It’s National Cupcake Day. Here are 5 simple tips to make better cupcakes at home


December 15 is National Cupcake Day (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

There are a lot of celebration days throughout the year, some significant and some silly. Today is National Cupcake Day, which definitely leans more silly than significant but then again, who among us would refuse the handheld, portable cake if offered.

In honor of the day, we checked in with North Salem’s resident cupcake expert, Nicole Utschig of Cole’s Cakes. Utschig launched her cupcake business from her home during the pandemic and has been steadily expanding ever since. Below, Utschig shares her top five tips for making better cupcakes at home.

[North Salem small business spotlight: Cole’s Cakes]

    Photo by Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo

    Use room temperature ingredients

    Utschig advises to never use eggs or milk straight out of the fridge. Instead, room temperature ingredients will ensure that everything incorporates more smoothly.

    Use a kitchen scale

      We’re all used to scooping dry ingredients into measuring cups but Utschig reminds us that baking is a science - precision matters. You don’t have to go fancy; you can get a kitchen scale for less than $10 on Amazon. “Weighing gives the best results” Utschig promises.

      Ditch the mixer

        Those stand mixers may make you feel like a pro but the secret to great cupcakes, Utschig says, is to actually mix the old-fashioned way - by hand. “I found you get a more delicate crumb for your cupcake when mixing by hand,” Utschig says, though she stresses that it all comes down to the technique. “You don’t want to overmix. You want to be gentle with your cupcakes rather than mix like a crazy person.”

        Don’t skip the sift

          “Sifting ingredients is a step I don’t skip,” Utschig says. Sifting ensures more uniformity and eliminates lumps. “No one wants to bite into a cupcake and get a lump of flour.”

          When a recipe calls for cake flour, use cake flour

            Utschig says that cake flour creates a much lighter, fluffier texture for your cupcakes. “It’s softer and airier,” she says. If you don’t have cake flour on hand, don’t fret. You can make your own: for every one cup of flour, remove two tablespoons and add two tablespoons of cornstarch.

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