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Should Cupcakes Be Cold Before Icing ? Why Temperature Matters

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As a cupcake lover you’ve started to make your own cupcakes, and this is your first batch. Congratulations ! even f you’ve made a few cupcakes before, frosting them is always a bit of an art, in terms of how to do it without creating a mess.

If this is your first time frosting, you may be wondering if you need to do anything special. Or maybe someone told you to wait for the cupcakes to cool before you frost them.

Let’s talk about that. A frosting mishap is easy to avoid in this context.

cupcake frosting

Should cupcakes be cold before icing ?

Yes, always frost cupcakes when they are completely cooled off, preferably cold. This takes anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes, provided you’ve removed the cupcakes from their pan and placed them on a cooling rack.

If you want to get a really good result you should put the cupcakes in the fridge when they are at room temperature. This way they’re completely cold and ready to be frosted much faster.

You’ll know the cupcakes are fully cooled when the bottoms are cool to the touch as well.

A warm cupcake will melt the icing

The problem with warm cupcakes, or ones that are not 100% cooled is that the frosting will melt. If you’re using buttercream, the most common one, it will slide right off the cupcake in a few minutes.

This gets messy, and the cream will become runny. This is also true for whipped cream, as the warm cupcake will melt it and it will risk getting a bit soggy even.

Ganache is no help either, since it has cocoa butter and the fat in the heavy cream, so it too will slide off the cupcake if it’s still warm.

Cool cupcakes for at least a full hour

To make sure your cupcakes are completely cool make sure you give them a full hour. Ideally you’ll remove them from their pan, to allow more airflow.

Read also: Why Are My Cupcakes Sticky On Top ?

Use a cooling rack or something similar

You get an even cooling if you use a cooling rack. If you’re not sure what that is, it’s a metal rack that sits on 4 legs, just a few inches high. It’s good to let things cool on, since it allows air to move around and cool the food.

If you’ve got no such thing, take out the oven rack. Place it somewhere so there is space both under and above it. Make sure it’s fairly sturdy, and place the cupcakes onto the rack. It’s a makeshift idea but it works.

cooling rack cupcakes

Stick the cupcakes in the fridge if you have to

If you’re really in a hurry you can put the cupcakes in the fridge to cool faster. This is not the best idea if the cupcakes are still warm, since you’ll get condensation and a higher chance of sticky tops.

But you’ll definitely have a set of cold cupcakes in 30 minutes or less. You can even so this with room temp cupcakes, just to be sure the frosting will stick.

Frosting ideas if you’re short on time

If you’re in a situation where you have no time to waste and can’t wait for the cupcakes to cool, there are a few things you can do. Almost all frostings will be useless, except one. But there are other ways to decorate the cupcakes, that do not entail frosting.

1. Chocolate glaze and sprinkles

A chocolate glaze will stick very nicely to the cupcake, and as it’s still sticky add a few sprinkles on top. You can take this in many directions, like coconut flakes, colored sprinkles, stars, anything at all.

When preparing the chocolate glaze, make sure it’s on the thick side otherwise it will be too runny, especially on a warm cupcake. And be careful with how much you use. Too much and it will go past the paper wrapper.

2. Powdered sugar and cocoa powder

Another option is to simply coat the tops with powdered sugar, and make some designs with cocoa powder. These may not be as impressive as the ones with frosting, but if you’re in a big hurry it’s better than nothing at all.

Read Also: Why Is My French Toast Soggy ?

3. Cream cheese frosting

Cream cheese is a little more stable than heavy cream or butter, so a frosting made with this should hold up to a warm cupcake. Mind you a warm cupcake is not hotter than the temperature on your skin, which is 33 C/90 F.

The reason cream cheese hold together so well is because it’s got more protein and milk solids than heavy cream or butter. It won’t be a good fit for everything, since it’s a bit tangy, but it’s still a good idea for a frosting.

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