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      Tips for Baking the Perfect Cupcake

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      Sometimes your cupcakes might not turn out quite like you wanted them to. Follow these tips for baking perfect cupcake treats for your friends andfamily:

      1. Fill your cupcake wells 1/2 to 2/3 full. Any more and you will geta gooey mess instead of a beautiful cupcake. If you use less than half a well ofbatter, then you will get wimpy cupcakes and will have to use extra frosting tomake them look larger.

      2. Choose the right cupcake pan. Good cupcake pans are shiny and onthe heavy side. They will cook 6 to 12 cupcakes at a time. Large muffin pansdon't work well for baking precious little cupcakes. Make sure you have two pansavailable because then you won't have to cool a pan before you finish bakingyour cupcakes. Two 12 well cupcake pans should be enough for one batch ofcupcakes.

      3. Make it easy to remove the cupcakes from your pan. Either use paperor foil wrappers or spray the individual wells with a nonstick spray. If youare using the new silicone pans, wrappers or nonstick sprays can be used as well.

      4. Don't overmix your batter. This will cause your cupcakes to berather chewy instead of perfectly moist. Follow the directions in your cupcakerecipe. If your recipe calls for a hand mixer and you are using a stand mixer,you will need to reduce you mixing time. Standmixers mix batters faster than regular hand mixers. Consult your ownersmanual for mixing time adjustments.

      5. Bring all ingredients to room temperature before mixing your cupcakebatter. The items will mix evenly, and the result will be a wonderfulcupcake batter. By mixing cold items into your batter, you risk having a lumpybatter which might cause you to overmix your batter.

      6. Bake your cupcakes at the proper temperature. Preheat your oven tothe correct temperature BEFORE you put your cupcakes in the oven. An oventhermometer would also be a great idea to make sure your oven is set to theright temperature. If your oven cooks food faster at the rear of the oven, thenmake sure you rotate your cupcake pan halfway through the baking time.

      7. Use your favorite cake batter to make cupcakes. Batter for an 8inch layer cake usually makes 20-24 cupcakes. Just make sure you have mixed thebatter well, and only fill the cupcake liners 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bakeapproximately 20 minutes, and check for doneness using a toothpick or caketester inserted into the center of the cupcakes.

      8. Test for doneness after the minimum cooking time. If the cupcakesaren't finished cooking after the minimum time, then place them back in theoven for some additional cooking time. Cupcakes are done when a toothpickinserted in the center comes out clean.

      9. Cook only one pan of cupcakes at a time. Place your cupcake pan inthe very center of your oven. If your oven tends to cook items more that aretowards the back, then rotate your cupcake pan halfway through the cookingtime. If you absolutely have to bake 2 pans of cupcakes at one time, make sureyou switch cupcake pans halfway through the cooking time. By this I mean putthe bottom pan on the top and move the top pan to the bottom.

      10. Cupcakes are besteaten the same day they are made. Undecorated cupcakes can be frozen up to 3months.

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