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BSI reveals the perfect formula for cupcakes

Makes 30 – 40

Add the butter and sugar first, use plain flour, and make sure you do a calculation to know how many to put on a baking tray at once for the perfect rise


340g (± 0.5g) butter – Unsalted butter should be used. If unsalted butter is not available, the salt content of butter should be subtracted from the salt added to the mixture.

340g (± 0.5g) white sugar, fine – Grain size 0.10mm – 0.35mm.

300g (± 1g) eggs – Middle sized hen eggs, approximately (55 ± 5) g, are beaten and sieved until homogeneous, then weighed.

450g (± 1g) wheat flour (without raising agent) – At least 24 per cent gluten content. 

15g (± 0.5g) baking powder – Phosphate baking powder (double acting) shall be used (not baking soda).

6g (± 0.1g) salt


1. Preheat the oven to 160 °C for a forced air circulation function or to 185 °C for a conventional heating function

2. All ingredients should be at ambient temperature before starting.

3. Beat together butter and sugar in a food mixer until the mixture becomes soft and pale in colour so that all the sugar is incorporated into the mix.

4. Gradually add the egg mixture.

5. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and gently fold into the mixture; loosen the mixture as required from the edge of the bowl to ensure that the mixture is homogeneous.

6. The temperature of the mixture should be 23°C (± 2°C) directly after mixing.

7. Ensure that the paper cases maintain a uniform circular shape by carefully peeling cases from the outside of the batch without distortion.

8. Weigh 28g (± 0.5g) of the mixture into the centre of the paper cases* and place them evenly on the baking sheets.

9. Bake immediately on a baking sheet** placed in the middle of the oven. While the small cakes are baking, the position of the baking sheets shall not be changed.


* Paper cases are 48 mm in base diameter and 29 mm in height. They are made of 70g/m2 bleached greaseproof paper

** The number of cupcakes to be placed on the baking sheet must be calculated by taking the width and the depth of the baking sheet and dividing by 75mm. The answer is rounded to give a whole number of cakes. Multiply the number of cakes from the depth and the width to give the total number for the whole tray.

Eg. A width of 470mm divided by 75 mm equals 6.3. This gives 6 columns of cakes.

A depth of 295mm divided by 75 mm equals 3.9. This gives 3 rows of cakes.

Therefore the total number of cakes on the tray is 18.

The Standard includes a brown shade chart against which to contrast the perfectly baked cupcake to check the efficacy of the oven. The whole chart ranges from black (i.e. burnt) to pale yellow (unbaked), but the mid three tones which indicate peak performance correspond with the following three Pantones: Pantone 2314C, Pantone2318C and Pantone 729C