How to Make a Better Cupcake

Walking through the basics with the president of Magnolia Bakery

With a few basic tips from an expert, making cupcakes will be a piece of cake.

Cupcakes are the best — no if's, and's, or but's about it. And whoever says they're going out of style is going out of style. Cupcakes are here to stay.

Why are they so popular? Well, they're the perfect size for people who want to eat dessert without feeling guilty — anything larger than a single-serving cupcake just isn't a cupcake anymore, quite frankly. And they're a canvas for the creative cooks out there because they can be customized with a variety of batters, flavored icings, or toppings. Most importantly, however, they're so fun and easy-to-make, even kids can do it.

Or are they? We've all been there. Even the best cooks sometimes find themselves in desperate situations at the 11th hour, say, the night before a son's fourth birthday party at school, where homemade cupcakes were already promised. And resorting to store-bought just isn't an option. Perhaps you ended up with cupcakes that were perfectly done but stuck to the bottom of the pan — how frustrating is that, especially when every step was meticulously followed? Or cupcakes that were underdone. Or lumpy. Or rock hard.

Bobbie Lloyd, president and chief baking officer at Magnolia Bakery (yes, that title is real!), is on speed dial for many of her friends for just that reason. But for the rest of us who aren't so lucky as to have a cupcake-baking extraordinaire on call, we've gathered together a few basic tips that can mean the difference between achieving cupcake nirvana and, well, just making a mess. Thank you for all of your help, Bobbie!

Click here to see the How to Make a Better Cupcake Slideshow.