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13 Great Ways to Make Cupcakes Moist

13 Great Ways to Make Cupcakes Moist

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Everyone loves a good cupcake, and a good cupcake is never dry.

When you bite into a cupcake, it’s supposed to be moist and tender, not dry or crumbly! 

So how can you bake a perfectly moist cupcake that keeps everybody coming back for more? Let me show you!

Today, I’m sharing handy tips and tricks to help you enjoy deliciously soft and moist cupcakes anytime you’d like!

What Makes Cupcakes Moist?

Before I tell you how to make nice, juicy cupcakes, let’s take a look at why cupcakes are moist. It generally comes down to the ingredients in the cupcake and how you bake the batter.

Wet Ingredients

First things first, your cupcake recipe should call for the right amount of wet ingredients to turn out properly moist.

These include components like milk, cream, eggs, water, and sometimes even coffee (using coffee as an ingredient in chocolate cupcakes helps bring out the chocolate flavor!).

Make sure you measure all the wet ingredients accurately. This way, the batter gets enough moisture for some of it to evaporate during baking and still leave behind some for tenderness.

Fat Components

Fat also adds moisture to the cupcakes and helps keep the cake soft as it bakes. That’s why your cupcake recipe should have some sort of butter, oil, or alternative fat.

If you are making low-fat cupcakes, you will likely have applesauce, yogurt, or another kind of fat substitute. This will work beautifully to keep those cupcakes moist and juicy!

Pot Of Homemade Applesauce

Once again, be sure to measure the ingredients correctly, and don’t skip the fat — you need it to prevent your cupcakes from drying out!

Baking Time and Temperature

Speaking of drying out, cupcakes lose a lot of moisture as they bake.

The high oven temperature evaporates a lot of the liquid inside the cake. This is a good thing though; it’s how your cupcake goes from being a wet batter to a baked, set cake.

Baking time and temperature are critical pieces of the moist cupcake puzzle! Applying the right baking time and temperature will produce perfectly cooked, moist cupcakes.

How To Make Cupcakes Moist

Now that you know what helps keep baked cupcakes moist, I’ll walk you through specific pointers and techniques to ensure your cupcakes come out soft and juicy every time!

1 – Use Cake Flour

Many cake recipes out there call for cake flour as a main ingredient. Cake flour has less gluten than all-purpose or bread flour, so it yields tender baked goods.

Typically, cake flour is also bleached, making the acid content of the flour higher. The acidic nature of the flour allows it to trap more moisture during baking – exactly what you need when you want a moist cupcake!

If your cake recipe uses all-purpose flour, consider swapping that ingredient for equal parts of cake flour to make your cupcakes softer and more moist.

2 – Use Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar

White sugar is the most common type of sweetener in cake recipes. However, using brown sugar can increase the moisture levels in your cupcakes.

Brown sugar is made by adding molasses to white sugar. That wet, thick sweetener makes brown sugar denser and damper than white sugar, allowing the extra moisture to shine through in your cupcakes and make them very tender.

Of course, brown sugar will make your cupcake batter darker, so it may not be the best option in a white cake recipe. 

If you don’t feel like replacing all of your white sugar with brown sugar, simply substitute only half of the amount. This will still give the batter some extra moisture without drastically changing its appearance.

3 – Use Oil Instead of Butter

If your cake recipe calls for butter, consider using canola oil, olive oil, or coconut oil instead.

While butter is a tasty kind of fat, it’s also made partially of water. This means that butter contains slightly less fat than oil, which is 100% pure fat.

Adding this extra fat to your batter will keep gluten from building in your cupcakes by preventing the bonding of gluten chains. Fewer gluten bonds equal softer cupcakes!

Replacing your butter with the same quantity of oil can help produce moist cupcakes.

4 – Try Sour Cream or Yogurt

Bowl Of Yogurt

If your cake recipe uses milk, cream, or water, try substituting it with a more dense dairy product.

Sour cream and yogurt both contain less water than regular milk, meaning they’ll evaporate less as your cupcake bakes. Also, they’re both more acidic than milk and cream which will also boost the moisture in your cupcakes.

Be sure to add plain sour cream and plain yogurt rather than flavored varieties. You want to raise the moisture level, not change the taste!

When replacing the milk, use equal parts of sour cream or yogurt. So, if your recipe asks for 1 cup of milk, substitute it with 1 cup of plain yogurt – such a simple switch!

5 – Replace Milk with Buttermilk

You can also switch the milk in your cupcake recipe with buttermilk for extra tenderness.

Compared to regular milk, buttermilk is more acidic. This acidity disrupts gluten bonds during baking, keeping the cake softer and more moist.

Buttermilk also has a unique tangy flavor that balances the sweetness of cupcakes for overall improved deliciousness!

6 – Incorporate Applesauce

To bring in extra moisture to your cupcakes, you can add applesauce to the batter. As a liquid, it’ll help preserve the softness of the cake during baking.

Applesauce can also double as a sweetener – a natural one at that! Not to mention, it’ll also add the fruity flavor of apples, which elevates cupcakes to a new level of deliciousness!

This trick hits 3 birds with 1 stone!

7 – Add Some Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise? In a cupcake recipe? Absolutely!

Mayonnaise may seem like a strange component to add to your batter, but it’s actually an effective ingredient for increasing the moisture in your cupcake.

Mayonnaise is made with eggs and oil which we already use in cupcakes anyway! Just one scoop of the juicy, fatty ingredient will give your cupcakes density and moisture.

Additionally, mayonnaise contains vinegar, which is a natural preservative. Not only will your cupcakes be softer, but they’ll also last longer!

Mix in ¼ cup of mayonnaise along with your fats in any 12-piece cupcake recipe.

8 – Add Some Pudding

While pudding mix is a dessert in itself, it’s also a fun and easy way to tweak your cupcake recipe for extra moisture.

You don’t need to use the pudding mix to replace any ingredients in your recipe. Simply add a small, 3.5-ounce box of pudding mix to your cupcake batter sized for 12 cupcakes.

Combine the dry mix with the other dry ingredients in your recipe. The pudding mix contains gelatin, so it’s going to make your batter smooth, dense, and, of course, tender!

You can also use the powdered pudding mix to elevate the flavor of your cupcakes.

Choose a chocolate or mint pudding to make your chocolate cupcakes richer. Similarly, vanilla will enhance your vanilla cupcake recipe.

9 – Mind the Ratio

As you can tell by now, making cupcakes moist involves a fair level of ingredient adjustment.

While tweaking your recipe to yield perfectly moist cupcakes, it’s easy to mess up the ratio between the wet and dry ingredients.

Wet ingredients such as eggs, oil, buttermilk, and so on thin out the batter and add moisture. Dry ingredients such as flour, powder mix, and any powder do the opposite.

Striking a balance between the two is key to a properly moist cupcake. Otherwise, you’ll end up with either a runny or a dry cupcake.

10 – Mix Gently

Overmixing will ruin your chances of enjoying a moist cupcake. Stirring develops gluten bonds, so excessive combining extends the gluten network and turns the cake too firm and dry.

To avoid this scenario, ditch the electric mixer for a hand whisk and keep mixing time to a minimum. Ensure there are no lumps when blending ingredients in 10 seconds or less.

11 – Watch the Clock

Cupcakes In The Oven

One of the most common reasons that cupcakes dry out is when you over-bake them. 

Leaving the cupcakes in the oven for too long almost guarantees that they get dry. So, when it’s time for baking, set your oven timer for a few minutes before the recipe’s baking time.

You can check the doneness of your cupcakes by sticking a toothpick in the center of the cake. When the toothpick comes out clean, remove the tray from the oven.

Another method is to simply touch the top of the cupcake. You’ll know it’s done when it springs back to touch.

Also, when your cupcakes are fully baked, they’ll start to pull away from the sides of the cupcake pan and there’ll be a small space between the paper liner and the cupcake tray.

That said, it’s always better to take your cupcakes out a minute early than a minute too late! So watch that oven carefully to ensure the cupcakes don’t lose excess moisture due to overbaking.

12 – Add a Filling

Filled Red Velvet Cupcake

If you’ve already baked your cupcakes and found that they are a little drier than you may like, you can always add a filling to help juice things up!

Filling the cupcakes won’t only give them a delicious secret center surprise, but it’ll also help make a dry cupcake much softer.

Remove the center of the cupcakes using a small cutter or the bottom of a pastry tip. Discard the cupcake center (or eat it!), and then load your favorite filling into the empty center.

You can use jams, chocolate ganache, buttercream, or puddings to stuff your cupcakes. The moisture from the fillings will soak into the cake and make your cupcakes nice and tender.

13 – Brush with Simple Syrup

Dry cupcakes can still be saved after baking. Soaking the cupcakes with simple syrup is a surefire way to give them some extra moisture.

Soaking the cupcakes with simple syrup will literally have the cake dripping with juicy goodness!

Make simple syrup by boiling equal parts of sugar and water. Then, use a pastry brush to coat the cupcakes in the syrup.

Be sure to add a little syrup at a time to allow the cake time to absorb the syrup instead of flooding it all at once.

You can also use a small squeeze bottle full of syrup to poke and squeeze the juice into the cupcake directly. Either method will ensure your dry cupcakes become moist almost instantly!

Final Thoughts

A moist, tender cupcake is always a winner, and with these tricks, you’re guaranteed a perfect batch of next cupcakes every time.

Let me know which methods you try and which techniques are your favorite! Happy baking!

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Shona maree Brown

Thursday 7th of October 2021

I love making my cupcakes from scratch but want them to be nice and moist so thank you for the tips..