stage. I had the oven at the correct temperature, at least I think I did, and put them in to cook for the correct amount of time. Checking with a skewer before removing them from the oven.

The result?

A much better cupcake consistency, but they were slightly undercooked and still the tops cracked. They did not have that perfect dome top!

Thinking about the first 2 batches, they are a bit like my 2 major relationships. The first a complete disaster and the second seemingly the right mix, but on further inspection another unmitigated disaster!

Third attempt this afternoon, after purchase of a proper tin to cook cupcakes in. I dispensed with using proper butter and White caster sugar and reverted to my normal soya margarine and light brown sugar.

The result?

Well they smell OK, seem to be better cooked. Haven’t tasted them yet, but it looks promising.

Will let you know how they taste!

2 Comments

Filed under Cooking