Making the Perfect cupcake

Do your cupcakes spread out all over top of the pan and don’t dome?   Are they dry?

Here is how to make the perfect, domed, moist cupcake.

  1. Don’t over mix.  Barely mix enough to incorporate the ingredients.  Most boxes ask you to mix on medium for 2-3 minutes.  This is over mixing the ingredients.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 5 min.  After 5 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 for the remainder of the time.
  3. Don’t over bake.  If you use the method above, reduce over all time by 2-3 min, and check often.  You can always bake something more, but can’t bake something less.
  4. Don’t want the cupcake to stick to the wrapper?  After 2 min, or as fast as you can, remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.  The tin traps in steam and makes your cupcakes stick.

Baking Obsessions: Year of the Cupcake

I often get obsessed about making something— the perfect sourdough pizza crust?  The best sourdough bread?  Bring it on cinnamon raisin swirl.  This year, for my 38th year on the planet I am declaring it The Year of the Cupcake.  Each month from August to July I will make 2 to 3 different cupcake recipes, some found, some created.

So here come the year of the cupcake posts!

Hibbard Flea Market Details

Spring Flea Market

at Hibbard Elementary School

May 17th 9:00 to Noon

3244 W Ainslie Ave

Chicago, IL 60625


Entrance is free

Want to be a vendor?

Half a table (½ of a lunch room table, 2.5Ft by 5 ft) costs $25.00 cash and vendors keep all sales income.  Register at 8:00 AM on May 17th, first come, first serve at door 10 on Spalding.


   Venta de Articulos Nuevos y Usados

Esta Primavera en la Escuela Hibbard

Fecha: Mayo 17, 2014

Hora: 9:00am a mediodia

Lugar: 3244 w. Ainslie Ave.

    Chicago,Ill 60625

entrada es gratis

Quiere ser vendedor? rente una mesa (2.5 pies x 5pies) por $25.00 en efectivo y usted se queda con sus ganancias.Registrarse a las 8:00am en Mayo 17,se rentaran las mesas por orden de llegada de las personas,en la puerta #10 sobre la Spaulding.

The perfect thinish crust pizza

I don’t like super thin pizza crust, but if you want a more traditional pie, this recipe is for you.  I found the original recipe on, and have altered it slightly.


2 T sugar

1 t kosher salt

2 T butter, melted

3/4 Warm filtered water

2 cups flour

1 t yeast

extra olive oil for bowl and brushing on crust

Butter for greasing pan

One day before Pizza day melt the butter in a microwave safe measuring cup.  Add filtered water until it is almost 1 cup of water, microwave another 30 seconds to heat the water up.  You want the water warm, but not hot.  Add the sugar and the yeast and let the yeast proof for 5 to 15 min.   Using a bread machine for mixing and knead cycles only, or a stand mixer mix the yeast mixture and the remaining ingredients.  Turn the dough out into a bowl with olive oil and turn to coat, cover and place in the warmest spot in your house overnight.  1 hour (or a little more) before baking punch the dough down.  30 min before baking divide into pies (I get a 12 in and a 8 inch pie).  Use butter to generously grease your cast iron skillets.  Press the dough into the pans, letting rise again, about 30  min.  If it will be longer, cover with plastic.  Pre-heat the oven to 425.  Brush your crusts with olive oil, don’t go crazy with the sauce, and sprinkle cheese on the crust edges for best results.  Bake 10 to 15 min for the 8 inch pie, and 20 to 25 for the 12 inch pie.  Let rest before cutting, and enjoy.

If it is a dryer time of year you need to add more water than when it is humid.

The Perfect Thick crust pizza- Sourdough

I have found the perfect thick crust pizza- I prefer thick crust.  The crust gets a good crispy outside, but has a fluffy inside and doesn’t get mushy where the toppings collide.  Even though it is sourdough it isn’t overly sour and pairs well with pizza toppings.  I found the original recipe on and have altered it just a little

Sourdough Pizza crust- Thick crust pizza


2 Cups sourdough starter

1 t salt

2 T olive oil

3 cups bread flour

1 t yeast to help things along if your starter isn’t really active

1/2 to 1 cup warm filtered water if needed.

Extra olive oil for bowl

Butter for pan

Mix all ingredients in either a bread machine or with a mixer through the knead cycle or until a baker’s window will form.  While mixing, add warm, filtered water until a ball will form.  My homemade starter was too thick, it too dry in the house, and I needed quite a bit of water to make the consistency right.  Once the kneading is done turn out dough into a large bowl, turn over with olive oil to coat, and cover.  Let rise most of the day.  Making this in the morning for Dinner would be good.  You can also make the night before, let rise over night, and then refrigerate for most of the day, but remove with enough time to warm to room temp. before pressing into the pan.  1 hour (or a little more, I get the dough into my pans before picking my kid up from school since we eat early) before baking punch down, leave in the bowl.  30 min before baking divide the dough into your pies. I can make 1 10 inch, 1 12 inch and 1 7 inch pie so we each have our own.  Grease your cast iron skillets or griddle with butter, the more the better.  This helps form a great crust on the bottom of the pizza pie.  Press your dough into the pans.  Brush the crust edge with olive oil.  Cover with plastic if it is going to be a while before baking otherwise skip that part.  Let the dough rise again as you pre-heat your oven to 425, about 30 min.   After the dough has risen again, top with a spare amount of sauce (my first problem with homemade pizza is I went too crazy with the sauce), and the rest of the toppings. You want to make sure you sprinkle cheese on the crust edge.  This is an important feature to the crust.  Bake for 20 to 25 min. until the crust is crunchy and golden.  Turn out of the skillets and let sit 3 to 5 min.  This is important to keep your toppings on top of the pizza, then cut and serve.

I have used roasted red pepper pesto like sauce and regular spaghetti sauce as the pizza sauce and that seems to work the best.

What is the perfect pizza?

What do I like in the perfect pizza?  Honestly it is Costco pizza.

I like a bready crust- not one that is like a cracker- but is crunchy on the outside.

I like a crust that is firm enough not to be a floppy piece in the middle.

We like a buttery taste, and a golden brown edge, and- bubbly cheese on the crust.

I like a pizza that makes good left overs the next day.

Sooooo, now to find it.