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National Cupcake Day

Baking and Decorating Tips

Below are some delicious tips and tricks to help make your National Cupcake Day a success! Have fun!

Baking Tips

  1. Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature (eggs, butter, milk, buttermilk).
  2. Weighing ingredients on a digital scale is the most accurate way of measuring.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy this will take approximately 5 minutes.
  4. “Eggs” typically means grade “A” large eggs. Please consider using free range eggs.
  5. Whisk dry ingredients together before adding to wet ingredients.
  6. Always start with dry ingredients when alternating with wet ingredients (3 dry additions, 2 wet).
  7. Don’t over mix once dry ingredients are added. Mix on low speed until incorporated.
  8. Always wait for the oven to reach the correct temperature before baking.
  9. Use the middle rack in your oven and rotate your cupcakes or cakes halfway through baking.
  10. Remove cupcakes from pan immediately after baking and place on a wire rack.

Decorating Tips

  1. Always stir your frosting until it’s soft and fluffy before using it.
  2. Make sure your cupcakes are cool before icing them.
  3. Use food colouring sparingly! Start with a drop and add more until you have the desired colour.
  4. If you don’t have piping bags you can use Ziploc bags instead. Use scissors to snip off a small V-shape (to imitate a leaf tip), M-shape (to imitate a star tip) or plain cut from the corner.
  5. A small offset spatula (available at baking supply stores) is a handy tool for spreading icing on cupcakes. If you can’t find one then a regular knife can be substituted.
  6. To make multi-coloured fur for cute animal cupcakes, hold your piping bag (or Ziploc bag) open and spread a thick line of each of 2 colours of frosting up opposite sides of the bag. Fill the bag down the centre with a third colour (if using).
  7. Use thin chocolate wafer cookies for dog ears they can be cut to shape with a serrated knife. Use a gentle sawing motion, taking care not to crack or crush the cookie.
  8. Use jelly beans, M&M’s, mini chocolate chips and marshmallows for eyes and noses.
  9. Semisoft and pliable candies such as tootsie rolls, caramels and starbursts can be moulded, rolled and cut into tongues and ears.
  10. Rolled fondant (available at baking supply stores) can be rolled thin and cut into shapes with small cookie cutters (e.g. dog bone, animal shapes). Let them dry overnight and place on your buttercream covered cupcake.

Anna Olsen's Lemon Coconut Cupcakes

Download the recipe card here!

Cupcake Ingredients:

2 ½ cups (625 mL)                            cake & pastry flour

1 ½ cups (375 mL)                            sugar, divided

1 Tbsp (15 mL)                                  baking powder

½ tsp (2 mL)                                      salt

1 Tbsp (15 mL)                                  finely grated lemon zest

¾ cup (175 mL)                                 buttermilk

1/3 cup (80 mL)                                 vegetable oil

¼ cup (60 mL)                                   lemon juice

2                                                         large eggs, separated

1 ½ tsp (7 mL)                                   vanilla extract


Baking Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) and line 2 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

Sift the flour with 1 cup (250 mL) of the sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the lemon zest.

In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, oil, lemon juice, egg yolks and vanilla. Whisk this into the dry mixture until well-blended and set aside while whipping the whites.

Using electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the egg whites until they are frothy and then gradually add the remaining ½ cup (125 mL) of sugar while whipping. Continue to whip until the beaters hold a soft peak when lifted (this will take about 3 minutes, and the whites will be very glossy). Fold the whites into the batter in 2 additions until evenly blended. 

Spoon the batter (using an ice cream scoop is easiest) into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 15-17 minutes until the cupcakes spring back in the centre when gently pressed (the cupcakes will not brown much). 

Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tins before frosting.

Frosting Ingredients:

¾ cup 175 mL)                                 unsalted butter, at room temperature

4-6 cups (1-1.5 L)                             icing sugar, sifted

6 Tbsp (90 mL)                                  coconut milk

1 tsp      (5 mL)                                  vanilla extract

½ tsp      (2 mL)                                coconut extract

                                                          sweetened flaked coconut, for décor

                                                          Hershey’s CHIPITS white chocolate chips, for décor


Icing Instructions:

Beat the butter and 2 cups (500 mL) of the icing sugar with electric beaters or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until blended. Add the coconut milk, vanilla and coconut extract and beat in. 

Add 2 more cups (500 mL) of icing sugar, beat on low speed and then beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, adding more icing sugar as needed until the frosting holds its shape when the beaters are lifted (the variation in amount of icing sugar is due to how soft the butter is, and how warm and/or humid the weather is).

Spoon or pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and sprinkle with coconut and white chocolate chips. Do not refrigerate the cupcakes, if preparing ahead.

Decoration Ingredients:

1 recipe                lemon cupcakes

1 recipe                coconut frosting

                             piping bag with a #21 small star tip

12                         large marshmallows, cut in half

48                         brown Reese’s Pieces, or CHIPITS dark chocolate chips

24                         red or pink candies, for the tongue

24                         Hershey’s milk chocolate “Drops” (for nose)

Decoration Instructions:

Pipe a little frosting to adhere a marshmallow half onto the cupcake, to make the muzzle. Place it at “6 o’clock” on the cupcake.

Pipe frosting up the sides of the marshmallow to cover the top of the muzzle, and the remaining surface of the cupcake until covered. 

Press two brown Reese’s Pieces or chocolate chips upright (not flat) just above the marshmallow muzzle for the eyes.  Place a Hershey’s “Drop” on the muzzle as the nose and tuck a pink or red candy under the muzzle as the tongue.

For the ears, pipe an upside down “L” on each side of the eyes

The cupcakes will keep, wrapped and unrefrigerated, for 2 days.

Makes 24 cupcakes.


Anna Olsen's Double Apple Pupcakes

A wholesome treat for the puppy or dog in your family!  Download the recipe card here.


4 cups (1 L)                        whole wheat flour

1 Tbsp (15 mL)                   baking powder

¼ tsp (1 mL)                       ground cinnamon

1 ½ cups (375 mL)             unsweetened applesauce

1 ½ cups (375 mL)             water

¼ cup (60 mL)                    fancy molasses

3 Tbsp (45 mL)                   olive oil

1                                          large egg

1 cup (250 mL)                   chopped dried apples


Baking Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).  Lightly grease mini muffin tins.

Stir the flour, baking powder and cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the applesauce, water, molasses, oil, and egg together. Add this to the flour all at once and stir until blended. Stir in the chopped dried apples. 

Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tins and bake for about 30 minutes, until the pupcakes spring back when gently pressed. Let the pupcakes cool for 15 minutes in the tin before turning out.

The pupcakes will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Makes 48 mini pupcakes.