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How to Make the Best Cupcakes

Whether they’re dressed up for Halloween or arranged to resemble pastel-colored balloons for a baby shower, cupcakes are the baked-goods world’s most beloved and versatile treat. Here we present expert tips on how to make the best cupcakes possible—from how to make them super-moist to how to decorate them most adorably. If you’re absolutely a beginner, start with our baking basics and tips, then move on to the cupcake-specific pointers below. After that, you’ll be ready to produce cupcakes for just about any occasion—from extravagant gourmet and wedding cupcakes to everyday cupcakes that brighten your day. For those occasions when only full-size will do—well, we’ve got big cakes and chocolate cakes and cheesecakes, too!

Cupcake basics

  • For an extra-moist treat, try adding 1 pkg. JELL-O Instant Pudding to your favorite boxed cake mix.
  • Want to adapt your favorite cake recipe to make cupcakes? Most traditional cake recipes will yield 16-24 cupcakes. Fill liners no more than 2/3 full and decrease baking time to 15-20 minutes.
  • Check cupcakes at the low end of the recommended baking time. Use a toothpick to check 2 or 3 cupcakes in different areas of the pan: if it comes out clean, they’re done!
  • Cool cupcakes completely before frosting to avoid a melted mess.
  • For best results, use a small offset spatula for frosting cupcakes instead of a butter knife.
  • If you don’t have piping tips and bags, fill a resealable plastic bag with frosting. Cut small corner off bottom of bag and use to make decorative designs on cupcakes.
  • For a quick frosting, use COOL WHIP Extra Creamy Whipped Topping tinted with a few drops of food coloring.
  • Add a little crunch! Try topping frosted vanilla cupcakes with toasted BAKER’S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut.
  • Freeze unfrosted cupcakes in freezer-weight resealable plastic bags up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature, then frost as desired.
  • BAKER'S ONE BOWL Cupcakes are so simple to make and only require 15 minutes of prep time!
  • Is it a pie or a cake? Whatever the answer, our Boston Cream Pie Minis are sure to please.
  • Our Red Velvet Cupcakes have a sweet surprise—a delicious cream cheese filling!

Party time

  • A cupcake “tree” can instantly transform your cupcakes into an interesting arrangement. You’ll get the drama of a cake with the ease of serving cupcakes.
  • Reindeer Cupcakes will be the star of your next holiday party. For more festive ideas, check out our Holiday How-To Center.
  • For easy transport, purchase a plastic cupcake carrier or bakery box.
  • Attack of the Martians Cupcakes are just one of the great ideas for our Out of This World Planet Party. Look for other party themes here.
  • Colorful cupcake liners add a fun twist to any cupcake recipe. Reusable liners made of silicone are also available and help minimize waste.