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 or coconut oil and sugar (for approximately 5 minutes) until pale and fluffy.
  4. Whisk dry ingredients together before adding to wet ingredients.
  5. Always start with dry ingredients when alternating with wet ingredients (3 dry additions, 2 wet).
  6. Don’t over mix once dry ingredients are added. Mix on low speed until incorporated.
  7. Always wait for the oven to reach the correct temperature before baking.
  8. Use the middle rack in your oven and rotate your cupcakes or cakes halfway through baking.
  9. Remove cupcakes from pan immediately after baking and place on a wire rack for cooling.

Decorating Tips

  1. Make sure your cupcakes are cool before icing them.
  2. 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 a plain cut from the corner.
  3. A small spatula is a handy tool for spreading icing on cupcakes. If you can’t find one then a regular knife can be substituted.
  4. 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).
  5. Thin chocolate wafer cookies make for great dog ears - they can be cut to shape with a serrated knife.
  6. Candy such as jelly beans, M&M’s, mini chocolate chips and marshmallows make great eyes and noses.
  7. Semisoft and pliable candies such as tootsie rolls, caramels and starbursts can be moulded, rolled and cut into tongues and ears.

Rolled fondant 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. For more inspiration on all things Cupcake visit our Pinterest Page.

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Try This Recipe!


Recipe by Mary Berg, host of Mary's Big Kitchen Party.

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 ½ cups good quality cocoa powder
  3. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  4. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  5. ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  6. 2 cups sugar
  7. 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
  8. 4 eggs
  9. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  10. 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  11. 2 cups buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 350F and line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Give it a bit of a stir to combine and set aside.

Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the sugar and oil together for 1 minute.  Add the eggs in one at time, beating well after each addition and continuing to beat for 2 minutes or until the mixture looks a little lighter in colour.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the vanilla extract and espresso powder.  Add that to the buttermilk and set aside.

When the oil and sugar mixture is nicely creamed, add approximately a third of the dry ingredients and beat together until almost combined.  Add in half of the buttermilk mixture and, again, beat just until almost combined.  Continue with this wet/dry method, ending with the last third of the dry ingredients.  Be careful not to over mix after the last addition!  Over mixing will lead to peaked and potentially cracked cupcakes!

Scoop about ¼ cup of batter into each little cupcake liner and bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 20–25 minutes.

Chocolate Buttercream

  1. 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 1 cup good quality cocoa powder
  3. 5 cups icing sugar
  4. ½–¾ cup whipping cream
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  7. ½­­–1 teaspoon kosher salt

Beat together the butter and cocoa powder and gradually add in the icing sugar.  The mixture will be a little crumbly but that’s where the whipping cream comes in!  With the mixer running, slowly stream in the whipping cream, starting with ½ cup then increasing to ¾ cup if necessary.

In a small bowl, combine the vanilla extract with the espresso powder and add it to the buttercream mixture.  Beat in the salt and use immediately.