Baking the perfect cupcake doesn't happen by accident; it involves meticulous preparation and a tried-and-true recipe. But it may require some experimentation at first if you're not having the best luck getting moist, fluffy cupcakes, even with a recipe. Here are some tips.
When baking from scratch, do not substitute all-purpose flour for cake flour, as the former can create a dry texture. Measure out the ingredients as precisely as possible according to the recipe or package directions.
Let the refrigerated ingredients like eggs and milk reach room temperature before baking. This ensures that the ingredients mix together smoothly and you don't over-mix the batter just to soften hard, chilled ingredients. Over-mixing introduces too much air into the batter, resulting in hard, inedible cupcakes.
Add moistening agents to the cupcake batter: applesauce, mayonnaise or ground zucchini work well. These can be used in conjunction with or to replace butter, water and other wet ingredients in the recipe.
Keep an Eye on Baking Time
Check on the cupcakes halfway through the recipe's suggested baking time. Stick a toothpick into the center and slowly pull it out. If there's still batter on the toothpick, the cupcakes are not fully baked. If the toothpick is clean, the cupcakes are done and ready to be pulled out of the oven. Remember that the cooking times are suggestions, and different ovens and altitudes affect the cupcakes' baking time.
Serve Them ASAP
Serve the cupcakes as quickly as possible after they're cooled and frosted. The longer the cupcakes are left out, the harder they become.