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Cupcakes: Tips & Techniques

Kim Shook

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Are the paper liners coming off completely or partially? Are you buying the liners from a distributor or from a craft store? I ask only because the last time I bought cupcake liners from Perkins (paper wholesaler), the size wasn't right, it was a little small. But I had bought a bunch of pans from the local Home Goods store, and these cupcake pans are shallower and just a touch narrower - which means the too small liners fit these pans. :huh: The problem is I hate the pans!! I've been tempted to buy new pans from the restaurant supply store but haven't made the effort.

Anyway, back to your issue. Do the cupcakes that come out look bad or are in any way mis-shapen? Could you possibly put new liners on and tie them with a pretty ribbon (it's the same amount of time if you have to re-bake them)?

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Both things happen... sometimes just some of the liner pops off the cupcake, and other times they come completely off. Also, they're EXTREMELY delicate as far as handling them-a cupcake can be perfectly in the liner and I'll pick it up to box it and "POP" off comes the liner!!! Grrr!

The liners I buy are from a craft store and a grocery store-but they do fit the pans. (I've had that happen with the wrong sized liners to pan-also very frustrating!!!)

The liners aside-the cupcakes look fine-not sunken, mis-shapen, or tunnelling internally. I've tried putting them into a fresh liner after baking, but those liners don't stay on either. The ribbons take forever to tie and also don't stay on.

I don't know what else to try!

"Health food may be good for the conscience but Oreos taste a hell of a lot better." Robert Redford
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I would say, stop using the spray and switch cupcake liners. You cupcake papers are likely now treated.

I have actually never heard of this problem before.

Strangely enough, I get excellent results from using medium or large sized liners in large muffin pans. They both work equally well and I get nicely shaped cupcakes. I don't use those pans sprays, in fact some manufacturers of some pans don't recommend it. It causes build up on some types of pans and issues with others.

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If its only happening to your white cake, why not try switching recipes. My guess is that the recipe isnt that solid. Meaning that if you mix it, scale it, or bake it even a little bit different each time you are coming up with different results. If you are getting liners from the grocery store or from a craft store, you are using non commericial liners (which really doesnt matter) but these are the same liners that millions of home bakers are using everyday and they are not having issues.

If changing the recipe doesnt work (or if you think you are using the greatest white cake recipe in the world), try spaying the liners and then sprinkling them with a little granulated sugar or flour, as you would a pan that you need to butter and flour. This might give the cupcakes something to adhear to as they are baking. Although depending on the size of your operation, this could be time consuming. They also make a pan spray that contains flour.

Good luck and keep us posted!

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this is a topic close to my own heart - this is a problem i, too, encounter, and like you, have tried many different avenues.

i agree that it is a problem mostly associated with white cake/ buttercake, so i tried different cake liners, which works most of the time, more often than not. the problem does get worse as time progresses, so fresher is better. also, try not to exaserbate the problem further by holding the cake too firmly when icing - this loosens the paper from the cake further. generally, the firmer the paper is, the more likely the cake doesn't separate. my chcocoalte cup cakes don't have any problem adhering to the paper liners, no matter how cheap the paper may be, so i have been using all my reject papers for making chocolate cupcakes. i bake my vanilla cupcakes in silicone paper liners, as they are the firmest i have found.

the biggest problem cake i have is my lemon cake, which separates from even the best quality paper liners. in this case, i have found that foil liners are the way to go, but again, hold the cake as delicately as possible to try and avoid separation.

if it makes you feel any better, i was passing a commercial cafe chain and their cupcakes were separating from the papers. i can only guess that the cakes were going stale, resulting in the separation.

i also think you have to look at your cake mixture.

another aspect you may like to look at is the patty pan tin you put the papers in - the more exact the paper fits in the tin, the better.

as a last resort, those italian baking forms are very good, and there is no risk of separation at all as there is no concertina in the paper. if you choose to use these, you will have to factor them into your costing as i find them quite pricey.

surely there must be someone with a commercial background on the forum who knows of this problem and how they deal with it in the industry.

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I had the same problem last year and it totally puzzled me until I realized I had just started using new and heavier cupcake pans and the ones baked in those pans were the majority of the cupcakes that were shedding their liners. So I did some experimenting with baking times and ended up going back to my old lightweight pans.

What I figured out with the experimenting was underbaking was the biggest problem that was causing the liners to pop off. The heavier pans bake slower and the edges of the cupcakes were much lighter. I loved the look of them but they were extremely soft and the liners didn't hold. Even baking longer in the heavy pans didn't help much. Since I started baking about 1 minute longer than I used to, I've had very few problems.

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I agree that it sounds like a baking liner problem. If you can narrow it down definitely to that, it would be nice to email the manufacturer of the faulty liners and let them know what is happening.


Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com


As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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  • 6 months later...

Okay....what causes this?

What is the reason for the paper liners peeling off the cupcakes?

I have never had this problem before. Lately, yes.

Only to the butter cakes, not the oil based chocolates.

I've heard..... humidity,overbaking,overmixing, left too long in the pans(sweating)...what else could be the cause?

I also use to bake with one less shelf in my convection commercial oven, now I use all 5 shelves, so, when I load the oven and fully utilize the oven with cupcake pans, the cupcakes tend to not rise like they would if I stagger the pans, and not have any pan above. Make sense? More air circulation........you would figure the convection would make for an even bake....confused.

Don't know if that is the cause o the Cupcake liners peeling off, which was my original question. Just having some problems lately.


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RLB on her blog got asked this question about a month ago, and her answer was that overbaking causes the paper to peel away. I have the same problem when I fill all 5 shelves. I get better results using only four of the shelves. Can you refrigerate the filled pans while the cupcakes bake? I think when my shelves are fully loaded, the air doesn't circulate as well.

Are all of the butter-based cupcakes peeling or just some of them? It could be the ones on the edges overbaking...

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Ahhhh....yes,I remember that statement from her. Overbaking maybe it.

I have been experiencing hot spots on the ends or edges., and then some of the other cupcakes are not done.

The Vanilla butter cupcakes seem to peel off more, but strangely....when I add coconut, or other spices to the vanilla batter..those don't peel off.

Tomorrow...testing time....I will try to take one shelf out, and try to not overbake. Yeah, sometimes even with 5 shelves, I have to wait till those bake, so, I can load just a few more pans in, from the same batch. I leave them on the side, with no problem.....no room in the cooler.

Overbaking== I am relying on the touch method, rather than the toothpick method. Touch till it springs back. Perhaps, I need to take them out on a slighter spring back.

Thanks Jeanne for your input.

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even with a convection oven, i rotate my pans front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. there's no such thing as an even baking oven. i don't care who says there is. :raz:

overbaking is probably the culprit as you're reducing the temperature in the oven by adding all of those pans at the same time so that it ends up taking longer to bake...drying out the cupcakes as well. also, by dropping the temperature so much, the baking powder doesn't get the hit of heat it needs to create carbon dioxide, so that could be a reason why your cupcakes aren't rising as much when the oven is too full.

imagine if you filled your refrigerator to capacity with hot items. it wouldn't cool them down quickly, would it?

an oven is no different. you change its efficiency when you fill it too full.

often with commercial convection ovens, there's room for two half-sheet pans side by side. so what i do is put one sheet pan on the left, on the next shelf down, put the next sheet pan on the right and so forth. this leaves some room for the air to circulate.

but again...to be pedantic, you should still rotate front to back and top to bottom.

edited for clarity.

Edited by alanamoana (log)
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could it be the egg? egg is one of those ingredients that expands when baking and contracts when cooling, for example a lemon tart. Maybe swap some of the egg with other liquid?

although it might be a moisture issue as well, (possibly due to overbaking as well), as you noted that when you added coconut (which makes cakes nice and moist), you didn't notice the peeling.

I've had this problem as well, especially with straight sided cupcake pans that don't have the fluting that keeps the papers snug against the side of the cake.

are your cupcake "cups" in your pans the kind that are spaced well, or are they the home variety where the cups are fairly close together. circulation might be the culprit as jeannecake mentioned.

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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  • 4 months later...

I have been searching the archives for such a thread and have not found it. Could someone point me to it? Better yet, how about we start our very own? I recently tried a dreadful cupcake where I just moved in Pittsburgh which made me really want to seek a good recipe. My old stand in are the Magnolia Cupcakes. I find them addictive (all that sugar?) for some old reason....BUT would like a recipe that is truly good. The Magnolia cupcakes are good enough but not perfect. I am thinking of having a cupcake making session sometime this week and before I settle on Magnolia's again, wanted to pick your brains :o)


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HERE is one I posted in a previous thread on cupcakes. These are my favorite cupcakes. If not overbaked they are very light, moist and tender. The recipe works well halved to make 12 and can be made in the food processor and I've also subbed part cocoa and baking soda to make chocolate cupcakes and they've always turned out well. The key to them is not to overfill the liners and not to overbake.
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  • 1 month later...

I am making these cupcakes to take to my kid's kindergarten class, but they keep falling in the middle. The quick answer is more icing, but I'm irritated and I'd like to know what I'm doing wrong. I've made five trays of these %$^ things now and they all have craters.

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened

* 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

* 3 eggs

* 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

* 1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 1/2 cup sour cream

* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy.

3. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla; beat thoroughly.

4. Combine flour with salt.

5. Combine sour cream with baking soda.

6. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream mixture; beat well.

7. Pour into prepared pan.

8. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

9. Cool 10 minutes in pan on rack; remove and cool completely before decorating.

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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I've made five trays of these %$^ things now and they all have craters.

  5. Combine sour cream with baking soda.

Are you sure the recipe didn't call for baking POWDER?

The sour cream (acid) and baking soda (base) will react immediately. If you combine them as directed, you need to get your batter in the oven immediately. Even then I'm not sure you could do so in time.

If you leave the batter on the counter for more than a couple minutes, forget it, no more bubbles, all gone, cupcakes cave. :unsure:

copy/paste from google: "The chemical in baking soda is bicarbonate of soda (NaHCO3). When combined with an acidic ingredient, such as vinegar or the lactic acid in buttermilk, baking soda releases carbon dioxide which forms into bubbles in the food. When heated, these bubbles then expand and help to rise or lighten the final product."

Fooey's Flickr Food Fotography

Brünnhilde, so help me, if you don't get out of the oven and empty the dishwasher, you won't be allowed anywhere near the table when we're flambeéing the Cherries Jubilee.

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You might also want to test your baking soda to see if it's still reactive.

To a large bowl, add 3-4 tablespoons vinegar. Then add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

It should fizz a lot.

If it doesn't, throw it out and buy more. It's kaput.

Fooey's Flickr Food Fotography

Brünnhilde, so help me, if you don't get out of the oven and empty the dishwasher, you won't be allowed anywhere near the table when we're flambeéing the Cherries Jubilee.

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the baking soda pointers are good ones.

another one might be your oven temp? if the cupcakes are underbaked, they'll fall in the middle after they cool down a bit.

overmixing can also cause some trouble. if the batter is over aerated and something wasn't measured correctly, then they could also fall.

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I thought it was a lot of eggs, too, CanadianBakin', especially when I upped the recipe to get enough out of it. Eh.

I calibrated my oven the other day..the boy genius who designed my kitchen put the oven between the fridge and the outside wall, which is made up mostly of French doors.

I made another batch and put the baking soda in with the flour and salt. They didn't rise much but they didn't sink, either. (Yet.) I also used the convection bake instead of regular on this last batch.

Thanks for your help. They smell delicious and they taste ok but this sinking thing is a pain and you know what, they are not easy to get the little liners off of...they are sticky.

I won't make these again, but I have to figure a bunch of 5 yos aren't going to be picky. I mean, it's a cupcake, right? :wink:

Edited by pax (log)
“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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