It can generally go without saying that just about everyone loves being able to eat a good cupcake. There’s a lot of versatility that is involved with cupcakes that make them one of the world’s favorite quick desserts to make.
From being able to change the content of the frosting of the cupcake to adding sprinkles, chocolate chips, and other additions, there are countless ways you can customize your cupcakes to be exactly what you are in the mood for.
On top of this, you can also change the way that the cake portion of the cupcake is. While there often isn’t enough of that “cake” for you to do anything complex with, such as turning it into a Baumkuchen, there is enough of that cake for you to change the flavor, texture, and so on.
Speaking of texture, with as finicky as baking is, there are many problems with the cake’s texture that you can run into.
One of the most common problems that people can have with making their cupcakes is the fact that they can be quite dry and crumbly. While some amount of crumble can be acceptable in the smaller form of a cupcake, there comes a point when the cupcake simply doesn’t taste that good.
Thankfully, despite how much trouble baking tends to be, there are quite a few ways that you can make your cupcakes fluffier.
Making cupcakes fluffier is not that complex of an art, as long as you know what you are doing with the cake batter itself. In fact, the way that you would go about making cupcakes fluffier is the same thing you would do to make cake fluffier, as cupcakes and cakes are one in the same aside from the size of it.
The question then becomes a matter of trying to figure out what you have to change about the baking process to get that extra fluff out of your cupcakes.
Fluffing up Your Cupcakes
There are several, several ways that you can introduce a “fluffy” aspect to your cupcake batter to ensure that you will have the best cupcakes across town. More often than not, the ways that you will do this will be through ingredient substitutions.
This means that you are going to want to have a cupcake recipe in mind, so that you have something to rely on when you are switching out one ingredient for another.
For example, you may want to consider switching out the amount of butter needed for some oil. Oils, especially canola oil or olive oil, can result in a considerably fluffier cupcake.
This is because oils will reduce both the formation and the overall effectiveness of gluten proteins in the cupcake itself. Gluten is a protein that is found in most wheat-based flours, and its presence is what causes most baked goods to keep their shape.
When you reduce the efficacy of something that helps a food keep its shape, it will become more tender and softer. In the context of cupcake batter, this results in a fluffier texture as there isn’t as much gluten forcing the cupcake to retain a specific shape, allowing for everything to rise more and become fluffier.
When substituting butter for oil, you will want to replace every single cup of butter for about ¾ a cup of oil.
On the note of gluten production, formation, and efficacy, you will also want to replace all-purpose flour with cake flour.
One thing you may not know is that cake flour is not specially branded and set aside from all-purpose flour for a good reason. It has a different amount of gluten in it, resulting in the same thing that replacing butter with oil would.
Without as much gluten in the flour, there will be less rigidity in the structure of the cupcake, leading to a tasty and fluffy cupcake. Typically, you can replace all-purpose flour with cake flour at a 1:1 ratio, unless otherwise specified by any packaging.
Another aspect that you will want to consider is that you will want to add more fat to the cupcake, through one method or another. Additional fat content will introduce more moisture into the cupcake batter.
Additional moisture can often come across as a fluffier texture, resulting in the perfect cupcakes for your needs. There are a few different ways you can add fat to your cupcake batter.
Some of the most common methods are adding sour cream or yogurt, as these also carry milk with them to cover the milk ingredient. The amount of this that you would use depends heavily on how much “wet” ingredients your recipe has, excluding egg.
Typically, you will replace half the volume of the wet ingredients with sour cream or yogurt. If you want even more moisture, you can keep your recipe the same, and then add half a cup of sour cream or yogurt at the end for every 12 cupcakes your recipe makes.
On that same note, you can also add mayonnaise. While this might sound disgusting at first, when you think about it, it can actually make a fair bit of sense. Mayo has both the fat content you need to make fluffy cupcakes, the oil needed to replace the butter (as mentioned earlier), and the eggs that are needed to keep a cupcake’s shape the way it should be.
This means that it can actually cover quite a few ingredients while still introducing more moisture and fat to your recipe than other additions may offer.
When substituting mayo in your recipe, you don’t actually have to take anything out of it. Instead, you will only be adding a little bit of mayo at a time considering it has so many of the ingredients that cupcakes already call for.
For every 12 cupcakes that your recipe makes, you will want to add a quarter cup of mayo. This should be enough to turn your recipe into everything you want it to be, without affecting the taste of the cupcakes in any way.
Before you know it, you will have the perfect, fluffy cupcakes that you have always wanted.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.