I seem to have a problem with my cupcakes occaisonally turning out too dry, and I'm not sure why. What are the most common reasons for this happening? It happens even when I use recipes with good reviews online that I follow exactly. Could I be leaving them in too long? Could it be my oven?
I never personally noticed them being dry, but I frequently bring cupcakes to work for my coworkers to test out, and one coworker approached me after the last batch and told me in a hilariously careful and gentle way that he's noticed a trend of dryness in my cupcakes. Now I'm determined to fix it! Any tips?
You're baking them too long. Remember there is carryover baking after you take them out of the oven, so you take them out about half a minute before they are done.
I don't bake to the point where they get totally browned on top. I feel like that's too long. I have always slightly under-baked my cupcakes and it seems to work well. I start checking about 3 minutes before the minimum time.
Experiment with baking times. Every oven is different. Maybe you need to turn your oven temp down also.
I've never ever baked my cupcakes as long as the recipe states (or what the box mix says, whichever I'm using). I usually set my time for 5 minutes less than the time called for, and check them with the toothpick method. I like them just slightly undercooked because like everyone else says, they still cook a little after they are taken out of the oven.
Followup: I made a batch last night and cooked one pan with one color liner at the exact amount of recommended time, and another pan with different liners for 4 minutes less. Today I brought them in to my coworkers at my day job and said "tell me what color paper you have and rate moistness 1-5, with 1 being too dry". They unanimously said the green ones (baked the recommended time) were a 2, and the blue ones (baked 4 min less) were a 5.
I think I've fixed my problem! Thanks guys!
AYay! Good for you. BTW I love your avatar, so cute.
I always bake for less time than the recipe states. As a rule of thumb, I start checking at 15 minutes.
Also, I've heard (and agree) that if you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean, your cupcakes are overdone. If there's a bit of cupcake crumbs stuck to the toothpick when you pull it out (but doesn't look completely undercooked), then they are done.
I also take them out of the pan quickly because I they continue to bake a little bit.
If you don't have toothpicks handy, you can also gently poke the cupcakes. If your finger leaves an indentation, they're not done. If they "bounce" back, they're ready to come out.