Cupcake Help! Please:)
Hello my name is Joseph and i'm 17 years old and am an aspiring cook/actor. I am the only close thing to a cook in my family so i have questions. This one is my biggest question.
What is needed as a base for cupcakes and frosting.
What ingredients do i need and how much flavoring do i use?
Also how long do i let them bake in the oven and at what temperature?
My goal is to be able to make different flavored home made cupcakes and frosting.
Thanks so much in advance I hope my question was clear enough. =)
The reason people are warning you away from experimentation is that baking is chemistry; recipes are like delicate scientific formulas, and any change you make is likely to have unintended consequences.
If you take a basic vanilla cupcake recipe, for example, and add some melted chocolate (or cocoa) in order to turn them into chocolate cupcakes, you aren't just adding "chocolate flavor". You're also messing with the ratio of solid to liquid ingredients, and adding fat, and possibly changing the pH.
If you're really interested, I would recommend reading up on some of this chemistry so that you have some idea of what you're really doing whenever you tweak a recipe.
For example: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-baking-soda.htm
This article clues you in on the fact that baking soda requires an acid in order to react-- which is why, say, if a recipe calls for lemon juice or buttermilk and you leave it out, your cupcakes may not rise.
This bit on dutch cocoa also deals with the role of acidity/alkilinity in baking.
This website is a bit cluttered but I believe it has a lot of useful info dealing with the nitty gritty basic facts of baking.
You know it is interesting that this thread came along. I just saw a mini cupcake maker on amazon. It makes 6 mini cupcakes in 5 minutes. It is about $19.00. http://www.amazon.com/Smart-Planet-MC...
Other than that my advice is to follow the recipes exactly. Baking is a science not an art. Baking recipes are formulas that have to be followed and deviations usually get punished.
Psst... by the way. You can buy mixes that aren't too bad. They are far better than the grocery store bakery. Oh boy am I gonna catch a lot of flack over that statement.
re: Hank Hanover
Most box cake mixes will say they make 24 cupcakes but it's more like 18-20 if you want them to be the typical size of a bakery cupcake. Paper liners make the process a lot easier. If you use foil liners you can bake without a muffin tin, but it's best to have a paper liner between the batter and the foil, since after baking in foil only, it tears into tiny pieces when you try to peel the foil away. When using mixes, it is worth testing the difference in flavor and texture between using oil, as per the instructions, or melted butter. Either will work, with butter providing better flavor but oil better texture.
Martha Stewart has a Cupcakes cookbook - her recipes are reliably researched and written.
Baking from scratch is mostly a matter of following directions, measuring correctly, and having the correct ingredients on hand (for most baked goods, flour, sugar, salt, butter, eggs, baking soda and/or baking powder). Once you know the basic techniques, it's easy. But since you mentioned that nobody in your family cooks and you're not familiar with some basic cooking techniques, have you thought about trying a box mix first? This will give you an idea of how to mix and bake the cupcakes, with easy-to-follow and specific instructions. After doing a practice run with a mix, you can branch out and try a few recipes on your own. Just a suggestion.
I agree with Maxie. What you need are recipes. Any search engine can find you hundreds.
I do find this one particularly inspiring, but bear in mind that to a certain extent, the recipes are written for people who already know a bit what they're doing (for example, they don't clarify how many cupcakes each recipe makes). But give it a shot.