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Questions about muffins and cupcakes

Stacey asks: 1. What causes some muffins to stick to the paper liner- is this the fault of the liner or the cooling process or the recipe? 2. When I take my muffins or cupcakes out of the oven they are beautiful and round but then they shrink down to whimpy little things- How come?

Baking S.O.S. says: One of the first things I learned in cooking school is the proper procedure for preparing pans to bake items such as cakes & muffins. My chef instructor taught us: “Spray-paper-spray.” Meaning: spray your pan first with cooking spray, then line it with parchment paper (cut to fit the bottom of the pan exactly with no overlap) or a muffin liner, and then spray again. It’s that last step–spray again–that will prevent your muffins or cupcakes from sticking to the paper liners.

As for the shrinking, that is a little trickier to explain.  All baked goods will shrink a little after they are removed from the oven and allowed to cool. But typically, muffins should retain their crown on top, whereas cupcakes (and cakes, too) should actually be flat when they are done baking.

If they shrink too much, the problem could be that there is not enough batter in the pans.  You should fill them about 2/3 full for best results.  If they actually fall in the center, it could be that there is too much baking powder or baking soda in the recipe.  In general, there should be about 1 tsp. of baking powder or 1/4 tsp. of baking soda per 1 C. of flour in a recipe.

I hope one of these solutions will work for you.  But if not, please let me know, and we’ll try some other ideas!

4 comments to Questions about muffins and cupcakes

  • Jorge Rodrigeuz

    How can i prevent the cupcakes to shrink
    especially the chocolate ones. And how can
    the cupcake last longer fresh. Now we
    just keep them off air.

  • Rebecca

    why do my muffins/cupcakes go flat on top?? Am mixing it to much???

  • Hi there, In my experience, muffins typically crown on top, but cupcakes–by design–should be flat on top. When you think of a cupcake, compare it to it’s larger counterpart, the cake. You actually do NOT want a cake to dome on top. It is supposed to be flat–which makes it much easier to decorate, and makes it more aesthetically pleasing. If a cake is domed or rounded on top, it usually means that there is something wrong with the batter–too much leavening (baking powder or baking soda) typically.

    What makes cakes and cupcakes flat on top is the amount of sugar in the batter. The higher the sugar content, the more the batter spreads. The way to alleviate this problem when baking cupcakes is to fill the pans less full. For cupcakes, I fill the cupcake tins only half-full. Then, the cupcake batter will not spread flat when it overflows the top of the tins.

    As for muffins, you can fill the tins a little more full–2/3 full is best. Typical muffin recipes call for less sugar than cake batters, so they tend to crown more and spread less. If your muffins are still spreading too flat, perhaps try a little less sugar in the batter, or fill the tins less full.

  • Hi there, all cakes and cupcakes will shrink as they cool. This is normal. There is no way to prevent it.

    But to keep your cupcake fresh longer, I suggest storing them in the freezer and taking them out closer to the time that you want to eat or serve them. Freezing food will preserve it at the state of freshness that it goes into the freezer, and it will keep nicer for a long period of time.

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