5 ways to take your cupcakes from good to glorious

One of the best things about cupcake making is that it tempts even the most left-brained of people to dig out their creativity.

The problem is that most of us decide after the first or second attempt that our cupcakes ‘just donʼt look like the ones in the book’, or a work colleague brought more impressive ones to the last office party. And so we are reluctant to try again, right? Here are a few pointers that will help your cupcakes stand out from the crowd.
1. Find a good cupcake recipe and practice
There are so many factors that affect baking results – the ingredients, the climate, the altitude, the kind of oven you have, the size of your pan and the list goes on. Hence it’s a good idea to find a recipe from a trustworthy source and then just keep practicing it until you are satisfied with the results. You may alter the ingredients and instructions a little every time; if your cupcakes rise too much, then use a little less baking powder next time, if they are too flat then add a bit more. That kind of thing. For cupcake recipes, there are some great baking and cupcake books waiting for you here on Yuppiechef.com and you might like to try this easy recipe and read a little more about the science behind cupcakes.

2. Learn how to use a piping bag
Piping bags can be a little scary, but they are not that difficult to use, trust me. All you need is a little practice. And once you have mastered the technique, you will never look back. Piped icing just looks so much more impressive. Here’s a short tutorial on how to use a piping bag.

You can also find some great piping tools on Yuppiechef.com.
3. Use simple but effective decorations
It is tempting to go completely overboard with decorations every now and then, but the truth is no one really wants to eat something that looks like one of grandmaʼs elaborate porcelain ornaments. In my humble opinion, simple decorations are the best – colourful or silver sprinkles, simple flowers or chocolate malt balls. Fresh fruit is also a great cupcake topper – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or anything that is in season.
4. Make sure you use the right amount of batter per cupcake
This may sound obvious but it really impacts the overall appearance of a batch of cupcakes. If you use too little, the cupcakes will be too small, leaving the cupcake liners half empty. If you use too much, the dough will run over the top when it rises and the final product might look slightly messy.

The ‘right amount’ of batter per cupcake will again depend on your recipe, your oven and so on. 5. Experiment with different flavours and colours
Once you have confidently mastered one cupcake recipe, you can start experimenting with flavours and colours to create your own personal signature cupcake. If you love milo, you might start experimenting by adding some to the batter or icing. If pineapple is your favourite flavour, you could find a way to incorporate it into your cupcakes. You can also combine flavours, and try adding coconut to the pineapple perhaps. (Did anyone say pina colada cupcake?) You could even start filling your cupcake with your filling of choice (try this handy cupcake corer). The cupcake world is your oyster.

Cupcake making is not about getting things perfect, but more about letting your creativity shine through. I hope this post will inspire you to keep making cupcakes, well, until the world ends. We all need more cupcakes in our lives, donʼt you think?