Sinking Cupcakes

Baking By KsReid45 Updated 12 May 2011 , 2:31pm by parsleygurl

KsReid45 Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 1:25pm
post #1 of 32

Why do my cupcakes always "fall" in the middle? They look beautiful in the oven, then after a few minutes, the tops sink. Does anyone know how to prevent this?

31 replies
andrewscakes Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 1:55pm
post #2 of 32

This happens to me toooooooooooo Im anxious to see who has the fix LOL

LindaF144a Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 4:00pm
post #3 of 32

If they sink AFTER they come out of the oven they are underbaked. Even thought a toothpick comes out clean. Try the press the center method. It should spring back. If it leaves any indention, then they are not done. And yes, the toothpick can come out clean and still not be done. I no longer use the toothpick method to check my cupcakes.

If they sink in the oven before you take them out, they are overleavened.

KsReid45 Posted 8 Apr 2011 , 12:08pm
post #4 of 32

Thank you. I do touch the top to make sure they spring back but it still happens. Any other suggestions?

platinumlady Posted 8 Apr 2011 , 12:57pm
post #5 of 32

KsReid45 I've had this happen to me a couple times each time there was one key action...I was over beating my batter. There was too much air in it batter & in the oven they were beautiful & full but as soon as I took them out they deflated icon_wink.gif The same happen to a cake that came out of the same batter & cooked side-by-side so check these two things [batter & finger press test in oven] & that should help your cupcakes come out better. HTH

KsReid45 Posted 8 Apr 2011 , 1:05pm
post #6 of 32

Thanks Platinum Lady, I probably am overbeating so I will definitely try that!

parsleygurl Posted 4 May 2011 , 9:45pm
post #7 of 32

I have a new recipe I've never made and it's fairly dense. My cupcakes tested done, with toothpick. They also spring up when pushed down. They did not fall ANY! But, they are slightly raw in the center just under the surface. They've cooled at this point. Can I put them back in the oven for a few minutes?

KATHIESKREATIONS Posted 4 May 2011 , 10:08pm
post #8 of 32

icon_sad.gif I have had the same thing happen to both cupcakes & cakes...just very moist under the top center. Can you just put them back in the oven for a few minutes even though they have cooled? icon_rolleyes.gif

LindaF144a Posted 4 May 2011 , 10:15pm
post #9 of 32

I have never heard of slightly raw right under the top? Is this from scratch or a mix?

Marianna46 Posted 4 May 2011 , 10:49pm
post #10 of 32

I have the same problem as parsleygurl, mostly from commercial cake mixes that are sold to bakeries. I've pretty much decided to stop using these things, although my customers and family love them, for this reason and several others (cupcakes always come out rubbery, for example, and they tend to go bad sooner than I can use them up).

parsleygurl Posted 4 May 2011 , 11:08pm
post #11 of 32

It is a scratch recipe. The cupcake tastes doughy as well. Putting them back in the oven seemed to help the little raw area, but still tastes doughy. icon_confused.gif Looking back at the recipe, there's a chance I might have left the baking soda, I just don't remember. It called for baking powder as well and I know I put that in. There were no indentations, they look (almost) perfect. They never looked done, not even slightly browned, but I just assumed that this recipe was different.

Marianna46 Posted 4 May 2011 , 11:20pm
post #12 of 32

It sounds a whole lot like a leavening problem to me in your case, parsleygurl. Baking powder can get old and not leaven anymore. If that happened and you forgot the baking soda, too, that could explain it. I try to buy new baking powder every six months or so.

LindaF144a Posted 4 May 2011 , 11:57pm
post #13 of 32

I cannot agree it is old leavening at this point. You said you left out the soda, that is a major error in baking. Without the soda you will get very dense cupcakes.

What kind of cupcakes? What is the recipe?

parsleygurl Posted 5 May 2011 , 3:22am
post #14 of 32

My baking soda & baking powder are only about a month old. I've gone thru them quite a lot lately. I've made a lot of cupcakes in the last 8 months and this is the first time this has happened. It's a mango cupcake recipe and it is a dense recipe. I am not sure whether the baking soda made it in the recipe. But would that really make it taste doughy?
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
¼ Teaspoon Salt
¾ Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
2/3 Cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2/3 Cups Mango Yogurt
2 Teaspoons Pure Mango Extract (I used 1/2 t mango oil)
1 Cup Fresh Mango Puree

FromScratchSF Posted 5 May 2011 , 5:04am
post #15 of 32
Originally Posted by parsleygurl

My baking soda & baking powder are only about a month old. I've gone thru them quite a lot lately. I've made a lot of cupcakes in the last 8 months and this is the first time this has happened. It's a mango cupcake recipe and it is a dense recipe. I am not sure whether the baking soda made it in the recipe. But would that really make it taste doughy?
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
¼ Teaspoon Salt
¾ Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
2/3 Cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2/3 Cups Mango Yogurt
2 Teaspoons Pure Mango Extract (I used 1/2 t mango oil)
1 Cup Fresh Mango Puree

If you missed an ingredient it can do any number of things to your final product.

Your best bet it to remake your recipe the correct way and see what happens. When I first started baking I pre-measured all my ingredients into little cups/bowls like they do on cooking shows so I didn't forget anything, cuz I used to forget stuff all the time!

I also underbaked stuff when I 1st started, and yes I popped stuff back in the oven. The raw will finish cooking but the cooked parts dry out.


LindaF144a Posted 5 May 2011 , 12:26pm
post #16 of 32

1 cup of mano puree and yogurt will make for a very dense cake. Then take out a leavener and you get an even denser cake.

In How Baking Works the author states that leavening also acts as a tenderizer in that it opens the crumb and gives a pleasant mouth feel. Too much opening of the crumbs and you get a cake that either can't hold its support and will collapse before it comes out of the oven or it will just so crumbly that you feel like you are eating air. I can attest to both of these personally because I have conducted tests and got the exact same results.

If you leave out the baking soda, there is nothing to help react with the acid in the yogurt and give you a slight rise. The soda acts as a neutralizer for the yogurt, the baking powder probably does most of the work for leavening. But if you don't neutralize the acid, you set yourself up for a dense cake. Sometimes this is good, like with buttermilk. Sometimes it is not so good, like with denser dairy products like yogurt and sour cream.

You have question marks on my screen where the ingredient list is. It must be a font my PC does not support, so I can't comment on the ingredients. But 9 ounces of flour and about half that amount in sugar will make a dense cake also. I believe the lower amount of sugar is due to the sugar found in the fruit. Where did you get the recipe? And did you substitute mango for any other fruit?

parsleygurl Posted 9 May 2011 , 10:49pm
post #17 of 32

Thank you for your response. It has been most helpful in explaining what happened.
I think it's the fractions that aren't showing up. Maybe this will help.
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
2/3 Cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2/3 Cups Mango Yogurt
2 Teaspoons Pure Mango Extract (I used 1/2 t mango oil)
1 Cup Fresh Mango Puree

I found the recipe online, researching a mango cupcake recipe. I only used mango. The yogurt was the only substitution, but only in flavor. I couldn't find a mango so I used a Honey Mango yogurt. I would be open to try another recipe if anyone would like to share?

LindaF144a Posted 10 May 2011 , 12:25am
post #18 of 32

I believe that is your problem. I did some research online and found a mango cupcake recipe that used plain yogurt. Plain yogurt, at least a good one, will not have any added sugar. By adding mango yogurt you have added extra sugar. The extra sugar will make your cupcakes sink in the middle, especially honey mango. Honey is a different sugar than granulated and a little bit goes a long way.

So I think your main problem is too much sweetener in the form of sugar and honey.

If I am looking at the same recipe as you did here:

She used mango juice, you used mango puree. The puree will be heavier than the juice and will also cause you to have a dense, sunken cupcake. Mango puree probably does not have the same amount of liquid as the juice. I would look for mango juice and not use puree. So you did not put the mango puree in the cupcake, but just the yogurt and no juice or liquid of any kind? If so that will give you a dense cupcake too.

I know that sometime people have luck with substitutions. But as you found it does not always work. Substitute plain yogurt for sour cream can be done without drastic results because they are both an acidic dairy product with no added sweetener. But start to substitute any kind of fruit, sugar loaded yogurt for plain yogurt and you have altered the balance of the formula and you will get drastic results. In other words, plain yogurt and sweetened, fruit yogurt are not the same thing.


parsleygurl Posted 10 May 2011 , 2:06am
post #19 of 32

Sorry, I didn't write that very well. I couldn't find Mango Yogurt but I could find Honey Mango yogurt. I followed the recipe otherwise...I did not make any substitution. I'm questioning whether I put in the baking soda. In my finished product they did not sink....they looked perfect....except they never browned and when you cut into them there was a very small pocket (1/2 the size of a marble) right under the top that was raw. The rest of it tasted doughy.

The recipe I used was by someone that took their recipe & "tweaked" it. Here's her version: The original recipe creator commented on the tweaked version & said it even tasted "mango-ier". I thought if the original author thought it was better than her creation, then I'd try that one. Maybe I'll try the original.

Melvira Posted 10 May 2011 , 2:34am
post #20 of 32

LindaF144a, can I tell you that I just love these replies you've posted? I absolutely ADORE it when someone can explain something very succinctly, and with important facts like you have here! Hats off to you my dear. thumbs_up.gif

I've had cupcakes sink as well, but usually because I underbaked a teeny bit. I seem to err on the side of under- not over- baked. My constant desire to not churn out dry cake can sometimes trip me up! icon_rolleyes.gif

LindaF144a Posted 10 May 2011 , 2:26pm
post #21 of 32

Melvira- thank you. It is hard sometimes to determine why this happens, all because of science!

As for why it tasting raw just underneath, it may be because of the mango puree it is so moist that it looks raw but is actually not. I am jot sure how mango bakes up. Possibly 1 cup of puree is too much and this is the result you get.

But if in doubt about an ingredient left out, the best thing to do is to make it again and make sure you add the soda. Do not change any other variable though. Otherwise you will not know what fixed your problem.

KATHIESKREATIONS Posted 10 May 2011 , 4:18pm
post #22 of 32

LindaF144a, hopefully you can answer this for me...When I am making a strawberry cake & want to use real pureed strawberries & my recipe calls for 1 cup of sour cream, then do I leave out the sour cream & just do the strawberries? I use the WASC wih extender. Thanks.....

LindaF144a Posted 11 May 2011 , 1:45am
post #23 of 32

sorry, I have no experience nor do I research on working with a mix or WASC. I strictly back from scratch.

crazydoglady Posted 11 May 2011 , 2:46pm
post #24 of 32

i've been experimenting with fruit puree for a while and have had a number of very different outcomes. i've found that mango is the most temperamental and am guessing that the fruit has a higher water content than others.
i've also compared macerating fruit and draining it to making a cooked puree. the puree tended to cause sinking and a soggy bottom and again i think it's the liquid.
mascerating the fruit, draining it and mashing it a bit kept the fruit flavor bright and the texture of the cupcakes was moist and light. i added the liquid separately as a substitute for the milk.
i could probably have used the cooked puree and reduced the liquid but the second method was easy and worked well.

parsleygurl Posted 11 May 2011 , 9:43pm
post #25 of 32 I have another theory! I've made another batch. I went to the original recipe and followed it perfectly. I believe my flour might be bad. Even though it's new, I think I've got a bag that's old, or just not right. It kinda smells yeasty.

What are your thoughts?

LindaF144a Posted 11 May 2011 , 9:48pm
post #26 of 32

What kind of flour is it? Brand name too.

parsleygurl Posted 11 May 2011 , 9:50pm
post #27 of 32

Pillsbury AP

LindaF144a Posted 12 May 2011 , 12:43am
post #28 of 32

I don't believe you got bad flour. Check the bag for an expiration date. If you did take it back to the store and get a refund. Pillsbury is a very good flour for the home baker to use.

How did the newest batch come out to make you think it is your flour? And you said that once you switched pans you got better results. Or am I not talking to the OP anymore. I can never keep track.

parsleygurl Posted 12 May 2011 , 2:23am
post #29 of 32

The problem with the bag is that I transfer it to an airtight container & throw the bag away. I noticed that it smelled kind of yeasty, but I used it thinking it was my nose was off. The first batch I made last week I made from the recipe of the lady who tweaked the Cupcake Project lady's recipe. I made the second batch today and used the Cupcake Project lady's recipe. It reacted the same. Tasted doughy acted funny, etc. So, I got a new bag of flour and made my 3rd batch. This time I took a strawberry cupcake recipe I've had excellent results from. I substituted mango for the strawberries, and mango extract out for the vanilla extract. They are very moist, done perfectly, and very mango-y! Because of all my changes, I don't know if it was the recipe, the flour, or a combo of both. I DO know the flour smells like flour!

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your input! Explaining the science behind it was exactly what I was looking for. You would make a good teacher if you do that. Thanks, again!

Melvira Posted 12 May 2011 , 2:47am
post #30 of 32

Unfortunately, if you used a different recipe there is no way to know if the flour is the problem, but on the up side... you got some cupcakes you were happy with! icon_lol.gif Sometimes that's ALL that matters! thumbs_up.gif

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