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How to fill and bake the perfect cupcake

Have you ever struggled with how to fill and bake the perfect cupcake? If you’ve been experiencing dense cupcakes that don’t rise, batter that overflows, cupcakes with gummy centers, or cupcakes sticking to the liners, here are some easy and quick fixes to help you bake perfect cupcakes every time!

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I’ve baked and sold a lot of cupcakes over the past 15 years. (I estimate I’ve sold over 1 million!) I finally got to the point where my cupcakes turned out perfectly every time, but it wasn’t always like that. Finding the best way to achieve uniform cupcakes with the perfect little dome took lots of trial and error. I had to portion the right amount of cupcake batter, find the best paper cupcake liners, and dial in the baking time.  There is always a personal preference for how you want your cupcakes to look, but in this blog post, I’ll be sharing the general guidelines to make what I consider to be the best cupcake!

A good cupcake starts with a good recipe

A good cupcake starts with a good recipe because it sets the stage for everything that follows. Whether adapting your favorite cake batter for cupcakes or using a cake mix, a good recipe will help you get great results.

Tips for making cupcakes from a cake mix

If you’re short on time, you can create delicious cupcakes from a cake mix. Just follow these tips:

  • Start with a 15.25 oz box of cake mix
  • Use the amount of eggs as directed on the box
  • Replace the oil with room temperature, unsalted butter
  • Hold back a little on the water for a thicker batter
  • Fill the cupcake about ⅔ full

How to make cupcakes from a cake recipe

It might surprise you to learn that there isn’t a difference between a cake recipe and a cupcake recipe. It’s more about choosing the right recipe to bake into cupcakes. Here are a few tips for choosing a cake recipe to use for baking cupcakes:

  • Look for white cake recipes that start with a creamed butter and sugar method. This will help you avoid crumbly cupcakes with a cornbread texture.
  • Avoid using recipes for pound cakes and sponge cakes because they can be tricky to make into cupcakes.
  • For a super moist chocolate cupcake, use a recipe that calls for mixing the dry ingredients together, adding the wet ingredients (like eggs, oil, and buttermilk), and blending until you have a smooth batter. They are often runnier than a white cake batter, but can still make great cupcakes.

💡Pro Tip: A cake recipe that makes two 8″ round cakes will make between 18-24 regular cupcakes.

This set of three cookie scoops includes small, medium and large sizes that are perfect for making standard, mini, and jumbo cupcakes.

How much batter does each size cupcake hold?

  • Standard-size cupcakes hold 2 ounces or about 3-4 tablespoons of batter (yellow, #20)
  • Jumbo cupcakes hold about 6 ounces or about one-half a cup of batter (2 scoops blue, #16)
  • Mini cupcakes hold 1 ½ ounces of batter or about 1 tablespoon of batter (purple, #30)

To prevent cupcakes from overflowing during baking, resist the temptation to overfill the cupcake liners. Aim for about two-thirds full to allow room for expansion, but you may need to adjust the batter amounts for different recipes. 

how much batter per cupcake

Choosing Liners and Pans

Your choice of liners and pans can make a big difference. Use standard cupcake paper liners that fit into a standard muffin pan for regular-sized cupcakes. Opt for jumbo cupcake liners and muffin tins if you want larger cupcakes. You’ll need a mini cupcake pan and corresponding liners for mini cupcakes.

💡Pro Tip: If your cupcakes are sticking to the liners, try a different recipe. Some batters are very high in sugar, which caramelizes against the paper liners. I don’t recommend skipping the liners in lieu of pan spray or reusable silicone liners. Paper cupcake liners are the best. 

How long does it take to bake a cupcake?

Cupcakes take about 15-25 minutes to bake, but the bake time can depend on what type of cake batter you use, the size of your cupcakes, and your oven temperature. 

Baking time for cupcakes

  • Standard size- 20- 22 minutes
  • Jumbo size- 30-35 minutes
  • Mini size- 10-12 minutes

To check if your cupcakes are done, insert a toothpick into the center of one. They’re ready if it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. If it’s still wet, bake for a few more minutes and check again.

💡Pro Tip: To bake cupcakes with the perfect little dome, ensure you fill each cupcake liner about two-thirds full with batter, leaving room for the batter to rise. Additionally, preheat your oven to the specified temperature, usually around 350°F (175°C), and avoid overmixing the batter, which can lead to gummy centers and uneven domes.

how much batter per cupcake

Cooling and storing cupcakes

Here are my tips for cooling and storing unfrosted cupcakes:

Cool Completely: Allow your unfrosted cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack before storing them. This helps prevent moisture buildup, which can make the cupcakes soggy.

Individual Wrapping: Once cooled, individually wrap each cupcake in plastic wrap or place them in airtight containers. This prevents them from drying out and helps maintain freshness.

Layer Separation: If you need to stack the cupcakes in a container, place parchment paper or wax paper between the layers to prevent them from sticking together or getting damaged.

Storage Condition: Store the wrapped or containerized cupcakes in a cool, dry place at room temperature. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, as this can cause the cupcakes to become too warm and affect their texture.

Following these tips will help keep your unfrosted cupcakes fresh and delicious until you’re ready to add the frosting and enjoy them.

how much batter per cupcake

Now you can fill and bake the perfect cupcake!

The secret to baking the perfect cupcakes lies in precise measurements, uniform portioning, and paying attention to baking time and temperature. Whether baking classic vanilla cupcakes,  Red Velvet Cupcakes with Pecan Praline Topping or making my best selling Death by Chocolate Cupcake, following these steps is the easiest way to achieve delicious cupcakes and the best results that will impress everyone.