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15 of the Best Cupcake Hacks for Kids’ Birthdays

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Making sure that your child’s birthday party goes off without a hitch requires plenty of planning and preparation time, something that today’s busy parents aren’t likely to have a surplus of. These 15 cupcake hacks can save you a significant amount of time in the kitchen, ensuring that at least one aspect of the party is pulled off perfectly without an entire day of baking and stress.

  1. Skip Sifting – Sifting the dry ingredients, though recommended, is not necessary to make the perfect cupcakes. Some claim that sifting creates lighter and fluffier cupcakes, but it doesn’t really make much of a noticeable difference and is quite time-consuming.
  2. Use the Freezer for Storage Take advantage of any spare time you have any time in the month leading up to the party by baking cupcakes and freezing them. It’s important to skip the frosting step before freezing, but on the day of the party all you’ll need to do is pop some frosting on top of the thawed treats.
  3. Use an Ice Cream Scoop – An ice cream scoop is the perfect size to create an even amount of batter in each cup. Not only will your cupcakes come out uniformly sized, but you’ll also be able to speed through the process of filling those individual paper cups.
  4. Host a “Decorate Your Own Cupcake” Party – Kids love anything interactive and creative, and the most time-consuming aspect of preparing cupcakes is the decorating. Rather than slaving over a sea of icing and nonpareils, why not let the kids have a blast while they do all that work for you?
  5. Store in Cupcake Pan – Cupcake pans work great as a way to transport the creations from point A to point B. It keeps the icing intact while also giving you a way to move the cakes without worrying about them tipping over or crumbling. When you don’t have to walk carefully or treat the cupcakes gingerly, you’ll be able to save time.
  6. Do Not Over Mix – One common mistake is that people over mix their batter. This will create harder, less moist cupcakes that simply don’t satisfy kiddie connoisseurs. So, to avoid having to make a new batch, just mix it until the ingredients are combined. If there are a few lumps, that’s okay.
  7. Start with the Minimum Baking Time Recommended – Burned cupcakes have to be remade, and not all ovens are created equal. Making sure that you check your treats in a timely manner and that you pay attention to their level of doneness will help prevent scorched cupcakes that put you back at square one when there’s no time to spare.
  8. Rotate – Be sure to rotate the baking pan part way through the baking process to make sure the cupcakes are cooked evenly. Most ovens, aside from a brand new one, no longer distribute the heat evenly and will require you to be a little more proactive about keeping an eye on your homemade treats.
  9. Opt for Store-Bought Frosting – You don’t have to kill yourself over creating your own frosting. It’s okay to fudge the recipe a bit and spring for pre-mixed icing, unless you have concerns about additives and preservatives.
  10. Start With Room-Temperature Ingredients – Pull all of your refrigerated ingredients, especially butter, out of the icebox about 30 minutes before you start mixing to create a smoother batter that mixes beautifully.
  11. Don’t Skip the Paper Cups –Those little paper cups serve more than just an aesthetic purpose. They keep clean-up easy, make handling less of a challenge and prevent your cupcakes from sticking to the edge of the pan while they’re baking. The few seconds you’ll save by opting not to line the pan will be completely wasted when your cupcakes crumble as you try to remove them.
  12. Consider Using a Boxed Mix – Gourmet cupcakes are great for more discerning palates, but the pint-sized guests at your child’s birthday bash aren’t likely to know the difference between treats whipped up from scratch and those that came from a boxed mix. There are exceptions to this rule, however, for kids with allergies or parents that are sticking to a specialized diet for their families.
  13. Be Patient – When time is at a premium, it’s not always easy to be patient with planning and preparation. When it comes to your cupcakes, however, you’ll have to be. After the cupcakes are removed from the oven, go manage the decorations or other planning tasks until those treats are completely cooled. Icing and decorating still-warm cupcakes will cause the icing to run and all of your hard work to go to waste.
  14. Poke It – The time-honored tradition of testing doneness with a cupcake is still one of the more effective methods. Have a toothpick or skewer on hand to stab at your little baked goods. A clean surface indicates that the cupcakes are done, while wet toothpicks are a sure sign that they need a few more minutes in the oven.
  15. Have Fun! As with everything in life, you should remember to have fun. If you’re frazzled from putting too much on your plate, the vibe of the birthday party will be thrown off. They are cupcakes after all! Who doesn’t have fun when they have a cupcake in their hands?
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