Sagging Chocolate Cupcakes, Please Help!!

Baking By CupcakeHi Updated 4 May 2016 , 5:52pm by Jeff_Arnett

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CupcakeHi Posted 3 May 2016 , 11:54pm
post #1 of 6


I cannot seem to make chocolate cupcakes without them SIGNIFICANTLY sagging in the middle every time, and it is driving me crazy! Besides looking ridiculous, the cake is always moist and they taste delicious.

The ingredients listed below are added to a bowl and mixed (with a whisk, by hand). Oven is set to 350F

2 cups of sugar

1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup canola oil

1 Tbs. vanilla

1 cup boiling water

Some other things to note: I live at a higher elevation (6,500), mixing with anything more than a hand mixer makes them look like they've exploded in the oven, and my baking soda and powder are brand new.

What am I doing wrong that is making these come out so bad? Suggestions, modifications, or another great tasting chocolate cake recipe would be so appreciated :)

5 replies
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AAtKT Posted 4 May 2016 , 12:07am
post #2 of 6

Have you tried starting your oven at a higher temperature and then reducing it to the 350 after 5 minutes (or so)?

It is a technique that sometimes helps cupcakes dome more... maybe that will help your sagging centers?

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MimiFix Posted 4 May 2016 , 2:28am
post #3 of 6

The recipe is a Hershey's classic chocolate cake and has the reputation for being problematic. Reduce the baking powder and baking soda to 1 teaspoon each. Reduce the milk to 1/2 cup and the water to 1/2 cup. And the suggestion from @AAtKT ‍ will help create a domed top. Good luck!

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remnant3333 Posted 4 May 2016 , 4:32pm
post #4 of 6

could it be the higher elevation causing a problem? I have always used the Hershey recipe and have never had a problem with it.  

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MimiFix Posted 4 May 2016 , 5:02pm
post #5 of 6

It might be an elevation-related problem, I don't know. Except there have been threads on this site about that recipe. And some of my students have had problems, too. It's a delicious moist chocolate cake but inconsistent. The recipe is a very thin batter so I think the issue is with how some people measure their flour. (This is a perfect example of why weighing ingredients will give more consistent results. But it's hard to get some people to change their habits.) 

I really like using this recipe in my adult ed baking classes because it's so fast and simple. Once I adjusted the leaveners and liquids there were no more problems.

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Jeff_Arnett Posted 4 May 2016 , 5:52pm
post #6 of 6

That Hershey's Perfect Chocolate Cake sure isn't perfect for a lot of included.  I could never get consistent results with day it baked fine, the next the center sank, the next it stuck to the well prepared pan, and on and on.

I now use a choclate cake recipe that I've tweaked over several years to get it just the way I wanted it.  You might need to look for a different recipe to try.

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