I prefer to bake cupcakes more than cakes. That doesn't mean that all my cupcakes are just vanilla with a buttercream frosting. No, I bake all kinds of cupcakes, such as carrot cake, German chocolate, gingerbread and angel food cake. Honestly, you can adapt any cake recipe to a cupcake. There aren't any adjustments to the ingredients, just to the time and temperature. I also don't use cupcake liners when I bake cupcakes. There's something special about a "naked cupcake". Without the liner, I think it becomes an individual mini cake. So many possibilities.
How to convert a cake recipe to cupcakes
Batter ~ Generally a box of cake mix will make 5 cups of batter, which equates to 24 standard cupcakes, 48 mini cupcakes, and 12 jumbo cupcakes.
Temp ~ The rule of thumb for adjusting the temperature is: the larger the cake, the lower the temperature. So you want to increase your temperature about 25 F higher than the recipe says. This allows your cupcakes to get a nice crust on the top, and a moist center.
Mini cupcakes are a bit different. They will bake incredibly fast (as there is not much batter in the cupcake cavity). I would recommend keeping the temperature the same as the recipe, to prevent over-baking.
Time ~ Standard cupcakes
will take about 15-20 minutes to bake, while mini cupcakes will take only 9-14 minutes. It is important to check your cupcakes for doneness at the minimum baking time, so that you don't over bake. A toothpick inserted into the center that comes out clean is a good indication. Also check to see if the cakes have started to pull away from the side of the pan. If they are not done, put them back in the oven and check again in 2 minute intervals.
"Naked Cupcakes" ~ If you are not going to use paper liners, then you must grease the cupcake pan cavities. I prefer to use a spray that has flour in it, such as Baker's Joy. You can also use butter and flour, but this takes a bit of effort.
Filling the Cavities ~ Use a scoop for even proportions. Fill the cavities 2/3 full. Sometimes, your batter will not fill every cavity. This happens when you use a larger muffin pan. If this is the case, fill the empty cavities with water. This will guarantee an even-bake on your cupcakes. If you are left with empty cavities, add water to them to ensure even baking.
Use a turkey baster to suck out water from muffin cavities.
Removing Cupcakes ~ Place the cupcake pan on a cooling rack and let them cool 10 minutes. If you used the cupcake liners, remove from the pan and let cool completely before frosting. If you made "naked cupcakes", carefully run a knife along the edge of the cake to be sure they will easily pop out.
Gently slide knife around edges of cake to loosen. Turn over and allow the cakes to pop out. Tip pan over and let the cupcakes pop out. Cool completely before frosting.