Actually, 2 years ago, if I had taken a batch of cupcakes out of the oven and they weren't burnt, it would have been a miracle ;-)
As I've blogged before, when I had my baking / decorating awakening I started to really take care to follow recipes in order to create the ideal canvas for the art of decorating. And a cupcake "canvas" often needs to be flat - a well peaked surface is okay for some icing styles, but for others, a more flat surface is a more flattering surface ; )
Two things contribute to this - the recipe and the temperature of the oven.
The Vanilla cupcake recipe here ( http://teacakeandcreate.blogspot.com/2012/06/cupcake-recipe.html) is a pretty good one, but the temperature of the oven is still a big factor.
My oven runs hot. Some ovens do. "As much as 10 degrees over" I had read. So, I always adjusted for this, and set the thermostat about 10'C lower than what the recipe called for. But I was still producing cakes that were crisp (black) on the bottom and sides.
My baking confidence was dwindling. I thought it was because I was so distracted by family life, that I wasn't paying enough attention to what was in the oven. But this was happening in half the time the cakes were meant to bake, not because they were in the oven too long.
I bought an oven thermometer. What a revolution!
The first time the thermometer was in the oven, I Googled the manufacturers just to confirm that they were a reputable company - I just couldn't believe the results:
My oven thermostat was set at 180'C, the thermometer was reading 260'C!
I now bake everything at "100'C" according to my oven, and what do you know - they aren't burnt!
(Yes, time for a new oven. Time for a whole new kitchen, though....I'm thinking Caesar Stone, Lacanche, Smeg... And I'll be thinking it for a while before it happens!)
Back to the flat-topped cupcakes....If they are still peaking, bake them at a slightly lower temperature, and for slightly longer than the recipe states, and you should have a good result.
These ones were baked at a higher temp. than they should have been...
Not bad, but this batch was better:
And one for the road....
...it is supposed to be a Pink Tutu Cupcake..inspired by Cake Boss "Dress cupcakes"...but my sister asked What's that meant to be, it looks like a tombstone on top? !!