Candace Nelson, creator of Sprinkles cupcakes bakeries, and the Sprinkles cupcake Baking Book shares her secrets for making incredible treats.
When people queue for hours to taste your cupcakes, you know you are doing something right. Oprah considers them one her Favourite Things and Blake Lively has petitioned to open a shop near their home. Since 2005, Candace Nelson has lived this reality ever since she opened Sprinkles cupcakes bakery. She’s enjoyed baking and tasting cupcakes of all types (and different quality levels) in her own kitchen as well as being a judge on Cupcake Wars over the years.
She’s now combining her hard-won wisdom with the recipes that made Sprinkles cupcakes so popular in the first place to create The Sprinkles Cupcakes Baking Book.
- Make Your Temp Right Sprinkles Cupcakes
Although it’s tempting to hurry into Sprinkles cupcakes baking, waiting for butter and eggs at room temperature will make your cupcakes taste and texture worse. Nelson states that the room temperature is slightly lower than the temperature in your room. You should be able press your finger into a butter stick with a gentle pressure, without the butter becoming mushy.
Nelson recommends that you bring all dairy products to room temperature before starting baking.
- Know when to back away from the electric mixer
The baker may have overmixed the batter if you’ve ever eaten a hard, chewy cupcake. Nelson says that the key is to cream the butter, sugar, and eggs until it’s lighter in color and has an airy texture. Once you’ve added the flour, dry ingredients and butter to the mixture, start mixing it. Don’t beat it! Stop when everything is combined.
She explains that flour has gluten and that proteins are activated and strengthened when you mix them a lot.
- Use this tool to avoid dry Sprinkles Cupcakes
Nelson swears by the disher, a spring-release scoop to ensure every cupcake has the same amount batter. A No. She uses a 16-scoop scoop that makes about 1/4 cup batter. Nelson states that it is possible to make different sizes and the cupcakes on the tray will get overbaked while you wait for the big one to bake.
- These two ingredients are essential. Ever.
High-quality vanilla extract and chocolate are worth the investment for decadent cupcakes. She says, “Niesen Massey makes some of the best vanilla in the world, and I love Valrhona Callebaut, Valrhona or Tcho for my chocolates, which is an American artisanal chocolate from San Francisco.”
- Try this instead of the Toothpick Test.
Nelson admitted that he doesn’t like the toothpick test. “When you make something for the first-time, it can be a bit of a guessing game. I like to use all the tools available, including my senses of sight and smell.”
She prefers to use the finger test just like a Sprinkles cake grill master would for checking on a steak. Nelson says, “Look for just enough resistance when you press down on the top” of the cupcake. You want to apply pressure, but not too much. The top of the cupcake should be dry enough so that it doesn’t stick on your finger.