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Creative cupcake recipes and baking tips

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Baking tips for Crazy Cupcakes

All cupcakes are not created equal. Sure, simple and traditional chocolate or vanilla cupcakes will do, but when you want something a little more exciting, adding unique flavors with herbs and spices can really rev up your cupcake nibbling experience. Read on for tips on how to create new and interesting cupcake flavors - and then get to baking!

Baking tips for Crazy Cupcakes

Baking tips for creative cupcakes

Cupcake baking tip #1: Keep it simple

One of the most important aspect of adding flavor to cupcakes (or any cake for that matter) is to keep the combinations simple. You don't want to overdo it by adding too many flavor elements. Generally speaking, you should have two main flavorful ingredients that really stand out and complement each other.

Cupcake baking tip #2: Mince flavors

If adding ingredients like herbs, spices or tea, make sure the leaves are minced as finely as possible. Fresh or dried herbs can be used, but keep in mind that dried ingredients are three times as strong as fresh. For example, 1 teaspoon dried equals 3 teaspoons fresh.

Cupcake baking tip #3: Use fruit juice and zest

Fruit juices work especially well to add a natural sweetness, moistness and fruit flavor. Almost any recipe can include fruit juice – just substitute out a liquid ingredient for an equal amount of juice. Adding the zest of citrus fruit to the cupcakes or the frosting will give your cupcakes an added flavor boost.

Cupcake baking tip #4: Add smoke and spice

Ingredients such as cayenne pepper, chipotle, curry powder or finely minced chili peppers add a complementary heat to sweets. They work especially well with chocolate. Just be sure to start conservatively and taste the batter to control the spice and smokiness so they don't overpower the finished cupcakes.

Cupcake baking tip #5: Go floral

Floral flavors are wonderful in cupcakes. Lavender is a personal favorite as is rose. You can also try hibiscus or rose hips. Decorating cupcakes with edible flowers adds a pretty touch as well.

Cupcake baking tip #6: Add a special salt

Another great flavor combination is salty and sweet. Adding just a hint of fleur del sel or large crystal salt to the frosting or sprinkled directly on top of the cupcake will make for a truly addicting treat.

Cupcake baking tip #7: Be creative

Just be creative in your cupcake flavors. Trial and error makes the best recipes, and don't be afraid to make a mistake and try again. A good rule is to make small sample batches of your flavor experimentations to find the combinations that deliciously work.

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