The Baking Tip That Turns Any Carrot Cake Recipe Into Flawless Cupcakes

Carrot cake cupcake
Carrot cake cupcake - Lisegagne/Getty Images

A good carrot cake recipe is an absolute must in any baker's repertoire because you can serve it at almost any occasion. It can be frosted into towering layers at a wedding, or topped with a little brown sugar streusel as a tea or coffee cake. Millions of people blow out their birthday candles over a carrot cake every year, and you can buy it by the slice at almost any grocery store or bakery (just look for the little icing carrots). The best way to have a bite or two of spiced carrot cake, however, is in cupcake form. You don't need to start from scratch to perfect a carrot cupcake recipe, either. If you already have a carrot cake recipe you love, all you have to do is make the full-size version and simply reduce the baking time once the batter is in the cups.

Cupcake pans create a lot more heat, which combined with small portions of batter means they cook faster. So when you're making carrot cake cupcakes, you can use the same oven setting, just set the timer back by about 15 or 20 minutes to get perfectly puffy, moist cupcakes every time.

Read more: 8 Baking Sheet Mistakes You Want To Avoid

Cupcake Pans Have More Surface Area

Carrot cake batter in a bowl
Carrot cake batter in a bowl - Lynne Ann Mitchell/Shutterstock

Cupcakes are really just tiny cakes, so if you're scouring the internet for carrot cupcake recipes you can close your laptop. Every carrot cake recipe can be a carrot cupcake recipe as long as you time the bake properly. The difference between a full-sized carrot cake and cupcakes isn't in the batter itself, it's in the shape of the pan. Muffin tins, which are used to make cupcakes, have a lot more surface area than regular cake pans — that is, more of the cake batter touches metal than in a regular cake. The shape of the pan creates the distinctive shape of cupcakes, but all that metal also heats up each little portion of batter quickly by distributing heat on all sides of the cupcake and speeds up the baking process. Not only that, each cupcake contains only around ¼ of a cup of batter, which takes much less time to bake than a whole cake.

If you want to turn your grandmother's recipe for carrot cake into cupcakes, it's easy. Just shave about half of the time it takes to bake the whole cake or cake layers, which is normally around 30-45 minutes. It's extra important to rotate your cupcake pan in the oven about 2/3rds of the way through the bake time, in case your oven has hot spots. Don't rotate them too soon, though, because the cake crumb needs time to rise and set.

Test Your Cupcakes

Carrot cake cupcakes, one with frosting
Carrot cake cupcakes, one with frosting - Anna Shepulova/Shutterstock

When the timer goes off on your cupcakes, don't automatically assume they're done, either. You've got to test them to make sure they're cooked through, otherwise they can come out goopy and uncooked inside. Grab a cake tester or a toothpick, insert it into the thickest part of a cupcake, and pull it out to see if it comes out clean. Sticky batters like carrot cake can be a little hard to read with the toothpick method, however, so it's also a little more precise to use a quick-read meat thermometer to see if they're done. Because cupcakes are small and there'll be some carryover heat from the pan, pull them out when they're around 200 degrees Fahrenheit and let them cool in the pan for a few minutes.

Regardless of which testing method you use, start checking for doneness about five minutes before the timer goes off. When cupcakes are done you have to act fast, because they're so small they can dry out and burn pretty quickly if you're not paying attention. A kitchen timer is your best friend when you're baking any kind of cupcake, but it's especially important for carrot cakes so that they're perfectly moist when it's time to slather them with some cream cheese frosting.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.