Cupcake Dos & Don’ts

These easy Cupcake Dos & Don’ts make all the difference for the perfect light, fluffy, and moist cakes!

Creating cupcakes from scratch can often feel like a guessing game when it comes to the perfect texture.  Nothing is more frustrating than mastering the flavor only to discover that they’re too dry, too dense, or too firm. I’ve created a little cheat sheet for Cupcake Baking 101!

The LEFT cupcake is dense and dry, while the RIGHT cupcake is fluffy and moist!



Leavening agents will ensure that your cupcakes rise sufficiently.  Too little leavening will cause them to be far too dense.  While it may sound silly, double check the expiration dates on your baking powder and baking soda.  Many of us keep these products in our pantries for long periods of time, and accidentally end up using an expired product.  They will eventually become ineffective so they do need replacing!


While attempting to thoroughly blend ingredients together, it becomes quite easy to unintentionally overmix the batter.  When overmixing happens, it activates the gluten proteins in the flour, and too much of this can result in dense and somewhat gummy cupcakes.  Remember to stick with mixing until “just combined”!


Nobody likes a dry cupcake, but the good news is that simply adding in a little bit of additional liquid is an easy fix.  My personal go-tos are either milk or half and half!


This one feels obvious, but sometimes an extra minute can be all it takes to get that “just a bit too firm” texture.  Err on the side of caution and test your cupcakes with a toothpick sooner rather than later.  You can always add more time, but you can’t undo those extra minutes!  (Do your best to do this without constantly opening the oven as this can interrupt the baking process.)


This is a big one, as well as one that’s often overlooked for the sake of convenience.  Without planning ahead, it’s so tempting to grab chilled butter and eggs straight from the refrigerator and begin the baking process right away.  (Either that, or to attempt to cheat the system by softening the butter in the microwave to the point of being close to melting…I definitely used to be guilty of this!)

Room temperature butter holds onto more air, without which the final cupcakes will be much denser.

Room temperature eggs blend more easily into the batter and also help it to rise more efficiently in the oven.

Baking really is a science, but having a few golden rules to keep in mind throughout the process takes out so much of the guesswork!

Looking to practice your cupcake craft?  Try my Lime Cupcakes + Vanilla Lime Frosting!

Lime Cupcakes + Vanilla Lime Frosting

The perfect cupcakes for a warm spring day, these Lime Cupcakes with Vanilla Lime Buttercream Frosting are just the right combination of refreshing and decadent!

The cake portion is minimally sweet, letting the indulgent frosting really shine and create the perfect balance. 

You don’t need any expert skills or tools to make these cupcakes.  While using a piping bag for frosting will always look pretty, you can also use the ziplock bag method as I did!  A butter knife works as well.  Use whatever you have available to you!

Main Supplies Needed:

  • A Cupcake / Muffin Pan + Liners
  • A Hand Mixer
  • A Zester Or Cheese Grater
  • Toothpicks
  • A Cooling Rack

(If you don’t anticipate the entire batch being consumed at once, check out the storage recommendations at the bottom of the instructions.)

Servings: 12 Cupcakes



  • 1.5 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1.5 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 3/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp Cane Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Lime Zest
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, cubed, room temperature
  • 2 Eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/3 Cup + 1 Tbsp Half and Half, room temperature, or slightly cool is okay!


  • 1 Cup (2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter, room temperature/softened
  • 2 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 Tsp Lime Zest
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract


Optional: Lime Slice Garnishes To Serve



Line a cupcake/muffin tray with 12 liners

Prepare the lime zest and set aside (including the extra reserved for the frosting)

Preheat the oven to 350º


In a medium-sized bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt, and whisk together with a fork

Set the dry ingredients aside

In a large bowl, mix the sugar and lime zest together with a hand mixer

Beat in the cubed butter with a hand mixer, being careful not to overmix (A spoon can be briefly used to ease the mixing, then switch to a low/medium speed until combined and fluffy)

Next, beat in the eggs until just combined (on a low speed)

Mix in approximately half of the lime juice until just combined (on a low speed)

Then, mix in approximately half of the dry ingredients until just combined (on a low speed)

Mix in the other half of the lime juice as well as the half and half until just combined (on a low speed)

Mix in the other half of the dry ingredients until combined (on a low speed)

You can use a spoon to scrape the sides if needed and lightly finish stirring

The batter should now be smooth

Add the batter into the liners

Bake for 18 minutes, or just until a toothpick comes clean

Be careful not to overbake as they will dry out quickly

After 2 minutes, transfer them to a cooling rack to prevent overcooking (I use a pair of forks to lightly grab them out of the hot pan)

While they’re cooling, make the frosting


In a large bowl, beat the butter with a hand mixer until whipped

Loosely stir in the powdered sugar (to avoid mess) then finish combining it with the hand mixer

Mix in the lime juice

Then, mix in the lime zest

Finally, mix in the vanilla


Using your method of choice, frost the cupcakes

Garnish with lime slices before serving if you like


[If the whole batch is not being consumed at once, the leftover cakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, and the leftover frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge!  The frosting can be brought back up to room temperature before using on the leftovers.  It will return to its original soft texture.]

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Interested in more citrus desserts? Try my Iced Lemon Cake!