Need To Make 2000 Of Mini Cupcakes, Help!

Baking By raylis Updated 11 Jul 2015 , 2:16pm by raylis

raylis Posted 7 Jul 2015 , 11:12pm
post #1 of 33

Hello all,


I need to make 2000 mini cupcakes soon and I have done some so far, but the mini cupcakes turned out sooo dry *cry*


All I did was baked them, and put them into their cake boxes, and did not expect them to dry out. But they actually dried out, Anyone knows how to avoid this?
Underbake? Wrap box in plastic wrap?


Also, I have come across advice on how creaming of butter and sugar should be done for a while, i.e. whip it up real good. Only after one adds eggs and flour and milk, no overmixing to avoid dry cakes. Is this true?
And is there a need to beat the batter after each egg addition until it is nicely mixed before adding the next egg?

Any insights would be much much appreciated, thanks so much!

32 replies
SquirrellyCakes Posted 7 Jul 2015 , 11:54pm
post #2 of 33

For cakes I always soften the butter by using the paddle attachment of a standmixer on low speed. I actually beat cold butter until softened. Then gradually add the sugar  on low until all is added and switch to about a medium speed for about 8-10 minutes. Then I add the eggs separately.beating well after each egg is added, scraping the bowl down. Once the flour and liquid is added, I only mix until well incorporated. Beating for a long time after liquid is added to flour can over develop the gluten.

It does sound like you are over baking the mini cupcakes. I only bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with no wet batter attached. There can be moist crumbs attached though. But often if you bake until the toothpick come out dry, the cakes will be over done.

The smaller the cake, the quicker they dry out. Once cool, seal them in plastic bags or containers until you decorate them. Once decorated, place in boxes. If they are in boxes longer than overnight, I would bag the boxes but that is just how I do things. How long were they in the boxes before you noticed they were dry?

Since you have to do so many, can you freeze them as you go along?

raylis Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 1:22am
post #3 of 33

Thank you SquirellyCakes for your reply.


The cakes were left overnight. In their respective boxes. I did not have enough space to place them somewhere else and then transfer into the boxes.

Was also concerned the liner would separate from the cake and they did :(

I did a search and most said to ensure that the cake is properly baked, i.e. to avoid the liners separating from the cake.


Do you think it would be sufficient for me to bake, put them into their boxes, wrap whole thing with clingwrap, reopen to frost when the time comes, and then rewrap with clingwrap?


Also, the recipe I use is very simple. It called for 4 eggs. But I reduced to 3 because the eggs I was using were really large. I have also read that egg whites tend to dry cakes out.

Should I also use cake flour, although the recipe calls for self raising four?

thank you again!

*just noticed a mistake in my title, shouldn't have 'of' in there. :/

erin2345 Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 1:52am
post #4 of 33

Are you a professional baker?  If I am agreeing to make 2000 cupcakes for someone, you better believe I already have a tried and true recipe that isn't going to be dry.  I don't think you should be trying new things while baking all these cupcakes.  If I were doing 2000 minis I would bake them early in the week and freeze them, then ice and package up the day of.

Apti Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 5:21am
post #5 of 33

2000 mini's is an ENORMOUS undertaking.   Mini cupcakes are VERY finicky when baking even with a tried and true recipe that has been used previously to make a large volume of minis.  A minute either too long or too little can spell disaster.  Logistically, mini's are also a huge headache since they only have a couple of hours of "counter time" before they begin to go stale and have the liners separate.  You need to have room to wrap and place them in a freezer while others are baking.  You need to have room and time to decorate them quickly and get them packaged and delivered very quickly.  You need to make 100 to 500 extra to account for failures that are under-, over-done or badly separated from the liners.

If this is your first endeavor with this volume of minis, you may wish to re-think the entire enterprise.   I made 15 dozen minis just as a practice and was appalled at the logistics with those little suckers. 

Non-cake people think minis are "easier", therefore "cheaper", than standard sized cupcakes.  No.... no .... no ..... Mini anything is a gigantic pain in the you-know-what.

Pastrybaglady Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 8:09am
post #6 of 33

I recently did a couple of hundred minis and was very concerned about them drying out.  I used a recipe with oil and buttermilk.  I baked them off until just done 8-10 minutes, and when they were barely warm I put them in ziplock bags and froze them.  The morning of delivery I put them in their boxes still frozen and then frosted them with an elegant squirt of icing though a large french tip.  They sat out on a large cupcake stand for several hours and they were not dried out.  In your recipe I would have used 3 whole eggs and an extra yolk to up the fat content or another tablespoon or two of oil.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 12:40pm
post #7 of 33

I haven't baked the mini cupcakes in larger quantities in several years - maybe 8 or so. Never had issues with them separating from the liners. Never made that quantity though, that is a lot unless you have walk in fridges and huge freezers. I have two combination fridge/freezers - one I can dedicate and a large home freezer. I don't think I could ever make more than a couple of hundred cupcakes or maybe four or five hundred minis. But that is me. Now if it were undecorated cookies like chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin that for me would be a much different issue. I can bake them quickly and once cooled, they are easy to package and freeze if necessary. 

I agree with Pastrybaglady about the eggs. I would have used the 4 whole eggs or three whole and an additional white.

I agree with Apti about the baking time. It is so easy to overbake anything small.

I think boxing them in cardboard boxes without them being iced contributed to the problem.

I would bag them as soon as they are cool. Actually when I make large quantities of  regular cupcakes, I have often frozen them iced. Sometimes in the cupcake tins - mine have lids- and additionally in bags. Sometimes in those clear plastic cupcake containers - again additionally bagged. Just call me "The Bag Lady", but I like that extra insurance.

How long are they going to be sitting wrapped up before being iced and/or delivered?  I prefer to bake from scratch but this quantity and the small size and tendency for minis to dry out might make me go to cake mixes. They just have a much longer shelf life and less of a chance of drying out in a case like this.

This certainly is a large task for you.


 

-K8memphis Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 1:26pm
post #8 of 33

i would recommend storing your cupcakes in big plastic tubs like these:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop/storage/storageBoxes?productId=10026213&N=71226

and if they didn't lock tight -- run a piece of plastic wrap all the way around the join to seal them in --

and if you don't have the containers i'd recommend that you store in plastic bags

and i would want to shoot myself because i have no patience to move 2000 pieces of anything and you will have to move them over and over and over -- ouch my achin' back --

too late for you at this point but -- if i did not have freezer/refrigerator space for them i would not accept an order like this myself -- maybe that will be helpful the next time you get an order --

but you definitely need to bake most carefully and wrap them up well 

best to you! hope it all works out!

-K8memphis Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 1:29pm
post #9 of 33

***oh and if you place slices of bread, or tear off pieces of bread to dot around in with your cupcakes -- the bread will stale out and the cakes will suck in the moisture -- this would probably really help you -- avoid letting the cupcakes and bread actually touch because the cupcake will get too soft

raylis Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 2:49pm
post #10 of 33

Thank you all for your suggestions, they are very much appreciated.


Let's just say... I didn't have a choice for this order :/


Anyhow... the recipe I am using is a very basic butter cake recipe (the person asking me to bake this even asked me not to put in any milk... how is that even possible sigh :P)... 250g butter, 250g SR flour, 160g sugar, 4 eggs and 2 tablespoons of milk. Is it advisable to add in a tablespoon of oil? Or should I just make sure I do not overbake them... I tried a batch today and put them in plastic containers and into the freezer they went.


And no, I am no where near being a professional baker..

K8Memphis: The bread idea.. hm.. can I put the pieces of bread in the cake boxes? They are packed 36 in a box. Previously I had just placed the cakes in the box, closed the box, and frosted them when the time came (i.e. after I had baked the rest of the cakes..)
I chuckled at your comment about having a broken back. Even my arm and hand is aching. :/ I do not know how I am going to pull this off. But at the moment I have no choice :P

Thank you again everyone for your help. <3

raylis Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 2:52pm
post #11 of 33

Would it be sufficient to place them in plastic containers right after baking? With bread? Or?
And when ready to frost, take them out? i.e. no freezer space :/


Also, will placing them in the freezer in airtight containers affect their taste/texture? I have never had to freeze cakes ...


Thank you so much again!

SquirrellyCakes Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 3:15pm
post #12 of 33

I know some people feel that freezing or refrigerating butter cakes changes the crumb/texture somewhat negatively but I do it a lot and have no issues at all.

BakerBlackCat Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 3:52pm
post #13 of 33

A 2000 mini-cupcake order would probably make me cry.....

When I do bake mini-cupcakes, I use a 75% oil, 25% butter ratio (where the original recipe calls for all butter).  It makes the batter a bit more drippy (I use a scoop or a squeeze bottle, depending on *how* drippy), but it freezes beautifully, and I have found no change in texture, crumb, or taste.  Bake 'em off (watching the oven like a hawk...), let cool slightly, and I line them up on a quarter sheet cake board, and covering the tops of the minis with parchment paper, I wrap the whole thing up in plastic wrap.  Because they aren't frosted, I can cram them on the board, and I don't use those nifty cupcake holders (that's for after decorating and when properly boxing them up).  Once they're frozen, I can start piling cake boards on top without any worry of squishing anything.

When I'm ready to frost - depending on when the order is due, I'd do this either the night before, or first thing - I fill an 18" or 21" bag, and work with one board at a time.  Pull 'em out, unwrap the plastic wrap, separate the cupcakes out slightly, and start piping.  Once piped/decorated, I properly box & label.  I find having everything set up and ready to go keeps things moving really fast.  If you've got the work space, lining everything up assembly-line style really makes it easier.

Oh, and I've found using the heavy-duty greaseproof liners to solve most of my liner peeling issues.  I get mine here, after some disastrous batches using Wilton or other liners found in craft stores. 

-K8memphis Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 5:08pm
post #14 of 33

sure you can put the bread in there like that -- but I would ice them in the boxes -- pipie it on -- there's no way I'd handle those piece by piece again--

squirrellycakes -- that's me with the butter distinction but it's mostly in regard to white tier/wedding cakes --


-K8memphis Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 5:19pm
post #15 of 33

and about the bread --i'd take a regular piece of bread and cut or tear it into about 9 or 12 little pieces and dot it around the boxes but like i said don't let it touch your product directly --

when I mail cookies I cut the bread with small cookie cutters, hearts, flowers or whatever so it looks a little less distracting but it helps so much

I'm not familiar with that recipe but I think some oil would help and I'd suggest using water or fruit juice or some kind liquid in whatever amount the recipe called for -- your problem might be the recipe -- not that you need to hear this now but...

SquirrellyCakes Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 6:04pm
post #16 of 33

-K8memphis, you are not alone. I have read some articles about refrigerating or freezing buttercakes in a few places. But I have also read a few people say that once the cake reaches room temperature it is fine. I know that freezing helps set the crumb making it easier to crumbcoat or ice which works well for all cakes. I think generally buttercakes are more dense but then some oil or shortening cakes aren't light and fluffy. The theory about not refrigerating or freezing is based on what happens to butter once it is cold. But if you have ever refrigerated shortening, it hardens too. Oil does not. 

Anyway it is all interesting and all a matter of choice and preference and experience.

Geesh -k8memphis, when I was in elementary and highschool had the science being taught been applied to baking - I might not have hated it so much -haha.

Apti Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 6:17pm
post #17 of 33

Oh, Raylis....for something totally outrageous like this, you always have a choice.   This is like telling you to paint a house, pull an engine in a car, or take 500 little kids to the beach...alone....with no other parents.

Tell them (fill in name of whatever idiot requested/demanded) this is the equivalent of a 40-60 hour work week.  This is the equivalent of a $2000 or $3000 order/gift.  If you are getting paid for this, the minimum price should be $2000.  If this is a gift, just say NO.   If you are charging a minimum of $2000, then you should refuse the order and return any/all deposits and help the individual find another COMMERCIAL baker than can fulfill the order.  No person who is "no where near being a professional baker" should ever accept or be coerced into a ridiculous order like 2000 mini cupcakes.

There is no possible combination of reasons, family, debts, or just plain insanity that can compel you to "not have a choice". 

Most likely, the ___________ (fill in name of idiot/well meaning but clueless person/aggressive home invader holding gun to your head), has zero idea of the logistics involved.  "They" probably think this is "easy". 

Do the math.  Costco sheet cakes would mean 40 servings per cake (2x2x2 serving = equivalent to 2 mini cupcakes).  2000 divided by 40 = 50 sheet cakes.  $18 x 50 cakes = $900

Just say NO or purchase 50 Costco sheet cakes and deliver them and cut them, and plate them and serve them.  That would be FAR easier (and probably cheaper....)


Apti Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 6:22pm
post #18 of 33

Ah he*l, I HATE not having an edit button!     I said do the math, then I screwed up the math....


I think (not trusting my fuzzy math by now) that it would be $18 x 25 cakes + $450 (if each cake serving replaced 2 mini cupcakes).   Either way, $450 or $900, it's STILL far easier and probably cheaper than making 2000 minis.

I'm gonna shut up now and go do some housework as penance.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 6:44pm
post #19 of 33

You know -k8memphis your suggestion with the bread based on the whole proven application of keeping a piece of bread in a container of brown sugar because it keeps the brown sugar moist and stops the lumps - remind me of something else. And not just a "run on sentence".

Remember in the good old days how Woolworth's lunch counters and a lot of diners kept their chocolate cakes on glass dome covered pedestals? They always kept a glass of water on the pedestal once the cake had a piece or two sold and the bare cake was exposed.

So that would be another option.

And Apti, you are a hoot and very supportive.

raylis Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 10:51pm
post #20 of 33

THANK YOU everyone for all your comments.

K8Memphis, would this work:

Bake, put straight into boxes, dot with bread. Wrap entire box with clingwrap. When ready to frost (i.e. day before delivery *faints*) -  unwrap, frost, get rid of bread pieces.

Will this work?


They even asked me if the cakes would last a week. I said nooooo.

I must agree that baking minis is much more difficult. It may seem easier because it is smaller, and frosting a smaller cake, i.e. needing less icing. But I really do not think so now that I have.. uh.. the experience of doing it. :/ It takes sooo much time, and sooo much effort. I have no idea how people do it in such a short time, i.e. ensuring that the cakes stay fresh! I always try to bake nearest to the day of delivery.. so this is like a bit of a torture for me. Ha ha.


I also have kids and well. Yknow what it's like having to bake with kids, especially a toddler.

I wish I could bake and frost a few days in advance and y'know, not worry about it drying out and going stale, or worse, going bad if it is too moist (I do live in a place with high humidity). But I do not dare attempt that .. would it work though?

The last batch I did.. the oil kinda seeped through the bottom of the box, perhaps that dried out the cake too. So now I have to fold aluminium foil big enough to line the bottom of the box to ensure that the oil does not seep through...


I will also try not to overbake it, although I do not like how white it looks :p


raylis Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 11:05pm
post #21 of 33

Also, if I were to freeze some (scoured the internet and read that we can arrange cupcakes on a tray, wrap in clingwrap a few times, and stack the next tray on top once frozen)...

will the paper liners separate from the cake while they defrost...?

ooh boy.

BakerBlackCat Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 11:15pm
post #22 of 33

If I use heavy duty greaseproof liners, i don't have a lot of liner separation - there's always going to be a few, it's the nature of the beast.   I'd start baking about a week in advance, line up the just-barely-cooled minis on a cake card, cater wrap with plastic wrap, then freeze. By the time I got the next batch in there, the first will have set up enough that I can stack the next on top of the first.  The day before the order is due, make all the buttercream, have all the decorations ready, and decorated/package one tray at a time.

(This is a generalization of my timeline when I have a gazillion things in an order.  If I can make it ahead of time, cover it, freeze it, wrap it, whatever it, or leave it out to dry, I do.  This includes baking, making frosting, making the fondant decos, setting up and labeling my boxes, etc.  Then handle all the stuff I can't make ahead as close to zero hour as possible.  It makes for less cake insanity than if you were to start 2 days before with everything.  And with an order this big, I will have taken over the entire house with my assembly line, and my family would be existing on take-out, frozen taquitos, and the occasional banana...)

And I line the boxes with coated cake cards, then put the cupcake holders (or not) down, and then the cupcakes.  I haven't had a problem with oil seeping out.


SquirrellyCakes Posted 8 Jul 2015 , 11:15pm
post #23 of 33

I haven't had the paper liners separate due to freezing.

Yes, once they are frozen you can stack them if they freeze up really firm. Not all recipes do. Or you can freeze a tray, well wrapped, then once frozen put them in containers  or bags.

And yes, a big tier or sheet cake takes way less time, you poor kid!


-K8memphis Posted 9 Jul 2015 , 2:16pm
post #24 of 33


Quote by @SquirrellyCakes on 19 hours ago

Remember in the good old days how Woolworth's lunch counters and a lot of diners kept their chocolate cakes on glass dome covered pedestals? They always kept a glass of water on the pedestal once the cake had a piece or two sold and the bare cake was exposed.


yes i always thought the glass might spill and ruin the cake -- hahahaha

-K8memphis Posted 9 Jul 2015 , 2:20pm
post #25 of 33


Quote by @raylis on 15 hours ago

THANK YOU everyone for all your comments.

K8Memphis, would this work:

Bake, put straight into boxes, dot with bread. Wrap entire box with clingwrap. When ready to frost (i.e. day before delivery *faints*) -  unwrap, frost, get rid of bread pieces.

Will this work?


They even asked me if the cakes would last a week. I said nooooo.

I must agree that baking minis is much more difficult. It may seem easier because it is smaller, and frosting a smaller cake, i.e. needing less icing. But I really do not think so now that I have.. uh.. the experience of doing it. :/ It takes sooo much time, and sooo much effort. I have no idea how people do it in such a short time, i.e. ensuring that the cakes stay fresh! I always try to bake nearest to the day of delivery.. so this is like a bit of a torture for me. Ha ha.


I also have kids and well. Yknow what it's like having to bake with kids, especially a toddler.

I wish I could bake and frost a few days in advance and y'know, not worry about it drying out and going stale, or worse, going bad if it is too moist (I do live in a place with high humidity). But I do not dare attempt that .. would it work though?

The last batch I did.. the oil kinda seeped through the bottom of the box, perhaps that dried out the cake too. So now I have to fold aluminium foil big enough to line the bottom of the box to ensure that the oil does not seep through...


I will also try not to overbake it, although I do not like how white it looks :p



 yes i suppose it would --


-K8memphis Posted 9 Jul 2015 , 2:26pm
post #26 of 33


Quote by @SquirrellyCakes on 20 hours ago


Anyway it is all interesting and all a matter of choice and preference and experience.


you said it all right here ^^^ squirrellyc

now would be a great time for us to take a baking/chemistry course!

-K8memphis Posted 9 Jul 2015 , 2:26pm
post #27 of 33

i mean i don't think i would have 'gotten it' in high school but i would really enjoy it now

raylis Posted 10 Jul 2015 , 2:02am
post #28 of 33

thank you again everyone.


One last question (I hope!).

Can I frost frozen cupcakes or do I have to wait till they have completely thawed?

denetteb Posted 10 Jul 2015 , 3:19am
post #29 of 33

Yes, you can frost them frozen, even full size cupcakes.  The minis will only take a few minutes to thaw out anyway.

-K8memphis Posted 10 Jul 2015 , 1:59pm
post #30 of 33

ask as many questions as you need/want to ask no worries

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