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    • Si Clist
    • By Si Clist 11th Feb 19, 10:12 AM
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    Si Clist
    Cupcake help needed!
    • #1
    • 11th Feb 19, 10:12 AM
    Cupcake help needed! 11th Feb 19 at 10:12 AM
    Good morning all. I'm posting this here because (a) I don't know where else to and (b) we can't afford to keep experimenting to see if I can solve the problem!

    I like to bake what it seems are nowadays called "cupcakes", by which I mean plain old little sultana cakes in paper cases, and I just can't crack it. The recipe I use is 8oz plain flour + 3 level tsp baking powder, 4oz sugar, 4oz Stork (tub, not slab) and two large eggs, into which mix goes 3oz or so of sultanas which have been soaked overnight, and an oz or so of mixed peel.

    I bake on the middle shelf of a fan-assisted oven at 140C, and they're usually looking well done (i.e. going brown on top rather than golden) by 16-18 minutes. I do though have to turn the tray round after 12 minutes or so 'cos the back left goes brown first.

    They taste really scrummy, but although the tops are quite crusty, the middles are quite gooey. Cooked, but barely. The cakes are also usually sunk in the middle, but The Lady Wife is sure this is 'cos I have to turn the tray round before they're done.

    What am I doing wrong? This is driving me nuts, and I live in fear of writing off the next batch ...
    A positive attitude might not solve all your problems, but it'll annoy enough people to make the effort worthwhile
Page 1
    • GreenQueen
    • By GreenQueen 11th Feb 19, 10:23 AM
    • 320 Posts
    • 1,212 Thanks
    GreenQueen
    • #2
    • 11th Feb 19, 10:23 AM
    • #2
    • 11th Feb 19, 10:23 AM
    That does sound a lot of flour, I usually go for equal quantities of everything - assuming an egg weighs 2 oz, I do 4oz each of SR flour (plain with baking powder should be fine), butter or margarine, sugar and 2 eggs.

    Beat the sugar and butter together until fluffy, mix in the eggs (with anything wet like vanilla essence), fold in the flour, then add anything solid (fruit/choc chips, etc).

    I've never soaked sultanas, not sure whether this may contribute to the gooey-ness?

    I usually cook on 180 for about 15 minutes, until the top springs back.
    Last edited by GreenQueen; 11-02-2019 at 11:02 AM. Reason: Dyslexic keyboard - changed 108 to 180!
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    • Si Clist
    • By Si Clist 11th Feb 19, 11:01 AM
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    Si Clist
    • #3
    • 11th Feb 19, 11:01 AM
    • #3
    • 11th Feb 19, 11:01 AM
    Ahah! Thanks for that. I forgot to mention that we use wholemeal spelt flour + BP, on account of we find that cakes made with it are far more substantial and tasty. We don't immediately want to eat another, which was the case with wheat flour! Interesting that you bake at 108C though. I thought I was barely hot enough at 140!

    As to how much flour I use, you've now got me wondering about this. I reckon soaking the sultanas makes them yummier and far less prone to going hard, so they go into the mix quite wet, plus there's usually about a tablespoon of juicy water from them goes in as well, but with the 8oz of flour I still end up putting a splash of milk into the mix otherwise it's too stiff to spoon out into the cases.

    Hmmm ... I'll try the next batch with an ounce less flour then and see what happens.

    PS Is that definitely 108 - not 180?
    A positive attitude might not solve all your problems, but it'll annoy enough people to make the effort worthwhile
    • GreenQueen
    • By GreenQueen 11th Feb 19, 11:03 AM
    • 320 Posts
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    GreenQueen
    • #4
    • 11th Feb 19, 11:03 AM
    • #4
    • 11th Feb 19, 11:03 AM
    Just edited my post - 108 should have read 180!
    A Clutter Free Life - 2019 in 2019 - 124/2019
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    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 11th Feb 19, 11:06 AM
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    VfM4meplse
    • #5
    • 11th Feb 19, 11:06 AM
    • #5
    • 11th Feb 19, 11:06 AM
    That does sound a lot of flour, I usually go for equal quantities of everything - assuming an egg weighs 2 oz, I do 4oz each of SR flour (plain with baking powder should be fine), butter or margarine, sugar and 2 eggs.

    Beat the sugar and butter together until fluffy, mix in the eggs (with anything wet like vanilla essence), fold in the flour, then add anything solid (fruit/choc chips, etc).

    I've never soaked sultanas, not sure whether this may contribute to the gooey-ness?

    I usually cook on 180 for about 15 minutes, until the top springs back.
    Originally posted by GreenQueen
    Agreed, apart from the temperature.

    My best cake results were with my mum's old gas oven, so I still think in terms of gas mark. Gas mark 4 is the equivalent to 160 C on a fan assisted oven, I'd put in for 12-15 minutes.

    If the sultanas are soaked and then drained, it shouldn't make any difference. I cannot believe that that amount of flour doesn't affect the taste and texture. Use an equivalent weight of SR flour to fat to sugar to egg, and drop the baking powder.
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...I love chaz-ing!
    • Dark Star
    • By Dark Star 11th Feb 19, 1:56 PM
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    Dark Star
    • #6
    • 11th Feb 19, 1:56 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Feb 19, 1:56 PM
    6 oz flour
    6 oz sugar
    6 oz butter or margarine at room temp as it mixes easier
    3 eggs

    Bung all of that in a mixing bowl & mix til smooth then add dry dried fruit. Not soaking wet....we add it straight out of the packet.

    Should fill 12 muffin cases or 24 tiddly fairycake cases

    Cook at 200 or 180 if fan oven for around 20 minutes.

    If not fan oven turn halfway to brown evenly.

    Put a knife in a cake & if it comes out clean ie no gooey mix stuck to it then the cakes are cooked.

    Foolproof recipe
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    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 11th Feb 19, 2:24 PM
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    VfM4meplse
    • #7
    • 11th Feb 19, 2:24 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Feb 19, 2:24 PM
    I forgot to mention that we use wholemeal spelt flour + BP, on account of we find that cakes made with it are far more substantial and tasty.
    Originally posted by Si Clist
    That is a very significant point. Different flours react differently to liquid and heat, and yours is in fact a specialist query.

    Let me know when you've cracked it?
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...I love chaz-ing!
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 11th Feb 19, 2:42 PM
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    trailingspouse
    • #8
    • 11th Feb 19, 2:42 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Feb 19, 2:42 PM
    I use the same recipe as Dark Star - 6oz of everything, and 3 eggs. I think the problem is likely to be the soaked fruit. Use it dry, and toss it in some flour before incorporating in the mix.

    You could also try starting the cupcakes off in a slightly hot oven (so the mixture starts to cook before the fruit can sink), then knocking it down a notch or two to prevent the tops burning.
    • Si Clist
    • By Si Clist 11th Feb 19, 3:32 PM
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    Si Clist
    • #9
    • 11th Feb 19, 3:32 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Feb 19, 3:32 PM
    If the sultanas are soaked and then drained, it shouldn't make any difference. I cannot believe that that amount of flour doesn't affect the taste and texture. Use an equivalent weight of SR flour to fat to sugar to egg, and drop the baking powder.
    Originally posted by VfM4meplse
    Point taken: wholemeal spelt flour's a lot more "solid" than roller-milled wheat, so I guess logic says I should be using less. But having gravitated to spelt for bread years ago and then for scones, we really much prefer cakes made with it to wheat. Or would prefer them if I could crack this soggy middle/burnt top business ...
    A positive attitude might not solve all your problems, but it'll annoy enough people to make the effort worthwhile
    • Si Clist
    • By Si Clist 11th Feb 19, 3:37 PM
    • 453 Posts
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    Si Clist
    That is a very significant point. Different flours react differently to liquid and heat, and yours is in fact a specialist query.

    Let me know when you've cracked it?
    Originally posted by VfM4meplse

    Will do. I'll phone the miller and ask their advice.


    BTW, the reason why I soak the fruit is simply because I use Morrison's cheapo sultanas and they ain't harf dry and hard straight out the bag. I just assumed that if I didn't, they'd be rock hard when the cakes come out the oven.
    A positive attitude might not solve all your problems, but it'll annoy enough people to make the effort worthwhile
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 11th Feb 19, 3:42 PM
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    VfM4meplse
    Will do. I'll phone the miller and ask their advice.


    BTW, the reason why I soak the fruit is simply because I use Morrison's cheapo sultanas and they ain't harf dry and hard straight out the bag. I just assumed that if I didn't, they'd be rock hard when the cakes come out the oven.
    Originally posted by Si Clist
    And then post the result on this thread please? I'm encouraged to try spelt myself now.

    Can't blame you for soaking the fruit. A quick boil and cool in a saucepan gets raisins nice and plumptious
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...I love chaz-ing!
    • SpikyHedgehog
    • By SpikyHedgehog 11th Feb 19, 3:48 PM
    • 998 Posts
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    SpikyHedgehog
    I use wholemeal bread flour 'cos I can't be bothered to have two different wholemeal flours in the cupboard. I know when I use white flour instead, it takes up less liquid.

    My fruit bun recipe uses cup measurements and no eggs so probably isn't much use here but I soak the raisins first as well.
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    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 11th Feb 19, 3:51 PM
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    VfM4meplse
    I use wholemeal bread flour 'cos I can't be bothered to have two different wholemeal flours in the cupboard. I know when I use white flour instead, it takes up less liquid.

    My fruit bun recipe uses cup measurements and no eggs so probably isn't much use here but I soak the raisins first as well.
    Originally posted by SpikyHedgehog
    Post please?
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...I love chaz-ing!
    • kazwookie
    • By kazwookie 11th Feb 19, 3:51 PM
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    kazwookie
    I think the mixture is too wet.

    Dry the soaked fuit before you add it.
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    • Si Clist
    • By Si Clist 11th Feb 19, 4:06 PM
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    Si Clist
    OK, the millers aren't answering the phone so I've emailed them and will certainly post what they have to say if and when I get a response.

    Ref trying spelt, beware because you might get hooked on it like we did a few years back. They do vary a lot though between makes. We reckon the best is Bacheldre wholemeal spelt, and IMO the most pointless is Tesco's own label. We've tried Doves Farm a couple of times too but can't get enthusiastic about it

    PS Off now to dig up the organic leeks to go in the leek pie we're having for tea tonight, and some organic spinach while I'm at it. Needless to say, the pie pastry's wholemeal spelt ...
    Last edited by Si Clist; 11-02-2019 at 4:12 PM.
    A positive attitude might not solve all your problems, but it'll annoy enough people to make the effort worthwhile
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 11th Feb 19, 11:11 PM
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    VfM4meplse
    I am now intrigued by spelt flour - have investigated on mysupermarket and unsurprisingly Asda doesn't stock it but Ocado has 10 varieties . It's pricey though, so I can quite see why you're fed up of wasting it.

    According to this website, if being used instead of standard flour 1.5 times the weight is required. The gluten in it is also more "fragile" than in plain flour (I don't get this, gluten is gluten so perhaps it has a a lower gluten content? Also not sure what that means for mixing techniques either). So you were right to use more flour, but try using 6oz + just over 2 tsp of baking powder for your recipe instead.

    The obvious solution would be to ask Paul Hollywood. Interestingly, he avoided the spelt part of the only question asked about it so he needs some pinning down

    ETA: I found this info on his website. Have you considered using a muffin tray?

    Spelt flour
    Although contains some gluten, people with wheat intolerances often find they can tolerate spelt better than other flour. Spelt is in fact an ancient grain, and an ancestor of modern wheat. Because of its low levels of gluten, it tends to spread outwards whilst proving and baking, and therefore I always suggest that you use a tin when baking with spelt flour at home, as this will create a more balanced loaf.
    Last edited by VfM4meplse; 11-02-2019 at 11:23 PM.
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...I love chaz-ing!
    • Si Clist
    • By Si Clist 12th Feb 19, 7:33 AM
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    Si Clist
    Oh gosh you'll love this. I had no idea who Paul Hollywood is, so I clicked on your link, looked at the questions, read his first answer "I always weight my ingredients using digital scales. For me it’s the most important piece of my kitchen equipment. It’s more accurate than weighing ..." and wasn't over-impressed

    Having said that though, "Because of its low levels of gluten, it tends to spread outwards whilst proving and baking" explains the first thing we noticed when we tried baking with spelt flour. Logical enough when you think about it, but the penny hadn't dropped here!
    A positive attitude might not solve all your problems, but it'll annoy enough people to make the effort worthwhile
    • VitaFortunato
    • By VitaFortunato 12th Feb 19, 8:05 AM
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    VitaFortunato
    I always bake with spelt flour but I use the white one - Dove's Farm. It's expensive but less so if you buy an outer of 6 from Amazon.
    Spelt flour does react differently with liquids so I use very little. I always use an adapted version of Nigella's standard cake recipe.

    6oz Flour
    4oz Butter/Marg
    2oz Sugar
    2 Eggs
    1tsp Baking Powder
    Sultanas or whatever to taste

    Splash of milk to moisten


    Make sure butter is very soft.


    This is an all-in-one recipe so just that - all in a bowl and mix well (I use my stand mixer). Distribute amongst 12 cupcake cases placed inside a cupcake tray. Bake at 160ish for around 15 - 20 mins.


    This works perfectly for me every time - never failed yet!
    • that
    • By that 12th Feb 19, 11:30 PM
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    that
    if you think the issue is due to soaked fruit, soak them in vodka. if you use 100 Proof, 50% is alcohol and should evaporate leaving 50% water
    • lucyhope
    • By lucyhope 13th Feb 19, 8:51 AM
    • 406 Posts
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    lucyhope
    I think your oven might be too hot, a cake decorating group I'm in on Facebook recommends low and slow for both cakes and cupcakes
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