Over the years I have learned some great tips from cupcake reality shows that have completely improved my own cupcake baking. I am not a gourmet baker at all, but I am good at following recipes and I know that making the smallest adjustment can make my cupcakes turn out even better.
I am going to share a few of the tips I have learned. They are simple things that will make your cupcakes even more amazing.
Tip from: Cupcake Wars
Add espresso to your chocolate cupcake batter to give it a more intense chocolate flavor. You can add a couple of tablespoons of liquid espresso up to 1/2 cup. Since all recipes are different you may need to taste your batter and adjust the amount you use.
Tip from: The Cupcake Girls
Make sure all of the ingredients that go into your cupcakes and frosting are at room temperature. This one made a huge difference in my own baking. My cupcakes turned out more fluffy and more consistent. Eggs, milk, butter, cream cheese, and other cold ingredients should all be at room temperature before mixing and baking. Not only does it make everything easier to blend, it will make your cupcakes more light and fluffy.
Tip from: DC Cupcakes
The girls on DC Cupcakes suggest using Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. This is the king of all vanillas and is perfect for all types of baking. It's a rich and creamy vanilla and will make a big difference in your cupcakes flavor. I like the madagascar bourbon vanilla by Nielsen-Massey Vanilla. You can find this brand in fine grocery stores, culinary supply stores, or at Williams-Sonoma.
Nielsen-Massey Vanillas also sells vanilla bean paste, whole vanilla beans, vanilla sugar, and other cooking vanillas (shown below: Mexican, Madagascar Bourbon, and Tahitian). They also carry hard-to-find extracts like rose water, orange blossom, and more.
I hope these simple tips help you as much as they helped me. Happy cupcake baking!