Cupcakes are always a great idea for a potluck, children’s party, and even for a wedding. However, most expert bakers know that baking this simple and fluffy small pastry is not as simple as it seems. The recipe seems simple enough but baking them to perfection is not as straightforward.
Tons of beginners make mistakes that may lead to cupcakes sunk in the middle. While this should not affect the taste of your cupcakes, it can seriously damage the appearance of your little pastries. Instead of fluffy perfect tiny cakes, they are flat or even curved inwards.
Why Would Your Cupcake Sink In The Middle?
First of all, your cupcake’s shape is the result of its consistency. It is not fully packed like a brownie, mostly because of the baking powder in the cupcake recipe. This creates a reaction with the rest of the ingredients, and air bubbles are created during the baking process. You will notice the cupcake rising as the air bubbles push up. This is the reason for the light consistency and the fluffiness of your favorite dessert. However, there are instances when the cupcakes are not strong enough, the rising of the air bubbles can lead to a collapse.
The fact is, baking is a precise science. Experimenting with the amount of ingredients, the amount of time mixing the dough and the temperature of your oven can hugely affect the outcome of your pastry. Thus, if you have problems with how to make cupcakes rise perfectly, you might want to consider these possible reasons.
You Opened The Oven Door Too Quickly
You might be tempted to check on your cupcakes especially when they look like they are rising beautifully, but this is really a wrong step. What looks great right now can still end up sinking in the middle, so you need to control yourself and leave the door closed. At best, check up on them a few minutes before the full baking time. This allows you to avoid overbaked cupcakes. If you are curious about how they are going along, switch on the oven light and just take a peek from outside.
You Over-Mixed Your Batter
The process of mixing your batter is an important step when it comes to finding out how to make a cake rise evenly. This step allows air to get mixed into the batter. However, if you overdo it and incorporate more air than necessary, this extra air will escape during the baking. The end result is a sunken cupcake instead of the usual fluffy shape.
The risk is higher when you use a stand mixer at top speed. Unfortunately, it can be tough to estimate when to actually stop mixing. The easiest thing to do is to limit the mixing while you are adding the dry ingredients. Then when everything has been put in, mix by hand, stopping as soon as all the dry ingredients have been properly incorporated.
Your Baking Powder And Baking Soda Are Expired
Your leavening agents, baking powder and baking soda, are important for the chemical reactions that cause your cupcakes to rise. If they are expired or no longer fresh, then you can expect your pastries to sink in the middle.
Sometimes, you may forget how old your ingredients are, especially if you seldom bake. It’s a good thing there is a way to find out if they are good. To test your baking soda, take ½ teaspoon and mix it with ¼ cup of vinegar. When you see some bubbles, then it means it is still good. Otherwise, you need to buy a fresh pack. On the other hand, mix ½ teaspoon of baking powder with ¼ cup water. If it bubbles, then you can still use your baking powder.
Your Oven Temperature Is Too High
Your baking temperature is another vital factor in creating perfect cupcakes. When it is too high, the tendency is for the cupcakes to rise faster. The problem is that they will sink again later on. Thus, you must set your oven at a lower temperature.
The issue can be with your oven not being calibrated correctly. Thus, you might find an oven thermometer a worthwhile investment. This way, you are always sure that you have achieved the right temperature for your pastries to bake just right.
You Took The Cupcakes Out Too Quickly
This is related to the first reason (opening the oven door), where even just opening your oven door can cause your cupcakes to sink in the middle. The point is they have to stay in the consistently high temperature of the oven until they are finished baking. Opening the door can lead them to cool down and the end result, of course, is the cupcakes sinking in the middle.
Bringing them out too early is also another reason for the cake not cooked in middle. Before taking them out, use a toothpick to check if it is truly done. Insert it in the middle of the cupcake and if it comes out wet with batter, then it is not yet done.
You Didn’t Follow The Recipe
Swapping ingredients can greatly alter the outcome of your cupcake. Hence it is a must to read the recipe properly and get the exact ingredients stated there. If you do not have them, look at the instructions for acceptable replacements. You can also look for other recipes that use the ingredients you have. Get everything ready and follow exactly what is stated in the recipe. Avoid the rest of these mistakes and you can be assured that your cupcakes will come out perfectly.
How to Fix Sunken Cupcakes
In some cases, you will still end up with undesired results. When this happens, there are ways to remedy it so you do not have to throw away your cupcakes. After all, they are cooked and good for eating, even though they are not as fluffy and raised. You can ice the sunken cupcakes with buttercream or if it is sunk very deep inside, spoon the top out and fill it with jam or fruit. No one will notice it and they will still come out delicious.
- Why Do Cupcakes Sink? – Boston Girl Bakes