Monday, June 25, 2012

Macon Bakin' Cupcakes Tips

Last week, I successfully completed a new kitchen challenge...making a mass quantity of cupcakes. 140 mini cupcakes to be exact. While I'd like to think that I've mastered the art of creating delicious cupcakes, I had never tried to decorate, store, or transport so many at one time. For the most part, everything went smoothly! They all looked beautiful and most importantly, they tasted great!



These cupcakes were presented at Literacy Mid-South's Literatini event this past Thursday night at The Booksellers at Laurelwood, along with yummy martinis from various local restaurants.  I'm honored that Macon Bakin' Cupcakes was able to be a part of this! There was a great crowd as tickets sold out, and the bookstore had some great sales with 20% of all proceeds donated to help better the lives of Memphians who struggle with literacy.


You can still help support Literacy Mid-South by shopping at your local bookstore when you sign up for the Gives Back Program. Not only will you save money, but a portion of every transaction you make will be donated to the community partner of your choosing including, Literacy Mid-South, Le Bonheur, Arts Memphis, WKNO, and Theatre Memphis.

The reviews of my cupcakes were wonderful! I met a lot of people who kept going back for seconds, thirds, and more! If you're ever interested in my cupcakes for an event/holiday/party/etc. you can contact me on my Macon Bakin' Cupcakes facebook page, here.

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As I gathered my ingredients for this venture, I considered sharing my chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake recipe with you all, but that wouldn't make much sense seeing how I have my little side business and all. Instead, I'd like to offer some cupcake bakin' tips that I have learned from numerous mistakes, as well as from the advice of some amazing bakers (such as my beautiful mother).

Tip 1: Costly Butter, Cheap Butter, Fake Butter
When buying your ingredients at the grocery store, it can be tempting to buy the cheap stuff, or margarine. DON'T! Margarine and cheap butter have a higher water content which can cause it to separate when making butter creams. And when baking, less fat and more water can become an overpowering binding agent, causing layers of batter to stick together creating a tougher cupcake.

Tip 2: Creaming Butter at the Right Temperature

Whether you're making cupcake batter or a buttercream frosting, you will have to cream your butter. In order to do this, butter must be at perfect temperature. If it's too hard, you could potentially blow out your mixer (this has happened to me unfortunately), and if it's melted in the least bit your cupcake will be tough. DO NOT put your butter in the microwave. Even if it doesn't look melted, you've allowed too much water to come through the butter, thus creating the binding agent mentioned above.

If you're like me, you probably don't have time to remember to set the butter on the counter an hour before baking in order for it to reach room temperature. So you have two options. 1. Cut the butter into cubes and wait. When you touch a cube and it leaves an imprint of your finger, it's ready. 2. The fastest method for me is to grate the butter. It may get a little messy, but it's worth it being done right and quickly.



Tip 2: Mini Cupcakes
When making mini cupcakes, start out with a normal cupcake batch. The amount of mini cupcakes will be triple the amount of regular sized cupcakes (if your recipe yields 12 normal sized cakes, you'll end up with 36 minis). So depending on how many you want to make, you can always cut the recipe in half. 

Tip 3: Mini Cupcakes Baking Time
 I bake my minis at the same temperature as my normal sized cupcakes. Usually, I cut the baking time down to 10-14 minutes and they always come out perfect. Always check the readiness of your cupcakes by sticking a toothpick (or a fork if you don't have any) in the center. If it comes out 100% clean, they're ready to be taken out of the oven.


Tip 4: Filling Cupcake Liners
Normally when I'm baking regular sized cupcakes, I like to use a cookie dough scooper to fill my liners. This ensures you have a consistent amount of batter in each cup allowing each cake to bake evenly.

But when baking mini cupcakes, even a spoon is too big to fill the liners without making a mess. Instead, I suggest using a pastry bag. If you don't have any pastry bags, you can always cut off the corner of a ziplock bag and use that instead. Using this method keeps the liners and baking pan clean while ensuring 3/4 of the liner is filled.

Tip 5: 
 Cupcake Cooling
After you pull your cupcakes out of the oven, let them cool in the pan for only a minute. Afterwards, carefully remove them by gently tipping the pan, or using a fork to take them out individually, and let them cool on a wire rack (or any other surface if you don't have one). Keeping cupcakes in the pan longer than needs be can cause them to dry out and even seperate from the cupcake liners (another catastrophe I've had happen in the past).


Tip 6: Basic Decorating Cupcakes
Obviously, you need to allow your cakes to cool before applying any type of frosting to prevent it from melting. But if you're frosting a large batch like I did last week, you need to move fast adding any additional toppings after the butter cream is used. In my case, I waited until I had frosted 140 cupcakes before adding my chocolate chips... By the time I went to sprinkle them on, the butter cream was no longer soft enough for them to stick. Hand placing every single chocolate chip on 140 cupcakes is not fun.




Not only do risk more labor in waiting too long, you also risk cracking the beautiful swirls of butter cream. I suggest frosting a few and then add your decorations, and repeat. Or using a baking assistant which I will be doing for the first time ever this week with Jim Jam!



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Those are just a few tips that I can think off the top of my head for now. I'll be sure to share some more in future. This week for Macon Bakin' Cupcakes I'll be making 48 cupcakes for the wonderful nurses who have taken such good care of my little nephews in NICU! They get to come home soon!

1 comment:

  1. Aww that's so sweet to make cupcakes for the hard-working nurses. Jamie gets to be your baking assistant this week? hehe :)

    ReplyDelete