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Common Cupcake Fails and How to Prevent Them

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t enjoy a cupcake? These lovely little things are perfect for any occasion – whether it’s someone’s birthday, a new baby is coming into the world, or simply just because you’re hungry!

We all know how to devour a cupcake or two, but the process of actually baking them can prove challenging, even for the most avid of bakers.

We spoke with Beverly Hills Bakery, which offers bespoke cupcake delivery in London and elsewhere across the UK, to understand four common problems which can occur when baking cupcakes and what we can do to prevent them.

Fail #1: Sinking in the middle

A problem that is all too familiar – you take your cupcakes out of the oven, only to find that they have deflated rather than risen. It’s a crushing outcome, but luckily, one which can be easily avoided.

Whilst throwing all your ingredients into the mixing bowl at the same time may be tempting, it is not advised, since it can overmix the batter, causing those dreaded sunken middles. Your core ingredients; flour, butter, sugar and eggs, all have different consistencies, which means the formation lumps when mixed together at once.

Instead, first combine the sugar and butter, then add the flour afterwards and mix well. Next, add the eggs to your mixture until all ingredients are combined. It’s really as simple as that!

Fail #2: Dry cupcakes

Nobody wants to eat a dry cupcake, particularly since the ideal texture should be fluffy and moist. As such, to prevent this classic cupcake fail, you must make sure you measure all your ingredients out precisely, never straying from the recipe you are following. When cooking, it’s normally okay to add a dash of this and sprinkle of that, but baking, on the other hand, is an exact science, which means that adding in too much of one particular ingredient, such as flour, can create a dry batch.

Moreover, over-baking can cause the cupcakes to lose their moisture, so be sure to use your phone or a kitchen timer to know exactly when to remove them from the oven.

When you have finished baking and decorating your cupcakes, do NOT put them in the fridge, even if you don’t intend on eating them until tomorrow. The coldness will also cause the sponge to quickly dry out, resulting in flavour loss.

Fail #3: Mismatched cupcakes

There aren’t many things more dissatisfying than taking your cupcake tray out of the oven, only to quickly discover that half your batch are perfectly risen, whereas the other half are semi-raw.

This problem occurs when ingredients aren’t measured precisely, with a different amount of batter filling each cupcake liner. Whilst you might not be able to save your current batch, you can certainly prevent it from happening next time simply by making use of an ice cream scoop, allowing you to accurately fill each liner equally – the outcome of which is a uniform set of cupcakes!

Fail #4 Peeling liners

If your cupcake liners frequently peel away from the sponge, then your problem lies with moisture or steam.

Once you remove a batch of cupcakes from the oven, their hot temperate immediately begins to produce steam. Many people make the mistake of removing them from the tray right away, but this sudden temperature fluctuation can quickly cause condensation, making your liners peel off. Similarly, leaving them in the tray for too long has the same effect.

As such, leave the cupcakes to sit in the tray for about 1-2 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack where they can be left alone until cooled completely. Never place them directly into an airtight container, which again creates condensation and causes peeling.

Poor-quality, cheap cases can also lead to peeling, which is why we recommend only investing in the best ingredients and accessories when baking a batch of lovely cupcakes!


BakingBar was launched in 2010 to provide simple and straightforward baking guides and recipes. BakingBar are currently recipe developers for Neills Flour and MyProtein.