Back to Basics for National Cupcake Week

Posted on 12 Sep 2016 by Anna Scott
Most of us don’t need an excuse to eat the odd cupcake or two, but seeing as its National Cupcake Week this feels like the perfect opportunity to get the baking tray and food colouring out. But what if you’re short a few of the basics required for cupcake creation? Worry not because we’ve put together a small guide to those essentials, including equipment, ingredients and decorating bits and pieces. You might even find yourself entering for the next series of The Great British Bake Off once you get going, if you’re not too busy eating your carefully crafted cupcakes that is…


Essential Equipment

Homemade cupcakesWell the first thing you need is a working oven, so best get that sorted if there are any problems. On a more serious but not entirely unrelated note, have you considered investing in a good oven thermometer? You might be wondering exactly why you might need one, and that brings us back onto the subject of having a working oven – it may have an inbuilt thermometer but how accurate is it? Baking, particularly baking cupcakes, relies on consistency and accuracy and ovens can be temperamental things when it comes to these two things. But you don’t have to go investing in a brand new kitchen appliance – a good oven thermometer will give you an accurate reading and you can adjust your oven accordingly.

The next piece of obvious equipment is a cupcake tray, but you might want to invest in two or three sizes if you plan on attempting muffins and mini cupcakes too. And with cupcake trays comes a good supply of cupcake liners and/or cases. How many times have you prepared your cake mix to open the cupboard and find you’re all out?

Other items you might not have considered but can make your cupcake experience so much easier is firstly a set of measuring spoons - when baking something on such a small scale, accuracy is key, and this rule also applies to scoops. Spooning your mixture into those cupcake cases is all very well and good, but for uniform cupcakes, an accurate scoop measure makes all the difference. If you’re short of any of the above, take a look at the latest House of Fraser promo codes or Dunelm discount codes for some good value and good quality bakeware essentials that can get you kitted out in no time.


Essential Ingredients

Sieve flourThere are hundreds, probably thousands, of different cupcake recipes out there and we obviously can’t list every single ingredient you might need for every eventuality, but there are some basics that you should have stashed away in your cupboard and fridge for when the cupcake fever takes hold…

To make a basic sponge you will always need a good quality self-raising flour. We say good quality, because the raising potential of some cheaper brands might not do the job. Secondly, there’s baking powder and bicarbonate of soda for when a recipe dictates more raising is required. The next store cupboard essential is vanilla extract – always buy extract instead of essence because it may be more expensive but the flavour is so much better. And lastly there’s salt, something you might not associate with a cupcake, but a pinch of the stuff can bring out the flavour in your sponge.

When it comes to dairy essentials, there are eggs (free range, of course), unsalted butter and milk to change the consistency of your sponge.

You might not need all of these ingredients depending on what recipe you’re using (you can substitute the milk for lemon juice if you’re making a lemon sponge for example), but it’s well worth making sure you have them to hand most of the time for any cupcake emergencies.


Essential Decorations

Animal cupcakesNow, how much you want to take away from this section very much depends on how serious you are about your cupcakes. There’s nothing wrong with a dollop of icing on the top, but with more intricate cupcakes requires more investment in decorating tools and accessories.

Hobbycraft promotional codes can get you a great deal on items such as mini icing palette knives, modelling tool sets, plunger and rotary cutters for fondant icing and mini rolling pins, and when you get kitted out, you’ll see that every star cake decorator is only as good as their equipment. And when it comes to actual decorations, it’s always worth having a jar of sprinkles to hand…


So if you’re not going to bake some cupcakes during National Cupcake Week, then when are you going to bake them? Well, every day if you stock up with all this essential stuff…

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