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Bake the Perfect Cupcake: Step 5
5. Pre-heat, and then take the temperature.
It certainly goes without saying that you ought to preheat your oven, but I will say it anyway: preheat your oven!
If you put your cupcakes in before the oven is ready, it will mess up their baking process. Also, ovens can be finicky. Invest in a good oven thermometer, and then use it! Double-check the temperature of your oven before you put your cupcakes in. Old ovens can be especially rotten when it comes to sticking to a definite temperature, so make sure the internal temperature matches the number on your oven dial.
I once had an oven so old that all the temperature numbers had rubbed off of the dial – baking was basically a terrible guessing game. An oven thermometer can take all of the guesswork out of mysteriously over or undercooked cupcakes and ensure total control over the baking process.