Why Do My Cupcakes Overflow & Sink: Fixing & Preventing

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Cupcakes are arguably the perfect individualized dessert. They come in many flavors and designs and can be served at almost any event! In order to properly decorate the perfect cupcake, we need a flat top as a canvas for our frosting! Overflowing and sinking are common problems that can be easily prevented and fixed!

As a whole, cupcakes that overflow and sink are usually overbeaten. This forces too much air into the batter. Then, when the batter bakes, it causes a mini-explosion, forcing the batter out of the cupcake pan. Then, with less batter in the wrapper, it will sink as the cupcake becomes firmer.

Stopping your cupcakes from overflowing in the pan and sinking in the middle is a vital step to successfully making cupcakes. This article will look at the most common reasons why cupcakes overspill their wrappers and why they sink in the middle.

Why Did My Cupcakes Overflow and Sink?

As a general rule, the most common reason cupcakes overflow their wrapper is that you overbeat the ingredients. Beating your batter for too long adds too much air. This can also be the case if you scrambled your eggs before adding them to your batter as this adds more air as well.

If there is too much air in your cupcakes due to overbeating, they lack structural support. Therefore, they rise and do not have the support they need, so they fall, which leaves a sunken place in the middle.

Typically, this occurs because the air interferes with the gluten development, so the cupcake will sink in the middle and have a tougher texture.

You also have the option to use non-stick liners when baking your creations. These liners are usually made out of silicone and are reusable. I recently came across some good Non-Stick Silicone Liners that work great for this. You can check them out on Amazon!

Did Your Cupcakes Overflow
Don’t Pour Too Much Batter Into The Cups!

Pay attention to what the recipe tells you to do and how long you should beat it:

  • Stir – There is no particular need to be careful, so you can just give it a quick mix.
  • Fold- Use a rubber spatula to incorporate delicate ingredients without breaking their structure.
  • Beat – Use a whisk or electric mixer to combine all ingredients until smooth.
  • Whip- Read your recipe to see if you need to beat the mixture until soft peaks form or until soft.
  • Cream – This allows the fat in the cake to break up the sugar in the cupcakes. This should be done quickly at high speed.

*By the way, I recently wrote an article about All The Different Mixing Methods in Baking. This article talks about the 10 different mixing ways you can use when making your baked goods. You can check out this article here!

Generally, if you are not adding additional ingredients, only mix until no flour streaks remain. If you are adding other ingredients, some flour streaks are still OK until the final mixing occurs. Following this rule will stop you from overmixing your cupcakes and having them fall.

How To Prevent My Cupcakes From Spilling Over?

Generally speaking, make sure to fill each cupcake wrapper 75% full to prevent the cupcakes from spilling over. Additionally, ensure that all ingredients, like baking soda and eggs, are fresh and room temperature. Double-check that the temperature in the oven is correct by using an oven thermometer.

One of the most common reason cupcakes overflow the pan and sink in the middle is that you overfilled them. I tend to fill them only 75% of the way which gives them enough room to expand.

What I also make sure of is always baking with fresh ingredients. In particular, check the baking soda to be sure it is fresh.

If you have doubts about your baking soda, put a little in a bowl and add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice. If the mixture does not fizz a lot, you need to replace that ingredient.

Prevent Your Cupcakes From Spilling Over
Prevent Your Cupcakes From Spilling Over!

If you use old eggs, your cupcakes will not rise properly. While this usually means that they will be flat overall, it may also cause them to sink in the middle. Therefore, you should check your eggs each time.

If your recipe uses double-acting baking soda, you should bake the batter immediately. Letting it sit after you have incorporated the ingredients causes the action to occur before your cupcakes are in the oven. Therefore, they can sink.

You can tell if your eggs are fresh by putting them in a bowl containing about 4 in. of water.

If the egg sinks, then it is good to use. On the other hand, if it floats a little bit, you need to replace them.

Cooking your cupcakes at the wrong temperature can cause the air to come out too quickly or too slowly, so your cupcakes will lack structural support.

Therefore, you should always use a thermometer in your oven. Independent testers found that oven temperatures can be off by up to 50 degrees, and it can make a massive difference in cupcakes.

You need to invest in an oven thermometer to judge the true temperature of the inside of your oven. This will help you get to know your oven better! I recently came across a great Stainless Steel Instant Read Oven Thermometer. You can check it out on Amazon!

You can choose between ones that hang from the rack or stand on them. Choose one that has an easy-to-read face. Avoid alcohol-filled choices as they tend to get stuck.

Once your cupcakes are in the oven, leave the door shut for at least the first 11 minutes. When you open the door, you let cold air into the oven. This can cause your cupcakes to sink in the middle.

How Do You Fix Overflowing Cupcakes in the Oven?

Although it is difficult to fix overflowing cupcakes while they are in the oven, this can be prevented by only filling your wrappers 75% full and using fresh ingredients. When they have finished baking, remove them from the pan as soon as possible and cover the edges with frosting to hide any flaws.

Sadly, you cannot fix cupcake overflow while they are in the oven. That is why it is so vital to incorporate the right amount of air and fill your wrappers accurately. Then, bake your cupcakes at the right temperature until done.

Once your cupcakes have cooled for about 10 minutes, remove your cupcakes from the pan. Place the slightly cooled cupcakes on a cooling rack and allow to cool for about an hour or so.

Then, fix any imperfections with frosting. Make sure your cupcakes have cooled enough or your frosting will melt. You can place your cupcakes in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up before frosting.

*Side Note: I recently wrote an article about How to Store Frosted Cupcakes to Keep Them Fresh. This article talks about the right way of storing frosted and unfrosted cupcakes in several different storage places. You can check out the full article here!

How To Make Cupcakes Rise Perfectly?

As a general rule, ensure the ingredients are fresh, especially the baking soda or powder. Make sure the oven’s rack is flat, and use an oven thermometer to make sure that it is the right temperature. Bake only one tray of cupcakes at a time, and rotate the trays if the oven has hot and cold spots.

The first factor to consider when getting your cupcakes to rise perfectly is to make sure that you use the exact amount required of the leavening agent, which is often baking soda. Add it at the time called for in the recipe. Then, mix all the ingredients together.

Your cupcakes cannot rise properly if the oven’s rack is not level. Therefore, you should double-check it before putting your cupcakes in the oven. If you forget and it is not level, all your cupcakes will lean to one side.

Did Your Cupcakes Sink
Did Your Cupcakes Sink?

It is essential that you bake your cupcakes at the right temperature without opening the oven door to check on them until at least 11 minutes have passed. Baking them in an oven that is too hot or cold will affect how the leavening agent works in your cupcakes, so they will not rise properly.

Bake only one tray of cupcakes at a time.

Your cupcakes will not get enough airflow around them if you try to force two pans in your oven simultaneously, so they will not rise properly. You are not saving much time when you try to bake more than one tray at a time because they will need to bake 15% longer.

You should always bake your cupcakes on a rack placed in the center of your oven.

This helps that the temperature reaches the top and bottom of the mixture evenly so that your cupcakes rise perfectly. It also helps the tops and bottoms of your cupcakes to brown evenly.

*By the way, I recently wrote an article about How Long Cupcakes Should Cool Before Frosting. This article talks about the right way to cool off a cupcake and how long you need to wait for it to cool. You can check out this article here!

How Do You Keep Cupcakes From Doming?

As a whole, overmixing cupcakes causes them to dome, so follow the recipe exactly. When you overmix, this incorporates too much air into your batter which will cause them to dome. Also, bake the cupcakes as soon as the batter is prepared, or the cupcakes may start to rise too early.

Instead of sinking, some cupcakes will rise and make a dome when you overmix the batter. Therefore, you should follow the recipe as written because you do not want either one happening.

Generally, you will want to mix the cupcake batter just until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Do Your Cupcakes Dome
Do Your Cupcakes Dome?

Plan enough time to make the batter and bake the cupcakes before taking a break. Letting your batter sit causes the leavening agent to rise the batter in the mixing bowl. Then, your cupcakes may dome in the oven.

Use an oven thermometer to ensure that you bake the cupcakes at the right temperature. Place the cupcakes on the middle rack so that air can circulate around them. Too little air movement or the wrong temperature can cause cupcakes to dome.

*Side Note: I recently wrote an article about If Cupcakes Should Be Flat or Domed. This article discusses whether your cupcakes should come out flat or domed while baking. You can check out this article here!

How Do You Fix Overmixed Cupcake Batter?

In general, overmixed cupcake batter can be fixed by adding 1 tbsp. of flour to the mixture until it comes back together. This may need to be repeated, one spoonful at a time, two or three times. It will strengthen the structure of your cake, but if the batter looks too dry, then add some liquid.

If you got distracted and beat your cupcake batter too long, try adding a little flour.

Mix in the flour until it incorporates into the batter. If it begins to look too dry, you will need to add a little water or another liquid.

Overmixing the flour will affect the gluten in your batter which is important for the texture and integrity of your cupcake. As you mix, you are also aerating the batter which incorporates air into your mixture.

Adding too much air will cause your cupcake to dome in the oven which makes it difficult to frost down the line. Adding flour to your overbeaten mixture will help settle the gluten development in your batter.

*By the way, I consider decorating my cupcakes correctly to be the most important step to presenting a perfect-looking cupcake. I recently came across a Full Set of Cupcake Decorating Kit that has everything you need to decorate your cupcakes! You can check out this set on Amazon!

Final Thoughts

Cupcakes are a fun way to celebrate any occasion. Besides being a delicious treat, they are visually stunning!

To ensure the perfect surface for frosting and decorating a cupcake, it is important to prevent it from overflowing and sinking.

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My name is Fainna! I've been baking desserts ever since I was 10 years old with my grandma passing her baking wisdom down to me with every passing day. I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful here at my little Baking Nook!

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