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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Cupcake Questions

Here are my answers to some frequently asked cupcake questions. Feel free to post general questions/comments that don't pertain to a particular recipe and I will answer them as soon as I can! More answers coming soon...

Products & Tools

Q. Where can I find those neat baking cups you use?

A. I have purchased them from here, where they are inexpensive, but the shipping is high. I also found this site that has them, they refer to them as 'Nut & Party' cups.

I should mention, if a little late, that the first time I saw these types of cups was at Chubby Hubby, where he used them as containers for little banana cakes. I can't locate the post, though :(

Q. Where do you get your food coloring? Can I use regular, grocery store food coloring if I can't find the gel food coloring?

A. The gel food coloring is thicker and more potent, so you need less to get the same effect as with the more liquidy stuff you find in the grocery store. This is mostly important with frostings as the liquid food coloring can mess with the consistency especially if you are trying to get a very vibrant color. Gel is better for this purpose.

When adding food coloring to batter, it's less of an issue. However, if you are adding a lot of coloring, adjust the amount of liquid in the recipe. For example, if you add a tablespoon of liquid food coloring to a red velvet recipe, cut back on a tablespoon of the buttermilk.

I get my gel food coloring at a local cake supply store, Sugar N Spice. I use Americolor brand and there are plenty of online shops that sell it. Here is just one, Kerekes.

Q. How do you get those cool swirls on your cupcakes? My tips seem too small which ones are you using?

A. Using a big, plain or star tip is key to getting a nice looking swirl. I use Kaiser brand tips as they are readily available at a local grocery store, Andronico's. I have also found some online stores that sell Kaiser tips, but the selection seems limited. Here is a starter set that includes a filling tip, which is something I need...

Cupcake Sizes

Q. Can I make these regular cupcakes mini sized or the mini cupcakes regular sized?

A. Almost all the recipes I have will work in either size. The important thing to note is the baking time. On average, mini cupcakes take 12-15 minutes to bake and regular cupcakes take 22-25 minutes to bake.

Q. How long to jumbo cupcakes take to bake? Where can I get jumbo cupcake papers?

A. I normally don't bake 'jumbo' cupcakes. I am a firm believer that cupcakes should look cute and they are cuter the smaller they are.


Q. Do cupcakes need to be refrigerated? Can they be frozen? How are they best stored?

A. I find that room temperature; air-tight storage retains the most flavor, texture, and moisture. However there are some frostings and fillings that I believe should be refrigerated if cupcakes are stored for more than a few hours - mostly for safety reasons. So, if you are storing cupcakes overnight and they are frosted with cream cheese or filled with whipped cream, then store them in tupperware, in a cake box wrapped in plastic wrap, or in a cupcake container wrapped in plastic wrap.

I have frozen unfrosted cupcakes before when I simply had too much to do too close to an event and needed to get the cupcakes baked off the weekend before. I have had success with cakes, but ultimately I believe that freezing detracts from the texture and flavor of the cupcake. So, I try to not do it. If you must, double wrap unfrosted cupcakes and place in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze but for not more than a week. To defrost, place the wrapped cupcakes and let defrost wrapped for 6-8 hours, and then unwrap.


Q. How much does a stick of butter weigh?

A. 110 grams give or take a few. Here is a good resource for weights of a cup of various ingredients.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional baker or pastry chef. I have, however, been baking fairly consistently since I was 13. I have taken a week long pastry class at Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (which was awesome, by the way) and some consumer classes at the California Culinary Academy. I went to school for chemical engineering, but am now a software quality engineer. The schooling influences my approach to baking (methodical) and the software experience helped with adding a third column to the blogger template (why no three-column templates, blogger?). The whole digital food photography thing is a new world for me and I am enjoying the challenge immensely.

To sum it up - I speak from experience only. I try not to answer questions that I don't have answers for, but will do some googling and forward references to folks if I haven't figured out the problem in the past.


Blogger Julie said...

I can't find cupcake papers like yours in stores around here. Where do you get yours?

1/30/2006 6:23 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

I was going to give the red velvet cupcakes a try for a Valentine's Day dinner and was just curious- where do I get food coloring paste? Also, would using regular food coloring really make a huge difference in the recipe?

1/30/2006 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First and foremost, I must exclaim that I am a huge HUGE fan of your work. I check back obsessively to see if you've posted another delight.

If anyone has a Smart & Final nearby, that's where I've been able to find those cupcake papers.

1/30/2006 12:58 PM  
Blogger chronicler said...

I bought the small nut cups in 2 oz sizes at Smart and Final here in CA. They were 3.95 for 200.

1/30/2006 6:19 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Good to know. I am near the one on Harrison quite a bit. Never thought to check in at Smart & Final for 'Nut Cups' :)

1/30/2006 7:16 PM  
Anonymous Koo Koo Kake said...

I love your website and just finished my second of your recipes.

A few questions... and requests.

I'd like to cut a recipe in half (12 cupcakes) but a lot of recipes call for 3 eggs etc. Is there a formula to cutting cake recipes in half?

A request - I found your site when I was in search of unusual cupcake recipes. I'm still looking for two:

Dulce de Leche and Tres Leches cupcakes (not too wet).

Any suggestions? Can you be persuaded to attempt these? : )

1/31/2006 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. Can mini cupcakes/muffins be stored overnight? In the fridge or in an airtight container?

2/04/2006 6:32 AM  
Anonymous Alex said...

Hi there - in response to Koo Koo Kake:

I don't know of any dulce de leche/tres leches cupcake recipes, however I have made a dulce de leche layer cake that I think would translate well to a cupcake. To make dulce de leche, boil a can of condensed milk for two hours. Make a batch of yellow cupcakes, and scoop out about a 1" cone from the center (as Chockylit has done in some of her recipes). Fill with the condensed milk and top with vanilla/dulce de leche icing.

2/04/2006 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Mer said...

:) I just made the chocolate tarragon cupcakes and they were wonderful! Everyone at work enjoyed them... I was wondering if you have any recipes on a mocha frosting...

2/07/2006 4:01 PM  
Blogger Nic said...

Actually, the volume of a large egg is only about 2 ounces (3-4 tbsp), not 24 ounces.

2/08/2006 6:52 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Nic! Thanks for the catch, total typo. 24 ounces is a *lot* of egg!

2/08/2006 8:39 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

I deleted the comment where I totally f'd up the egg reply. Here it is adjusted for proper quantities.

koo koo kake, i don't know any secrets to splitting eggs in half. i usually divide recipes along the egg, so i would do a recipe with 3 eggs in two-thirds as opposed to one-half. the other option is to measure the eggs by weight or volume. One large egg is approximately 2 ounces. So if there are three in the recipe you would have 6 ounces. Divide that in half an weigh out 3 ounces of egg.

I store mini and regular cupcakes in and out of the fridge overnight. I store them in the fridge only if the frosting requires it (like cream cheese), else I store the cupcakes in an airtight container out of the fridge.

2/08/2006 8:43 AM  
Blogger Addie said...

I just made your cupcakes with the citrus curd and cream cheese frosting, and boy were they good....

but, the cupcakes had a very slight metallic aftertaste, and Im not sure why... I followed your recipe exactly - even getting everything to room temp... any ideas on why this is and how it can be corrected.... thanks

2/09/2006 10:33 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

To be honest, Addie. I am perplexed. Mine did not have a metalic aftertaste and I am not sure what might have caused it other than the type of bowl you made your curd in. (Maybe it reacted with the citrus juice?) I am will do some research and see what I can find out. I don't see anything in the ingredient list that would cause it otherwise.

2/10/2006 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Laur said...

CAn you tell me why my cupcakes tops are all the sudden falling? They rise well, and as soon as they come out - they deflat.

2/12/2006 6:23 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Hey, Laur. When it happens to me - the collapsing thing - it's usually because the cupcakes are not cooked enough. Be sure to test the cupcakes with a toothpick or cake tester and make sure it comes out clean. Also, it might be a good idea to check your oven temperature, even the best ovens will start to go off. You can get an oven thermometer at Bed, Bath, & Beyond or some place like that.

Lastly, if the recipe has whipped egg whites in it (souffle type recipe), the cupcakes will likely fall (at least that's what I find).

2/13/2006 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help, help! I have been testing chocolate cupcake recipes to just master a basic one. What is your favorite? I have tried a bunch, Magnolia's basic chocolate has good flavor, but the consistency is too dense, almost brownie like. I love the Zucchini and Chocolate melt in your mouth, but I need just a basic cake...any help would be great!

2/14/2006 1:56 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

The melt in your mouth recipe is also very fudge like - its light on the flour. This devil's food recipe is basic and adjustment on a classic. It's my favorite chocolate layer cake so far, quick to make, and rich if you use high quality cocoa. It's also not too rich or sweet and it is good alone, with a dusting of powdered sugar, or lathered with layers of chocolate frosting.

Everyone has their own tastes. If you make it let me know if it worked or not and if it didn't why. That way I can make better referrals in the future.

2/14/2006 2:02 PM  
Blogger Addie said...

well, it wasnt the filling that made the metallic taste b/c I tried the filling again with a different cake recipe and it turned out find....

Im thinking it was either the baking soda or powder in the cake recipe - I must have not done something right.... yeah, its probably just me...

2/15/2006 11:02 AM  
Anonymous Culinary Muse said...

I just discovered your site today after being sent the link by a friend on the East Coast. She read my most recent posting on my site, www.culinarymuse.com, and knew that I would enjoy seeing your blog. Very charming and delicious! Best regards, CM

2/15/2006 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are pressed for time, is it all right to make cupcake batter the night before an event, store it in the fridge, and bake the cupcakes the next morning? I am working with the Magnolia vanilla cupcake recipe. Thanks!

2/17/2006 9:42 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

No! It is not ok :) Mostly because your leaveners will lose their leavening power and your cupcakes will be dense, hard disks. What I do recommend is measuring out all your ingriedients the night before. So, for the Magnolia vanilla cupcake recipe:

Take out your sticks of butter and let them soften on the counter (it's ok overnight); measure out your sugar into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and store on counter; crack your eggs into a small bowl, cover in plastic wrap and store in the fridge; measure out your flour, powder, soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl, cover with plastic wrap and store on counter; measure out your milk and vanilla in a measuring cup, cover in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Having this all done ahead of time will speed up the process.

2/17/2006 10:26 AM  
Anonymous keiko said...

I've found this post after I left the previous comment, thanks for your help!

2/19/2006 6:19 AM  
Blogger exploding_hamster said...

I am perplexed by how much does a stick of butter weigh. I am not from the states, so I have no idea whether the quantity is the same as it is over there. HELP!


2/26/2006 10:44 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

As I already let Amy know, a US stick of butter weighs 115 grams. I weighed one on my digital scale.

3/01/2006 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband loves chocolate cupcakes with mint frosting. His birthday is coming up so I plan on making your chocolate cupcake recipe. But do you have any suggestions on a fluffy mint frosting? I have never made buttercream frosting before but I would imagine to just add mint extract to it? I saw a cupcake on your site with b.c. frosting but now I can't find it, grrr. i hate it when that happens.

I hope you can help me. You are a cupcake goddess.


3/02/2006 1:23 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

I have been planning on making a mint frosting at some point, but maybe not for a few weeks. What I would do is make a mint simple syrup as opposed to using an extract. But an extract should be fine. Make a buttercream recipe as usual, and add drops of extract at the end (slowly do you don't add too much). There is a buttercream recipe on this post.

3/02/2006 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Norma said...

I've just found your site and I haven't read through all your comments but have you mentioned your favorite basic vanilla cupcake recipe? I've tried several and I'm not doing something right. They taste pretty good but they seem too dense, not as fluffy as the kind that you get in a store. Am I expecting too much?

3/03/2006 10:28 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Hi, Norma. I use the Magnolia cookbook recipe exclusively as my basic vanilla cake. It is not a fluffy cake though... Its's not rock hard dense either, but a nice flavor, tight, but delicate crumb. But, I am not sure if you would like it. I don't have any particularly fluffy recipes that I can think of. Are you looking for some like angel food? Or souffle like? Or sponge like? Maybe give the Magnolia a try and tell me what you don't like about it (or do).

3/04/2006 9:43 AM  
Blogger hungryp said...

I am a CUPCAKE fan and crave them like crazy. Chockylit....where can I purchase cupcakes like yours? I realize you are a software engineer by day but have you considered opening your own shop?

3/05/2006 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Kristen said...

Chokylit, the vanilla cake recipe you did for your lavendar cupcakes is quite moist and fluffy - it's become my standby vanilla cupcake recipe!

3/11/2006 7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been using boxed cake mixes for my cupcakes for a few years now. And, I think I'm ready to venture out into the world or "scratch". But I can't find any recipes for plain strawberry cake. They all start with a boxed white cake mix. I'd like to everything all my own...

3/12/2006 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think there is a quality difference in butters?
I think Challenge or LandO'Lakes taste superior than a regular store brand or Trader Joes'. But quality costs so much these days! What's your butter? : )

3/12/2006 9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chockylit, I absolutely adore you're flavors. However, I think I'm doing something wrong with the citrus cream cheese frosting from the lavender cream filled cupcakes. The frosting won't stay in that cute star mound like your's. I've tried everything from adding more conf. sugar to chilling the frosting... any help?

3/14/2006 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how do the cupcakes come out of the 'nut and party' cups you are using? do they easily pull out, or do you have to peel the cup away? just wondering if they might be harder to manage than the pleated ones. thanks!

3/14/2006 10:50 PM  
Blogger May said...

I have a question about the "filled" cupcakes (disclaimer: I haven't actually tried making any yet). It seems like once you cut the top off, fill them, then put them back together, that they would be really hard to eat. How can you get them out of the cupcake paper without them falling apart into top and bottom pieces?

3/16/2006 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 5-year old is allergic to wheat, eggs and peanuts. Does anyone have any good cake, cupcakes, or cookie recipes that are both wheat- and egg-free?

3/16/2006 8:14 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Yes, indeed it is harder to get them out of the nut & party cups. But I really like baking in them and they look great. It's nothing that you can't get used to. If I sold cupcakes, I might use the regular ones - or at least I would test the nut & party cups with average consumers.

Hey, KnucklesTheDog, as far the method I use to fill cupcake... I find in general its not a problem. Mostly because the fillings are moist and adhere to the cake pretty well. I have never had a problem eating a cupcake that I cut the top off. Also, I don't quite cut the whole top off, I cut a cone out of it.. So, once that is covered with the frosting, it's fine.

Sorry but I personally have never worked on a wheat free, egg free cupcake. I know it would be a challenge to develop one that tastes good. Hopefully someone has suggestions...

3/16/2006 8:20 PM  
Anonymous sharon said...

Yum cupcakes! I made some hummingbird cupcakes and they were yummy, but really more muffin-like than I like for cupcakes. Can you recommend another recipe for me to try next time that comes out fluffy and light?

3/20/2006 1:08 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Hi, Sharon. I am agreeing with you - hummingbird like carrot cake could be considered muffins... However, what makes them cupcakes (for me anyway) is topping them with a healthy dose of frosting. The hummingbird recipe is a southern classic that I have not changed and don't plan to. An alternative you would try would be to start with a basic cupcake recipe (like Magnolia's vanilla) and add some of the fruit... being sure to drain as much liquid as possible.

Good luck!

3/21/2006 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! I just had a couple quick questions. First, what are your favorite fillings for cupcakes? I'm always looking for ways to "jazz up" by desserts, but I don't really know what would compliment the cupcakes other than the usual cream cheese or whipped cream filling. Also, do you know of any unusual old fashioned recipes? Thanks for your time!

3/22/2006 1:10 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

For fillings like flavored whipped creams because they are light, pastry cream, citrus curds, caramel, chocolate gananche, peanut butter filling, etc. A lot of the recipes are in the blog... Some I haven't done for the blog yet.

3/22/2006 9:32 PM  
Blogger Sweetcakes said...

Hi Chockylit! I was wondering if maybe you missed my question about the citrus cream cheese frosting for the lavender cupcakes? I can't seem to get my frosting stiff enough to stay in that cute star mound like your... It kinda just comes together on a bloblike mound. Still pretty, but it's not the star I like. Any help? I've tried chilling it, and adding more conf. suger...anything else I could do?

3/23/2006 8:49 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Hi, sweetcakes. I probably did miss it, I lose track of comments sometimes when I am super busy.

I am making some cream cheese frosting this weekend. I will pay close attention to what I may or may not be doing that is getting the texture of frosting that you are trying to achieve. There has to be some missing technique or something.

So, I will post back tomorrow or Sunday. Thanks!

3/24/2006 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Chokylit-Love your site!! I'm addicted!! where can I find the metal molds you use for your cupcakes sometimes? And what are they actually called? Do you know if anyone makes straight-sided paper cups? Seems I have seen them at some cupcake site...hmmmm...can't remember where, tho!

3/30/2006 11:01 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Hi, I have only used the metal molds once and unfortunately I found them in a cardboard box of vintage baking items at a flea market. On top of that, I bought everyone the guy had (about 13). So, I cannot imagine where you could find them. Also not sure about the straight-sided papers (I am assuming you are talking about the ones they use at Starbucks...) not sure where those came from, but if anyone finds out. Let us know!

3/30/2006 12:03 PM  
Blogger Tammy Nguyen said...

what kind of butter do u use for your cupcakes? does brand matter? i have been a box cupcake maker. I am thinking of stepping outside the box and making it from scrath this weekend for a nieces bday party. Any specific suggestions?

3/31/2006 12:30 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Hi, Tammy. I always try to use unsalted, high quality, organic butter, but in a pinch I will get something like Challenge brand at the grocery. Unsalted is recommended as it allows you to control salt content in the recipe (it's always good to add a pinch even when it's not called for explicitly). I haven't done a formal taste testing around brands or organic versus not, so I can't tell you if it makes a difference. I would imagine it would, as I find in general the better quality the ingredients, the better tasting the cupcake. Good luck!

3/31/2006 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was making a simple buttercream frosting and slowly adding the milk After adding the last tsp, the mixture all of a sudden looked curdled. It seemed to help beating it some more; but what happened to cause the curdled look.

3/31/2006 11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of your blog and am so fascinated by those cupcakes of yours that I wanted to experience the joy of baking them too.

Can i know what size cupcake are yours? here we don't measure it by oz but by the diameter of the cupcake papers. Another question, do I need to buy those mini muffin tray when attempting this? and what is the dimension?

Hope to hear from you and keep up the good work. Really inspiring.

4/01/2006 5:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baking for a wedding of 75 and would love your advice on timing. Can I bake on Wed, make the frosting (buttercream?) and assemble on Fri or Sat? If you can suggest recipes that are more suitable for this, that would be great as well. Thanks. Your blog has been a lifesaver!

4/04/2006 11:16 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

About curdling - You are making and emulsion of liquid, fat, and solid. If you add liquid too quickly or add to much of it, the emulsion can separate. It's not a big deal (the mixture isn't spoiled) you just need to keep mixing, like you did, to bring it back together and sometimes add more confectioner's sugar.

About diameter of the cupcake paper... I need to measure this for you. Sorry. As far as the tray goes, if you use the sort of papers I do (the pleated cups) you don't need a special pan, just a sheet pan. If you use regular papers, you need a muffin or cupcake pan. Use whatever you have available. Fill the cupcake papers two-thirds full with batter. Baking times will vary for size. If the cupcake is mini size (about 2.5 centimeters) baking time will run around 15 minutes at 175 degrees celsius. If the cupcake is regular size (around 6 centimeters) baking time will run about 22-25 minutes at 175 C. Hope that helps!

About weddings... I am doing a wedding in September myself, for 80. Here is what I recommend based on recent experiences.

1. Don't freeze cupcakes for a wedding. Due to the size of the cupcake, they can dry out with freeezing. Avoid this at all cost, especially for an important event.

2. If you can't bake the cupcakes the day of (8 hours before the event say), then it is perfectly acceptable to bake them the day before (12-36 hours before the event). After they have completely cooled, wrapped them (unfrosted and unfilled) in plastic wrap and store in airtight container. This should retain moisture very well.

3. Baking more than 36 hours in advance can be pushing it. It depends on the recipe and just how rich and moist it is to begin with.

4. If the event is at night, assemble the day of. If it is in the morning, assemble the night before. Again, this depends on the recipes you choose, but to be on the safe side this is what I recommend and what I have done in the past.

5. About the same could be said for buttercream frosting. You can make it a day or two in advance but cover it very well.

Hope that helps!

4/06/2006 9:50 AM  
Anonymous L said...

This isn't really a cupcake questions, but your photos are incredible... some of my favorites out there. I've been watching them pop up on Flickr now for quite some time. What lighting are you shooting with?

I wish you had a shop!

4/07/2006 10:42 AM  
Anonymous deb said...

I was wondering why you do ganache frosting with powdered sugar, butter and vanilla rather than straight ganache (just chocoate and cream)? Would chocolate and cream be stable for frosting? Too thick? Too something? Personal preference?

I made chocolate peanut butter cupcakes yesterday for my friend's 35th. LOVED them, but that ganache it a bit too sweet for my taste.

4/07/2006 12:13 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

It is all about preference. I have two types of ganache recipes on the blog, the basic ganache and the ganache with powdered sugar and milk. I use both as I feel like it, depending on the recipe or my mood.

The powdered sugar/milk version was adapted from a recipe I found in a cookbook by a pastry chef from a San Francisco restaurant (forget which one off hand - it was a long time ago). I explain the recipe here in more detail and explain how to vary it to get at sweetness you like. It is very adjustable to ones taste.

There is something about straight ganache I don't always like. I find it hard to explain, but it's cold tasting. The other version is "warmed up" by the addition of the sugar and milk. The combination I specify was after many, many times of changing the combination of chocolate types, amount of sugar, etc. to get at the sweetness and texture I like. The great thing about the recipe is that anyone can make adjustments for their own tastes. In your case, you should decrease the amount of semi-sweet chocolate and increase the amount of unsweetened for starters.

Hopefully this information helps. Thanks!

4/07/2006 6:01 PM  
Anonymous deb said...

Thanks for the ganache help. I'm new to all this baking and frosting stuff, so it did help a lot. Those peanut butter filled chocolate cupcakes kill, so one can hardly go wrong, no matter what kind of ganache is on top, I think. I might tweak it a bit, next time. No fear of frosting!

I hope I never run into you in town. I might chase you down and act all inappropriate! --Best.

4/08/2006 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your innovation, and I'm glad I found your site.

I've been wondering about recipes using lavendar for some time. Where did you find your lavendar flowers? Do you think simple lavendar tea will work? It sounds like you're just making a sort of tea to get the flavor, anyway.

About your filled cupcakes--I made some miniature ganache-filled cupcakes awhile back before I found your site and just (rudeley) shoved my pastry tip (just a round tip, I think a 12) into the cupcake to pipe the filling, then covered the exit wound with more ganache. Okay, I guess I could've phrased that better. Anyway, have you tried that "method," and if so, why do you prefer removing the cone?

Also, about the nut cups--they also sell them in a few different sizes at Michaels Arts and Crafts stores. =)

One last: Have you ever tried shipping your cupcakes? I'd like to try, but I dont have a clue about a method.

Thank you for all the inspiration!

Julie from Phoenix

4/09/2006 1:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your innovation, and I'm glad I found your site.

I've been wondering about recipes using lavendar for some time. Where did you find your lavendar flowers? Do you think simple lavendar tea will work? It sounds like you're just making a sort of tea to get the flavor, anyway.

About your filled cupcakes--I made some miniature ganache-filled cupcakes awhile back before I found your site and just (rudeley) shoved my pastry tip (just a round tip, I think a 12) into the cupcake to pipe the filling, then covered the exit wound with more ganache. Okay, I guess I could've phrased that better. Anyway, have you tried that "method," and if so, why do you prefer removing the cone?

Also, about the nut cups--they also sell them in a few different sizes at Michaels Arts and Crafts stores. =)

One last: Have you ever tried shipping your cupcakes? I'd like to try, but I dont have a clue about a method.

Thank you for all the inspiration!

Julie from Phoenix

4/09/2006 1:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, cool! I just saw your recipe for the churro cupcakes in which you baked the cupcakes with the ganache already pushed in. I saw a recipe by Wolfgang Puck suggesting that, but I was worried that it would come out like a molten chocolate cake, and these will have to sit overnight and through part of a day for a bake sale, so I can't serve them warm the way the recipe suggested.

Have you ever tried brewing jasmine flavoring into a cupcake or filling/frosting?

Thanks again,
Julie from Phx

4/09/2006 1:45 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Hi, Julie

I purchased my lavendar flowers in the spice aisle of Whole Foods. Do you have a Whole Foods or similar fancy grocery store in Phoenix?

I would think lavendar tea would work, it has the flowers in it, but also tea leaves. So, there would be an added element to it. Try adding the tea to the simple syrup and let it boil some. I bet it would turn out fine (if somewhat different from using plain flowers).

I have tried many methods, using a pastry bag, using a melon baller, etc. Most of the recipes I make are dense, so just by forcing, I don't get a lot of filling in there. That is why I cut out the cone, I can get a lot more good stuff inside. Certain recipes lend themselves to being filled forcibly - like sponge cake recipes. I just happen to not like sponge cakes.

I haven't tried shipping cupcakes. If I did, I would use the plastic containers shown here (scroll down to see where I have purchased them), stick with a simple recipe like unfilled cupcakes with buttercream frosting, freeze them in the containers that have been wrapped well with plastic wrap, ship next day, and resolve myself to the fact that they might get a little bumped up in transit, but should taste great.

I have never tried brewing jasmine flavoring into a cupcake or filling/frosting. But if I did, I would most likely brew it in a simple syrup like I do other herbs and spices (for frostings) or in the recipe liquid (for the cake part).

4/09/2006 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm looking for ingedients for your chocolate cupcakes, where can I find the chocolate that you use?

4/14/2006 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Rhe said...

Hi there. I love the pictures and recipes here I tried making your cupcakes with lemon curd today. I was wondering about the taste of the curd. I followed your recipe and to me it tastes somewhat eggy. Is this supposed to be how it tastes? Or am I messing up somewhere? Thanks in advance for your help. =)

4/14/2006 8:33 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

rhe, Hmm, it's hard to say. There are a lot of eggs in the recipe, but I wouldn't describe it as eggy myself. But it could be personal taste as I know some people don't like things that taste like egg. Is there a chance you added extra egg yolks?

as far as the question as to where I get the chocolate I use... There are a lot of places in San Francisco that sell Valrhona, Scharffen Berger, and other high quality chocolates. Where do you like? Is there a Whole Foods or some other "upscale" grocery? All these things are available for purchase online if you google them. Good luck!

4/14/2006 8:46 PM  
Anonymous onehsancare said...

I've been eyeing the silicone cupcake papers, but they're pretty spendy to experiment with. Have you any experience with them?

(LOVE your blog!)

4/16/2006 12:52 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

You know, I have been eyeing them as well. The thing that has stopped me is I am not too fond of the colors available. If I could get a set of all light blue or something I might try them. I don't like the multi-color sets. Maybe they will come out with single color some day. The other proble I have is that I normally bring cupcakes to work or give them to neighbors. It would be hard to keep track of the silicone cups and make sure I got them back.

4/16/2006 1:38 PM  
Blogger sawsee said...

Regarding the silicone baking cups.....
Crate & Barrel carries them in solid color sets. 12 orange or 12 brown for $12.95. I've not tried them, but they look nice. Here's the link:

4/16/2006 8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Chokylit! I love your ideas and the yummy looking cupcakes and I am really in awe about the many ingredients you use for the cupcakes and frosting.

i just stared baking and became cupcake crzay. What i need to ask you is how do you get the soft swirl frosting effect? What tip do you use and do you use a icing dispenser? My swirls are tight and stiff. Would appreciate some advice! Thanks!

4/18/2006 11:34 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

Hi, I just made the devil's food cupcakes but they didn't rise evenly - any suggestions why?

Also, despite using slightly more than 1/2 cup of cocoa powder (it was unsweetened, I checked) they weren't chocolatey enough. Next time I think I shall use more!

4/23/2006 9:24 AM  
Blogger jessicarutowski said...

Hello, I came across your site a few weeks ago and promptly added it to my favorites. I love baking and cupcakes are my favorite. I don't have much time for baking between kids and work, but I am so excited to try some of your recipes. I just wanted to tell you that your site is great, your pictures are beautiful, and your recipes look delicious. thanks for the inspiration. will let you know how it turns out, when I get the chance!

5/01/2006 10:58 AM  
Blogger jessicarutowski said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/01/2006 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I was reading your blog a couple of weeks ago, and noticed that someone had left a question regarding how to get the mini cupcakes out of the paper cups to eat them. I don't know if it has been answered since then, but when I made some of your mini cupcakes, I cut a small diagonal slit to the top of the cup, just enough to cut the thick rim of the paper cup. I was afraid that during baking, that it would rip or cause the cup to unfold, but it did not. When ready to eat, you need to just find the slit and then rip the cup open and the cupcake will easily come out.

5/02/2006 11:33 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

That's funny. I was planning in doing the same thing this weekend! (Cutting a little slit in the mini sized ones before baking.) Cool, I am glad it works :)

5/02/2006 11:37 AM  
Anonymous CarolaT said...

I love your blog! :D Thank you for the wonderful recipes/ideas.

When you mentioned Sugar'n Spice, are you talking about the store in Daly City?

5/03/2006 10:13 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Yes, that's the one.

5/03/2006 11:13 AM  
Anonymous CarolaT said...

I just made the hummingbird cupcakes with ginger cream cheese frosting and the cakes alone were delicious! Thank you! I need to get better tips though. The widest round tip I have doesn't cover very well.

5/03/2006 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hai chocklit,I'm Sally form malaysia, i come aross yr website by accident...i love yr blog and the photo is so cool...i try to make yr devil food cupcake and it turn so awesome and it taste good my hubby love it, but i have i question how to make buttercream less sugar..cos the taste of the buttercream so sweet...i come aross with another blog and it mention to put crisco butter(shorterning)for easy piping, pls comment! if i add crisco i bet i can reduce the sweet rite?

5/08/2006 1:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Cheryl:
question, i have just started making cupcakes using my brand new Kitchenaid mixer. I notice some recipes call for you to just add all the ingredients together and blend them in a food processor. how does this affect the texture of the cupcakes versus doing the traditional creaming method? I guess the food processor is easier?

As a novice - if using a stand mixer, what is the optimum speed and duration for creaming? I am worried about over creaming, so think i tend to undercream, but then am wondering if that makes my cupcakes less light and fluffy than they could be. Are we talking about 2 min on med/high speed? 5 min?

Same goes for after u add flour to the creamed mixture - how much longer do you want to mix it all together for using a stand mixer?

5/10/2006 8:26 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

I am confused, anonymous, I don't even own a food processor! (Well, just a tiny one I use for nuts or things.) I only use a stand mixer. 3 minutes is a good amount of time for creaming butter and sugar. In most recipes there are hints... mix until combined, etc. You have to use your judgement and get used to it, there isn't always an easy number as ingredients and environment play a part.

5/10/2006 8:51 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Hello there...

What size star tip do you use to make your swirled frosting?

I have been trying Martha Stewart buttercream frosting which keeps turning out just like frosted butter. I see that you use icing sugar in your buttercream and the recipe I have been trying uses granulated sugar. I am about to get my fingers into your recipe, but have you any idea about the granulated sugar? There must be a secret to get it to taste as lovely as it looks in the MS photos...


5/11/2006 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hai there!

I'm Sally again from malaysia, today i try to make again your vanilla cupcake and devil food cake and the result is great fluffy and reduce the amount of the sugar because my husband is diabetic patient,about the frosting cream i add crisco butter and 2 table spoon flour and i reduce the amount of the icing sugar (powdered sugar, so my cupcake turn up to look like Jennifer Lopez(superb)that what my hubbt said...

oh ya in malaysia we only produce 250gm butter = to 1 cup, research after research( just run thru yr comment in yr blog)then i understand your butter gram is diffrent then ours!

Thank again Chockylit

5/12/2006 1:25 AM  
Blogger LE said...

Your blog is my favorite place to come just to browse and daydream over all the recipes. (I have made the carrot ginger cupcakes a few times, adding about three times as much ginger as you call for. YUM.)

I have a question about alcohol in cakes. White Russian cupcakes, to be exact. ~1/4 c. each of vodka and kahlua for about 24 cupcakes. Does the alcohol cook off in the 20-25 minutes of baking and leave only flavor, or does some alcohol remain?

5/12/2006 7:18 AM  
Blogger Cupcake Queen said...

Chockylit: I'm at the point where I want to create some cupcake recipes of my own. I've gotten to the point of experimenting by adding/subtracting ingredients, and, in some cases this has worked pretty well, but I really don't know the scientific reasoning behind, say, the number of eggs, or amount of butter. I've looked at numerous baking books, but none seem to cover this type of info. Would you have any advice for me about which way to head to learn how to create a cupcake recipe? Thanks for you help.

5/17/2006 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was wondering if you have any really good vanilla cupcake recipes..i've tried so many from several cookbooks..but i cant seem to find one that i like that is similar to Gelson's cupcakes (by Viktor Benes). Please help me:).

5/18/2006 11:59 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Hi, I am not familiar with Gelson's cupcakes (by Viktor Benes) so I can't say whether the recipe I use would please you. I use the Magnolia recipe, it's all over the blog... I will work on my own someday, but not any time soon. Good luck!

5/18/2006 12:09 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

I am in need of some assistance...

I have been making the Magnolia Chocolate Buttermilk recipe and the batter is running out on to the pans and the cupcakes are not rounded on the top.

I thought that the reason may have been that I used too much butter. I live in Australia and the sticks here are 250g - so that is what I used for one cup of butter. I made the cupcakes a second time and cut down a little on the butter - I took 10 grams off - but they still looked terrible. On your site you say a stick is 115g - so a cup would be 230g so technically I could have taken a little more butter out - but is there something else I can do to make these cuppies rise up.

Do you think that I could play around with the recipe and add some baking powder as well as soda. Or do you think that I need to address other issues? Where do you think I should start?


PS They still taste good because I ate them for breakfast...

5/19/2006 4:39 PM  
Anonymous kitty said...

What is the best way to transport cupcakes? I frequently make cupcakes and bring them into work, but I'm not sure how to keep them from getting crushed on the way. I usually use a shirt box with the lid on.

5/24/2006 9:34 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Hi, Kim. I have never made that recipe so I am not sure, but I will say that you should use the exact about of butter. Extra butter can definitely make the cake very heavy.

Kitty, I find these plastic containers work the best. I buy them here. Click on 'Cupcake' in the left nav bar...

5/24/2006 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the comment about chocolate batter not tasting chocolatey enough when using cocoa powder: the magazine "Cook's Illustrated" has had several opinionated articles about how to develop chocolate flavor. They developed a recipe for a Chocolate Bundt Cake that is fantastic! (Jan/Feb 2004). This is a creamed butter-sugar based cake that includes both bittersweet chocolate, and cocoa powder. There are two great tricks in this cake. First, pour boiling water onto the cocoa powder (and chopped chocolate) to make the flavor bloom (whisk to smooth and let cool back to room temperature). Second, they make a pan release by a little butter mixed with a little cocoa powder, and brushing onto the pan with a pastry brush. I don't know if that would work with cupcake papers, but it makes a beautiful surface on the cake. Also in this recipe they like to use natural cocoa powder rather than dutched (alkali processed). It is truly a great recipe (looks and tastes great) and worth reading for all the ideas, there are several more tips in it. I haven't made it in any other pan, so don't know if it adapts well to cupcakes directly.

5/25/2006 5:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where I can find solid brown paper baking cups???? I can't find them anywhere. They look like these used in this site: http://www.sprinklescupcakes.com/

5/25/2006 4:36 PM  
Blogger LillyJane said...

Does anyone know how to get cupcakes to dome in the center of the cup? I have lots of great recipes but they produce flat cupcakes. I have and electric oven with a convection feature which seems to make no difference. Thanks for the help!

5/26/2006 9:47 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

I haven't been able to find the brown papers...

Hi, lillyjane, getting a domed top is typically consider 'bad' in baking (especially with cakes) and people work hard to avoid it! Doming is oftened attributed to a too hot oven, but I also find that some recipes just tend to dome and some don't. So, for the ones that stay flat, I tend to add more batter (closer to 3/4 full) and for those that dome I tend to go 2/3 full. One thing to watch out for sure, is opening the oven too soon. That will surely cause your cupcakes to go flat. Wait at least 15 minutes before opening. I tend to start opening and rotating my pans 15-18 minutes in and then start testing around 22. I don't use convection (I have an electric with convection as well) as it can dry out cupcakes. (So, I here... I haven't done a side by side test.)

5/31/2006 11:07 PM  
Anonymous cuppycake said...

Hi! Love your website and your recipes!! but I have a nonrelated question...what camera do you used to take pictures of your creations??

6/01/2006 3:42 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Hi, cuppycake, I use the Canon Digital Rebel XT 8 megapixel digital SLR. For close-ups, I use the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens and for regular shots the Sigma 70-300 F 4-5.6 Autofocus Zoom lens. All of it on a tripod with self timer if I am in the shot.

I don't use photoshop, just do slight adjustments with Picassa. But I only shoot only in natural light. Luckily my kitchen has lots of windows and I get plenty of light during the day. I haven't had any luck with flash and haven't invested in any light kits as I prefer the look of natural light anyway.

6/02/2006 8:18 AM  
Blogger sawsee said...

I recently found brown paper baking cups online at confectioneryhouse.com. They are not terribly expensive and it took just a few days for them to arrive. I was very happy with them.

6/10/2006 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thrilled to see the VN recipe, as i am adicted to the iced version of the coffee.

I made the VN coffee cupcakes and was wondering if you are supposed to fill them right away with the custard. I let it sit and it became very thick and gelatinous and i'm not sure if this is the proper consistency. I am debating making another batch of the filling before proceeding.

I read the instructions...stirred constantly and then set aside to fill later. That is when the mixture became incredibly thick.

6/10/2006 2:16 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

I mentioned in the recipe that it gets very thick. That is basically how it comes out. So, you are doing it right, but maybe the recipe isn't for you.

6/10/2006 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im looking to find micro cookie cutters to create pastillage shapes to top cupcakes. do you know where i can find a large variety of shapes?

6/14/2006 11:52 AM  
Blogger Tammy Nguyen said...

Hi...wanted to see if you can help me with this. I am going to make cupcakes for my nephew's birthday party. Couldn't find anything to really do for the Thomas the Train theme. So i bought one of his train and it says "Happy Birthday" on it...so actually it's 3 cars that can be attached together. So i want to put the each train on one cupcake. What can I do so it will stay in place? Will it sink down?any suggestions would be appreciated!

6/23/2006 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Meraya Nyberg said...

Hello Chokylit, Thanks for a free cupcake recipe book, that is what this site is. I wonder if you could let me know which leaf tip (what no.) you used when piping the poinsettia on that Christmas cupcake. Regards. Meny

6/26/2006 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Sarahrae said...

Hi... my name is Sarah and I am a Chockylit addict....

Thanks ahead of time... for your extreme documentation of your trials and your victories in the kitchen!

I just wanted to pass along, because I know a few people had asked up in comment land, How do you get the cupcakes out of the liners.

I know its an easy thing for some, but I have found that before icing if I take a pair of scissors and snip the rolled edge of the cup, so there is a starting point to tear from.... that even children can do it without making a mess!

Anyway, just wanted to pass it along incase anyone else was wondering or having problems with it. It works especially well on the mini cupcake cups!

Thanks again, for all that you do and the creativity that you inspire in all of us!

6/29/2006 9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! I recently discovered your site and I love it! I wanted to comment on peppermint frosting/buttercream. I used a recipe that called for crushed peppermint candies in the frosting (it gives it a cute pink hue) and a little peppermint schnapps.

7/12/2006 12:11 AM  
Anonymous new at baking said...


just wondering what exactly is the cone method in your recipes? and how deep is the cone supposed to be cut? thanks!

7/22/2006 3:21 AM  
Blogger jodi-ann said...

can you make sugar free cupcakes if you wanted to and if case if someone is diabetic

7/31/2006 11:11 AM  
Anonymous syp said...

hi! i love your blog! i'll be starting a cupcake business in a very hot and humid country. i planned on decorating them with the fondant flowers but found that they had a tendency to "melt" and look not as nice on the ones in your pictures. any advice? also, because of the weather, i have to refrigerate the cupcakes. what would be a good way to display them (aside from a chiller/glass display which would be too cold to serve straight from) in a food stall in a mall? Thanks chockylit, any advice would be helpful and i'm so inspired by you!

7/31/2006 10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Chockylit!

I adore your site and you're quite an inspiration! I've been following your blog for a while now. I'm a personal chef and I recently added cupcake bars as one of my services. I just created a banana cream pie cupcake but had a problem with the filling. I used pastry cream and found it to be too runny. I saw your VN Coffee Cupcakes and saw the Sweetened Condensed Milk Pudding. I was wondering how stable it would be if the cupcakes weren't refrigerated. I'm using the swiss butter meringue frosting and don't want to compromise the texture of the frosting by chilling it. Thanks so much! I hope to be posting pics eventually!

8/01/2006 10:27 AM  
Anonymous prime thyme said...

Here is a site for the taller, heavier-weight paper molds typically used for individual panettone, but can be used as stand-alone cupcake papers and are quite beautiful. www.beryls.com

8/01/2006 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Prime Thyme said...

Has anyone ever had a problem with any of Martha Stewart's recipes. I belong to a personal chef org. and we all agree that she "sabotages" her recipes. I've been baking for eons and this only happens with her HER recipes. I know I'm not crazy - LOL!

8/01/2006 1:47 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Hi, Anonymous, asking about micro cookie cutters.. I bought mine at Sur La Table.

Hi, Tammy, sorry for the late response, but I am just catching up on vacation backlog. I don't have much experience with putting toys or heavy things on cupcakes, but my gut feel is that you need to make a fairly stiff frosting. Buttercream is best...

Meraya, I had made those a long while back and don't recall which tip I used. Sorry!

Thanks, Sarahrae, for the compliment and tip on snipping the rolled edge of the cup. It is indeed very useful!

new at baking, I have lots of pictures of the cone :) It should be as big as you want it (depending on how much filling you want) but not go too deep as to result in a whole in the bottom...

jodi-ann, I haven't experimented much with sugar free cupcakes. I would recommend using a sugar substitute and following the directions on the box to replace the sugar in the recipe.

syp, royal icing holds up much better than fondant, as does pastillage. I am not sure about display. I would think you would need a chiller/glass display to keep them cool!

Hi, Anonymous personal chef, the Sweetened Condensed Milk Pudding is actually very stable and almost like a jello consistency. I don't think it will give you any trouble...

Hi, Prime Thyme, I have had some luck with Martha's recipes (and some go not so well), but I find that true of most recipes. Sometimes they just don't translate or meet expectations.

8/02/2006 6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much do you fill your cupcake cups? Mine always rise too high.

8/04/2006 7:17 PM  
Blogger chockylit said...

around 2/3's. it also varies per recipe. some sink, some don't. i try to make note of it in my recipes when its extreme.

8/04/2006 7:30 PM  

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