Imagine a situation where you have made too many cupcakes. It's rare, but it could happen. You have a couple of options. You can give them away to friends and family. You can host your own cupcake eating contest. (That is not recommended especially without an EMT present.) Or as a last resort, you can store them.
The question is how to keep the cupcakes fresh. If it's only for a couple of days, then you are golden. Place in a plastic storage bag or container. Cupcakes keep best when stored in an airtight container.
The Science Of Dry Cupcakes
However, if there are a lot of cupcakes or they need to keep for more than two days, then you have to do more than leave them out on the kitchen counter. The first thought is to put in the refrigerator. That is not a good idea. Cupcakes stored in a refrigerator will dry out. In fact, placing cupcakes in the refrigerator forwards the process of crystallization in the sugar and flour, making the cupcakes go stale fast. The only time you may want to consider placing cupcakes in the refrigerator is for a frosting emergency, if the frosting is melting rapidly. This can happen more often in the summer or in warmer climates. In fact, I once hosted a bake sale on an unseasonably warm day in September and I had to reduce the price of the cupcakes because there were melting like a wicked witch. One reason commercial bakeries use vegetable shortening instead of butter in their cupcakes is because shortening is more shelf-stable and the frosting will keep longer. For home bakers, butter is preferred.
Although the refrigerator is a bad choice for storing cupcakes, the freezer is very effective for cupcake storage. Now, if the cupcakes have no frosting on them, then you stack the cupcakes in a 16-ounce freezer bag. You can fit about a dozen in one of those freezer bags. The trick is to place cupcakes in the freezer where they will not get crushed or smashed by heavier items in your freezer. If the cupcakes have a lot of frosting on top, then you may want to put the cupcakes individually in small plastic freezer bags.
When you are ready to eat the cupcakes, take them out of the freezer and let them defrost on a plate or cupcake stand. Do not use a microwave or an oven. The frozen cupcakes will be defrosted in about two hours.
Frozen Cupcakes Plus Pancake Batter Equals Deep Fried Cupcakes
An alternative use of frozen cupcakes is to deep fry them like you would Oreo cookies. Coat the cupcakes in pancake batter. Prepare the pancake batter with milk and eggs. Add a teaspoon of vanilla. Use either an electric deep fryer or a cast iron skillet with vegetable oil. Make sure the oil is hot. If using a deep fryer, preheat oil to 375F. If using a skillet, use a thermometer to check the temperature. Make sure the oil is 375F before place cupcakes in the skillet. Drop the cupcakes in hot oil. Turn over when brown on one side. Use tongs to take cupcakes out of the oil. Sprinkle confectioner's sugar and/or cocoa powder on the cupcakes. Place directly on baking rack to cool. Eat and enjoy!