Sometimes, making cupcakes doesn't just go as planned -- you may have more batter than you have mouths to feed, or you might encounter a mid-preparation emergency. You need not waste perfectly good batter. Not only can you freeze unused cupcake batter, you've got plenty of options for doing so, and no matter which method you choose, the whole process only takes a few minutes.
In the Tray
Freezing your cupcake batter in the tray or cups serves as perhaps the most no-fuss method for preserving your goodies. If you want to go right from the freezer to the oven, line a disposable muffin tray with cups and fill them with cupcake batter as usual, then simply freeze the whole tray. Alternatively, pour the batter into the cups of a regular, non-disposable muffin tray, seal the tray tightly with plastic wrap and freeze it. Once the cupcakes are frozen solid, remove the cups from the tray and store them in a resealable freezer bag.
In Resealable Bags
To freeze cupcake batter without a tray, simply scoop it into strong, zip-top freezer bags. Remove as much air from each bag as possible, seal them tightly and freeze. One large freezer bag holds roughly six cupcakes of batter. When you're ready to make your cupcakes, refrigerate the bags to thaw them out and snip the corner of the bag, allowing you to squeeze the batter into a muffin tray. Add about 2 minutes to the baking time for refrigerated batter.
To bake frozen, un-thawed cupcake batter, add about five to seven minutes to your recipe's baking time. To avoid this additional baking time, thaw the batter to room temperature and bake as usual. [Ref 2] Keep batter on hand for when you have surprise company, or freeze it when you simply don't have time to finish making your cupcakes.
Although many chefs report success with frozen cupcake batters, a 2011 study published in “Food Science and Technology” reports that some cakes may experience changes in color and texture if made from a frozen batter. Butter-free and vegan batters may not hold up to freezing, for instance, resulting in the possibility of dense or flat cupcakes. Frozen cupcake batter typically keeps for at least 3 months, according to Apartment Therapy's culinary website, The Kitchn.
With a diverse professional background and a decade of experience as a freelance writer, Dan has contributed lifestyle content -- from fashion to travel to fitness and more -- to publishers including Chron, Fortune, Sony, GlobalPost, ModernMom, Moviefone, Salon.com, Techwalla and dozens of others.