Cupcakes are a perfect treat for a quick snack or even an elegant dessert. With their moist, sweet cake texture and even sweeter icing, they get gobbled up quickly by both kids and adults. While traditional cupcakes are a mainstay in bakeries and cake shops, baking mini cupcakes at home is an easy way to feed a crowd for events like birthday parties. They also provide perfect portion control, as most mini cupcakes are bite-sized.
How to Prepare Mini Cupcakes
The process to make mini cupcakes begins the same as when making traditional-sized cupcakes. First, decide on the cake and frosting flavor; then prepare as directed by the recipe or boxed cake mix. There’s no need to follow a specific mini cupcake recipe, as any standard cake or cupcake recipe will work. The ingredients and mixing method are the same for any cake or cupcake. The only difference is in the cupcakes’ baking time and temperature, and that depends on the size cupcake pan you use.
How Many Mini Cupcakes Does a Box Make?
A typical boxed cake mix like those in grocery stores, including Betty Crocker, Pillsbury or King Arthur, prepared as directed, makes about 48 mini cupcakes (or about 24 standard-sized cupcakes). Keep in mind that each brand varies slightly, so the count may be off by a few, but standard box mixes intended for a 13-x-9-inch pan will result in about 48 mini cupcakes (four dozen).
How Do I Choose a Cupcake Pan?
To bake mini cupcakes, choose a pan with cups that are about 1.25 inch to 1.5 inch in diameter. They are typically labeled “mini cupcake” or “mini muffin” pans, and most of the varieties online or in home stores come in 24-cup sizes, which means the pan holds 24 cupcakes. Be mindful that industrial-sized pans that hold 48 mini cupcakes exist and you can find them online, but the overall size of the pan may be too large for a home oven.
Preparing the Mini Cupcake Pan
To ensure your cupcakes don’t stick, line each cup with the appropriate-sized cupcake liner. Both paper and foil varieties can be found in grocery stores, specialty cake stores and even craft stores that carry baking supplies. If you prefer to go without a liner, spray each cup with non-stick baking spray and dust each greased cup with flour. Gently shake the tray to evenly distribute the flour and then dump the excess flour. Fill the lined or greased cups about three-quarters full with batter. That should be the equivalent of a heaping tablespoon of batter.
What Temperature to Bake Mini Cupcakes?
Check the specific recipe, but most cupcakes bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, though the temperature can vary slightly depending on the material of the pan. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for shiny or reflective metal (like aluminum) or a glass pan, or lower it to 325 degrees Fahrenheit for a dark or nonstick pan. Dark materials absorb and retain heat better than shiny metals.
How Long Do I Bake Mini Cupcakes?
Bake your mini cupcakes for about 15 minutes. As long as your oven is calibrated and cooks at the temperature that it’s set for, the baking time between undercooked and burned will only be a few minutes, so pay attention. Use a toothpick to check for doneness around 13 or 14 minutes into the baking time. Insert the toothpick or a sharp knife into the center of the cupcake. If it comes out clean with maybe a few crumbs, it’s done. If some batter and crumbs stick to it, it likely needs another 1 to 2 minutes. If it’s mostly wet batter clinging to the toothpick, check again after about 3‒4 minutes.
Kristin Amico is a travel and food writer who quit her full-time job in 2017 to travel the globe while freelancing. Her work has appeared in Hemispheres, Fodor's, The Independent and USA Today. She blogs at howtotraveltheglobe.com.