8 Steps to Follow When Converting a Cake Recipe to Cupcakes

updated Nov 30, 2022
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On Cupcake Project, I’ve converted every imaginable kind of cake to cupcakes. I’ve made angel food cupcakes, pound cake cupcakes, upside-down cake cupcakes, cheesecake cupcakes, and more!

It’s not hard to take your favorite cake recipe and translate it into cupcakes. Here’s the process that I’ve developed over the years.

How to Convert a Cake Recipe to Cupcakes

Here are eight steps to get from favorite cake to perfect cupcake recipe.

1. Scale your cake recipe appropriately.

Plan to get about 12 cupcakes from the same amount of batter that would yield one 9-inch-round cake layer.

However, this will vary based on the cake’s density. A light cake that has a lot of rise will yield more cupcakes than something dense like a cheesecake.

2. Prepare the batter exactly as you would for your cake.

You don’t need to change a thing about the batter; cupcakes are, after all, little cakes.

3. Set the oven to the same temperature as for the cake.

Again, there is no change needed here.

4. Choose a liner.

If the cake is sticky, gooey, or contains large fruit chunks, choose a greaseproof or silicone liner. This will prevent the cupcakes from sticking to the liners or pulling away from the liners. Cakes made from cake mixes or those that have a typical birthday cake crumb should be fine with any liner.

5. Bake a test cupcake.

How much will the cupcake rise? How long will you need to bake it for? The best way to answer these questions is to bake a single test cupcake. Fill a cupcake liner halfway full and place it in the oven. Most cupcake recipes take around 20 minutes to bake.

I suggest checking on your test cupcake at around 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry. You can also test by lightly touching the top of the cupcake and seeing if it springs back.

6. Bake the rest of the cupcakes.

If your test cupcake was too short, fill the others higher; if your test cupcake overflowed, don’t put as much batter in the others. Start checking for doneness at around the number of minutes it took for the test cupcake to bake.

7. Cool the cupcakes.

Remove the cupcakes from their tins and set them on a cooling rack to cool completely. Cooling the cupcakes in the tins can cause the liners to fall away from the cake.

8. Frost the cupcakes.

Whether or not your cake was frosted, you will want to frost your cupcakes (otherwise, they are just muffins). Vanilla bean buttercream frosting is an easy choice that goes with almost any cupcake flavor, and it holds that idyllic cupcake swirl.

Have fun, and happy baking!