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Birthday cupcakes. A piece of cake.

Birthday cupcakes. A piece of cake.

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It's safe to say that if you're reading this article, you love your cupcakes. And, these days, there’s never been a better time to be a cupcake aficionado. These tasty and versatile treats have graduated from being scoffed down at children’s birthday parties to being trendy deserts, no matter your age!

It’s true. Birthday cupcakes have grown up. Nowadays, if you can imagine a flavour, chances are you’ll find a cupcake recipe online to match. Sweet potato cupcakes? Done. Champagne cupcakes? Done. Goat’s cheese cupcakes? Done again!

This may indicate that our tastes are getting more sophisticated, but it also indicates that kiddies’ birthday parties are no longer the sole preserve of the cupcake. 

Still, you can’t beat the classics. Timeless flavours include such yummy gems as vanilla, chocolate (who can resist chocolate?), banana, peanut butter, lemon, and red velvet.

We aren’t going to go into recipes about how to make these in this article. If you want a birthday cupcake recipe, all you need to do is ask Google, and it’ll be very happy to oblige.

No, what we’re going to talk about is top tips and tricks that apply to all cupcakes, no matter the flavour. We’re going to make sure that at your, your friend’s, or your kid’s party, it’ll be the cupcakes that attract your cupcakes that truly shine.

Without further ado, here’s what you need to know to make the best birthday cupcakes!

Read the recipe.

This sounds a no-brainer, but you have to have a good overview of what needs to be done, and what ingredients you need to have on hand. So, read it all the way through first, rather than just following the consecutive steps. This way you’ll know when to preheat the oven, what ingredients and equipment you must have on-hand, and obviously how much time you need to set aside. You can’t still be cooking when the guests arrive!

Check oven temperature.

If you’re like most, chances are you’ve had a few cupcake flops, like they’re burned or still liquid by the stime your oven chimes. So, invest in an oven thermometer. And keep the oven door closed throughout to avoid fluctuating heat.

Check the dates.

Everything in life expires sooner or later, and that includes baking powder, spices, flour, and soda. If they’re long past their due date, take a trip to the shops.

Change it up with caution.

Everyone, even experienced cooks, like to fiddle with recipes, but beware! This can cause problems in baking, as recipes are scientific formulas. Remember school? You don’t want to be swapping a beaker for a Bunsen burner! Be careful with things like cutting the sugar for less sweetness because the sugar’s other task is to produce texture and moisture in birthday cupcakes. The same applies to meddling with dairy, cocoa, oils, and more. Only do it if you know what you’re doing and have done it before.

Measure with care.

Precision in measuring equals consistent results. So, when you follow a recipe, measure your ingredients the way the author did. Most reputable recipes have been tested thoroughly. They’ve made the mistake, so you don’t have to. Fight the urge to just throw it together and then cross your fingers that you got your sizes right.

NB: This list of tips is certainly not exhaustive. Creaming the ingredients, folding like a pro, checking for doneness, storage options, and more besides, each have their own quirks and foibles, so do your homework!
Now, let’s talk about colouring your birthday cupcakes. It’s part art, part science, but mix up a batch of food colouring, and you can have your cupcakes the colour of a Hawaiian sunset or deep blue sea. Whatever colour you can imagine, from a robin’s egg to orange soda, it’s all on offer.

Another important thing to decide upon is your birthday cupcake’s decorations. These can be super fun, and if you get it right, you’ll be complimented with many "oohs" and "aahs".

Remember great taste is only half the battle. Presentation is the other.

⦁ You can use sweets like M&Ms, Jellybeans, or crumbled chocolate bars for something quick and easy.
⦁ Flags and tags are another sure-fire winner. Customise your own tag for a special occasion, or fly the South African flag atop the icing.
⦁ Fresh fruit is always good. A word of warning though. Don’t put it on top of the cupcake until they’re ready to be served, as they may deteriorate into a mush!
⦁ More cupcake! Super simple, this solution is great for when you don’t have something special to hand.

Simply slice up a few of your birthday cupcakes and carve them into fun shapes.

Finally, it’s important to know how many cupcakes to make and serve at your party. The golden rule is 1.5 standard-sized cupcakes per person. Remember though that’s for one flavour only. If you’re serving more flavours, your guests are likely to take two.

And washing up? What can seem daunting, is actually easy. Finish detergents can handle most bakeware cleaning tasks with ease. They’ll soften any baked on food and leave your cookie tray clean, and ready for your next batch. Remember, that for seriously stained cookie sheets, you must scrape off the residue before putting it in the dishwasher.

Anyway, that’s all from us. The only thing left to say is Happy Birthday!