Don’t you just hate it when you have slaved away over a tray of cupcakes just to take a bite find them a little dry and crumbly? Don’t you just wish they were just a little more moist and fluffy? If so, you’re not alone. It seems a lot of people have trouble making cupcakes that are both moist and fluffy.
Well, say goodbye to dry cupcakes. Here, I am going to share with you some of the best tips and tricks for making the moistest cupcakes you’ve ever laid eyes on!
What Are Cupcakes?
Before we talk about how to make cupcakes more moist, let’s get back to basics.
By now, I am sure you already know what cupcakes are, but just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few decades, here it is. Cupcakes are small, individual cakes that are usually baked in a cup or muffin tin. They can be any flavor you like, but the most popular flavors are vanilla, chocolate, and red velvet.
Cupcakes are often frosted with buttercream or cream cheese frosting and decorated with sprinkles or other decorations.
What Makes Cupcakes Moist?
It is all in the ingredients. The most important ingredient for making moist cupcakes is butter. You need to use real butter, not margarine or vegetable shortening. The second most important ingredient is eggs. You should use at least two eggs per cupcake recipe.
If you are using butter and eggs, yet still can’t get the batter nice and moist, you can also add some extra ingredients to make your cupcakes more moist. Below are some additional ingredients you can try.
The Secret to Moist Cupcakes
I am an advocate for not substituting ingredients in a recipe. If the recipe calls for butter, use butter. If it calls for full-fat cream cheese, use full-fat cream cheese. But there is one exception to this rule: if you are looking to make your cupcakes more moist, substituting ingredients might be just what you need to do.
Let’s take a look at some ingredients that you can use to ramp us the moistness in your cupcakes.
Oil is commonly used in cooking and frying but not many people know that oil is great for baking.
Typically, a cupcake recipe will call for butter but, if you want to make really moist cupcakes, you can use oil instead. Butter has a percentage of water in it which can evaporate as it bakes, causing the cupcakes to dry out. Oil, on the other hand, does not have any water in it and is 100% fat. This means that your cupcakes will retain all of their moisture, resulting in a moister cupcake.
If you do decide to use oil instead of butter, I would recommend using vegetable oil or canola oil. These oils have a neutral flavor and will not alter the taste of your cupcakes. Having said that, butter adds to the buttery texture and taste of a cupcake, so if you add oil, you might compromise on the taste.
To substitute oil for butter, simply use the same amount of oil as you would butter. For example, if the recipe calls for ½ cup of butter, use ½ cup of oil.
Instant Pudding Mix
Instant pudding mix is a great way to add moisture to your cupcakes. It is made up of cornstarch, sugar, gelatin, and other flavorings. When it is combined with milk and eggs, it forms a thick mixture that can be added to cake or cookie recipes for extra moistness.
You don’t need to replace any ingredient with the pudding mix, but you can add a small amount of powdered pudding mix along with the rest of the dry ingredients.
Pudding mix comes in all sorts of flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and banana. So, if you are making chocolate cupcakes, try adding chocolate flavor pudding mix.
Sour Cream or Yogurt
Sour cream and yogurt are both great ingredients for adding moisture to anything you make. They are high in fat and contain lactic acid, which helps to make cupcakes moist and fresh.
If your cupcake recipe asks for a liquid like milk, cream, or water, you can replace it entirely with sour cream or yogurt for a moist cupcake. Both dairy products also have less water than milk so will evaporate less in the oven, leaving your cupcakes nice and moist.
I would recommend using full-fat sour cream or yogurt for the best results. Make sure they are plain without any flavorings.
Most of us reach for granulated sugar or superfine sugar when baking. Brown sugar somehow gets forgotten in the back of the cupboard, but it’s time to bring it out and put it to good use! One of it’s great uses is adding moisture into cupcakes.
Brown sugar is made up of granulated sugar and molasses. This means that it has a higher moisture content than granulated sugar. It also has a caramel-like flavor which can add depth to your cupcakes.
If you are looking for a way to make your cupcakes more moist, try substituting brown sugar for granulated sugar. You can use the same amount of brown sugar as you would granulated sugar.
As brown sugar is, well, brown, it will make the cupcakes a bit darker. If you are making cupcakes for a special occasion, I would recommend using brown sugar for red velvet or chocolate cupcakes instead of vanilla cupcakes as it will alter the appearance.
Applesauce is a great way to add moisture and flavor to your cupcakes. It is made from apples, water and sugar and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
You can replace up to half of the butter or oil in a recipe with applesauce for a moister cake. I would not recommend replacing all of the fat as this will make the cupcakes dense and heavy.
Applesauce comes in both sweetened and unsweetened versions. I would recommend using unsweetened applesauce as it has less sugar and calories. If you do use sweetened applesauce, reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe by half.
Yes, this sounds a bit weird but trust me, it really works! Mayonnaise is made up of oil, vinegar, and egg yolks. This combination makes for a very moist cake.
To use mayo in your cupcakes, simply add 1/4 cup of mayonnaise along with your butter for a 12 cupcake recipe.
Mayo can act as a great preservative as the added vinegar will make the cupcakes last longer.
Cake flour is a type of wheat flour that is low in gluten. This means that it creates a finer and more delicate crumb in your cakes and cupcakes.
This type of flour tends to be bleached which means it has a higher acid content. The acid traps more moisture in the oven, resulting in moist cupcakes which is exactly what we are here for.
You can replace all or part of the regular flour in your recipe with cake flour for a more moist cupcake. I would recommend replacing no more than 50% of the regular flour as too much will make the cupcakes dense and heavy.
Cake flour can be found in most supermarkets near the other types of flour. If you can’t find it, you can make your own by adding cornstarch to all-purpose flour. For every cup of all-purpose flour, remove two tablespoons and add two tablespoons of will make your cupcakes moister than if you use all-purpose or bread flour. It also gives them a softer texture.
Add a Filling
Adding a filling or icing to your cupcakes will not only add moisture but also flavor and texture. There are endless possibilities when it comes to fillings, so you can really showcase your creativity.
Some of my favorite fillings include:
- Chocolate ganache
- Vanilla buttercream
- Lemon curd
The list goes on!
Adding a filling to your cupcakes is very simple. Once you have baked your cupcakes and let them cool, cut a small hole (I recommend using a cupcake corer) in the top of each one. Fill a piping bag with your chosen filling and pipe it into the holes.
If you choose to not fill your cupcakes, you should at least pipe some frosting. Frosting will help keep cupcakes moist for longer.
Brush with Syrup
Brushing your cupcakes with syrup before baking will add moisture and keep them from drying out. Syrup is really easy to make at home and only requires sugar and water.
Simply heat equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Once the syrup has cooled, brush it on your cupcakes with a pastry brush.
The syrup will seep into the cupcakes, keeping them nice and moist.
Don’t Over Bake
This is probably the most important tip of all. Whether you use any of the ingredients above or just stick to the traditional way, always make sure not to over bake your cupcakes. Over baking will cause the cupcakes to become dry and crumbly. They will also shrink in size and lose their shape.
To avoid over-baking, always set a timer and keep an eye on them. Start testing for doneness a few minutes before the recipe calls for it.
A toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake should come out clean when they are done. Another tip is by pressing your finger down gently into the center of the cupcake. If it springs back up, then they are ready, if it sinks, leave them in for a few more minutes.
Remember that cupcakes will continue baking even after you have taken them out of the oven, so be sure to let them cool completely before frosting or serving.
How To Keep Cupcakes Moist
So we know how to make cupcakes moist, but how do we keep them moist? Cupcakes are best eaten fresh, but sometimes we need to make them ahead of time. If you make them ahead of time, you will have to find ways to retain their moisture.
Here are some tips on how to keep cupcakes moist:
Store in an airtight container
How well you store your baked goods plays a huge role in how long your cupcakes will last. If you store your cupcakes in an airtight container, they will stay fresher for longer. This is because it prevents moisture from escaping. Be sure to not overfill the container as this may cause them to become soggy.
I would recommend storing the cupcakes unfrosted and frosting them on the day you are serving them up.
Seal in moisture with a plastic wrap
Another way to keep the moisture locked in is by sealing them with plastic wrap. Press the wrap firmly against the cupcakes so that there are no air gaps. This will help keep them from drying out.
Refrigerate or Freeze
Cupcakes will stay at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. By placing them in the fridge or freezer, you are prolonging their shelf life. If you have placed them in the freezer, be sure to let them thaw out completely before serving. If they are in the fridge, let them sit out at room temperature first before giving them out to your guests.
Now you know how to make cupcakes moist and fluffy. Be sure to use these tips next time you bake up a batch of cupcakes for super moist cupcakes!