Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Cupcake

Ever wondered how to make mouth watering cupcakes, that also look gorgeous?

Today I feel like sharing (this is not always the case, especially when it comes to my business), but today I’m feeling generous.

How on earth do you bake cupcakes that not only look good, but make your taste buds scream for more?

Here’s a few secrets …

  1. Use only the best quality ingredients – for example, I refuse to bake with anything other than Stork for Baking. The other ingredient that I will never compromise on, is my flavouring – if you can’t get a VERY good quality vanilla extract – yes extract – don’t settle for vanilla essence! I use caramel essence instead of vanilla, because I can’t get a good quality vanilla extract where I live (remember, small countryside town in South Africa).
  2. Yes, real butter (if it’s Lurpak) will taste amazing, BUT you will not have flat topped cupcakes with real butter. They will always rise into domes that you have to trim off before you can decorate them.
  3. The other trick to get flat topped cupcakes every time, is to lower your oven temperature and bake it for longer. Most recipes will read 180°C or 190°C (356° or 374° in F) for 12 – 15 minutes. This will result in cupcakes with domed tops, because they will rise too quickly. I bake my cupcakes at 150°C (300°F) for 20 minutes and they ALWAYS have beautiful flat tops.
  4. NEVER handle the batter too much – cupcakes are like women – they don’t like it if you bother them too much. You don’t cream the Stork and caster sugar – just mix it. Your batter needs to look lumpy – yes lumpy! A smooth batter makes for cupcakes that are heavy in texture.
  5. Don’t leave your cupcakes to cool down in the baking tin – the hot tin will keep it’s temperature for too long and your cupcakes will over bake.
  6. Last but not least, as soon as your cupcakes have cooled off, seal them with a thin layer of buttercream – this will ensure that they stay nice and fresh for longer.

Still thinking “Even if I do all this, my cupcakes will never win any prizes?”

Since I’m in a sharing mood, here’s my secret recipe


  • 250g Stork for Baking (room temperature)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1t caramel essence (I only use Moirs)
  • 500g self-raising flour
  • 400ml milk (This is the only ingredient where the quantity may vary according to where you live. Your batter should be thicker than that of a cake, but not as thick as a muffin – hope this make sense. Apparently it has to do with the height above sea level?)


Mix your Stork and caster sugar with a hand mixer. Add the eggs and caramel essence to the sugar mixture – just mix until the egg yellows are broken. Now add the self-raising flour and milk. Mix everything until you see no more flour – but there should still be lumps. (I know it sounds crazy, but trust me.)

Scoop into your cupcakes liners (that are obviously in cupcake tins). Bake for 20 minutes at 150°C.

Let it cool, seal with buttercream, decorate and enjoy!

With love, The Sugar Fairy


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