What Causes Cupcakes to Sink?

What Causes Cupcakes to Sink?

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I was just preparing a large batch of banana cupcakes for a bespoke order last week. I double-checked everything and pulled them out precisely when I was supposed to. The air was lovely and the cupcakes looked perfectly wonderful, but 15 minutes later I found myself with two plates of the saddest sunken cupcakes.

That was a really disheartening sight. Imagine losing all of your hard work and having to start again. Of course, this sent me on a mission to figure out what had gone wrong with my cupcakes.

I’m Angie, and I’ve been making cupcakes for almost ten years, yet I still make mistakes now and again. I uncovered the following reasons why cupcakes sink after doing extensive study and reflecting on my personal experience, and I’m here to share these insights with you.

Let’s get started!

Reason 1: Leavening Agent Not Working

Powders lose their strength and are no longer able to give enough leavening for our baked products. If your cupcake isn’t rising correctly or has sunk in the centre, it might be due to a lack of leavening agent. Baking soda that has expired

Moisture and exposure to air and surrounding odors may degrade baking soda, therefore baking soda and powder that is not properly kept may lose their power as well.

How to Correct It: Before you begin baking, do the following test to ensure that your cupcakes do not sink due to your leavening agent.

  • In a small dish, combine a tablespoon of baking soda.
  • Add some vinegar, lemon juice, or other acidic liquid on top of the baking soda.
  • The baking soda is still safe if the mixture fizzes and bubbles.

Baking Essentials has further information about baking soda and powder.

Reason 2: Temperature Too High or Too Low

Baking is a science, and as I’m sure your middle school lab experiments shown, temperature can make a tremendous impact.

If your oven temperature is too high, the edges of your cupcakes will rise too rapidly, without giving the middle enough time to catch up. By the time the whole cupcake is cooked through, the edges will have become brown or scorched.

Pulling your cakes out prematurely, on the other hand, will result in an equally sunken cupcake since the undercooked center will fall flat once cooled because it hasn’t reached the point of rising yet.

How to Repair It: Always use an oven thermometer and adjust your oven temperature correctly. Additionally, do not open your oven door too often throughout the baking process to check on your cakes since this can cause the internal temperature to vary.

Reason 3: Overmixed Batter

You’ve undoubtedly heard not to overmix your batter if you’ve been baking for a long. You may not have realized why before, but you do now. Your sinking cupcakes are the reason.

We now know that mixing our batter aids in the incorporation of air. The air in our cakes helps them expand and gives them volume and fluffiness. However! It is critical that we do not overdo it.

Mixing for too long might cause more gluten to form than we want, making your cake harder and less likely to rise. Also, the additional air in the mixture will compress as the cupcakes bake, resulting in a sunken center.

How to Repair It: After all of the components have been combined and seem homogeneous, stop mixing.

Reason 4: Overfilled Liners

Theoretically, you could believe that the more cupcake pans you use, the larger your cake would be. Yet, this is only partially accurate. I know because I’ve made this mistake far too often.

The reason we should only fill our cupcakes halfway is because your cake will rise and stick to the edges of the pan. If your tins are overly full, your batter may easily overflow. As your cake cools or stops rising, the center deflates, giving it a sunken appearance.

How to Correct It: Most recipes specify how much you should fill your cupcake liners, but the general guideline is to fill them all the way to the top, allowing enough room for the cake to rise without spilling.

Reason 5: Not Following Recipe

Too much or too little of a certain ingredient might cause your cupcakes to sink. Your cupcakes may not rise if you used too many wet ingredients without enough dry components to balance them out. And vice versa.

Adding additional ingredients in your recipe or making substitutions might also cause your cupcakes to sink. (In my case, it was the bananas!) As you add more ingredients to your recipe, you must account for the quantity of leavening agent that is still required to help your cupcakes rise steadily. Failure to do so will result in sinking cupcakes.

What to Do: Baking is a science! For more reliable outcomes, try not to experiment too much and stick to the recipe.


Here are some more questions regarding cupcakes that I’ll address below.

How do you keep cupcakes from sinking?

You may avoid your cupcakes from sinking by following the above suggestions and ensuring that your leavening agent is powerful, that your oven temperature is proper, that you do not overmix the batter, that you do not overfill the liners, and that you simply follow the instructions as written.

Should cupcakes be flat or domed?

A cupcake that is anywhere between flat and domed is perfect. You want an equally risen cupcake top with no pointed hardened center.

Can you eat sunken cupcakes?

Sunken cupcakes are generally safe to consume as long as they are thoroughly cooked through. When removing a cupcake from the oven, do a toothpick test to see whether it is entirely cooked through.

Final Thoughts

Discovering sunken cupcakes might be disheartening, but don’t worry, they’ll still taste great and can be used to create cake pops. What is more essential is that you remember the following advice so that you do not repeat the same error the next time.

Have you ever attempted to make sunken cupcakes? If so, how did you end up using them? What steps have you taken since then to avoid this from occurring again? Tell us in the comments!

Angie’s Bio


How do you keep cupcakes from sinking?

How to fix: just fold in the dry ingredients until mixed. Cease folding when there are no dry ingredient streaks visible in the batter. If your oven is too hot, the cupcakes will rise too quickly and the centre will not be cooked, causing the cupcakes to sink.

Why do my cupcakes sink in the middle while baking?

The cupcake will sink in the center. This is also the cause of your cupcakes becoming flat after baking. If you use too many liquid components, there won’t be enough dry ingredients to absorb the liquid, and your cake will fall apart.

How do you make cupcakes rise perfectly?

4 full. For the first five minutes, bake at 400°F. Next, for the remaining of the baking time, reduce the temperature to 350°F. The tops of the cupcakes will bubble out as a result of the first burst of heat. Fill 3 cupcake liners

Can you fix deflated cupcakes?

Cupcakes sagged

Although mixing on high speed will remove these lumps, it will also flood the batter with air. To cover this up, double the amount of icing on top of each cupcake.

What temperature do you bake cupcakes at?

Most cupcakes bake nicely at temperatures ranging from 325°F to 375°F. Fortunately, these are also the temperatures at which cakes are often cooked.

Why do cakes fall in the center?

Too much leavening agent, such as baking soda or powder, may cause a cake to rise too rapidly and too high. Before the cake bakes through in the middle, the gas from the leavening chemicals builds up and escapes. This causes the core to collapse, causing your cake layers to sink in the center.

Why did my cupcakes shrink after cooling?

If your batter contains a lot of liquid, it will shrink after baking. The liquid generates a large amount of steam. This steam fills up the cupcake but evaporates after baking, causing the cupcakes to shrink.

What is the secret to good cupcakes?

10 Suggestions for Making Amazing Cupcakes
All of the ingredients should be at room temperature.
The batter should not be overmixed.
For evenly cooked cupcakes, use a cupcake scoop.
Fill cupcake liners just halfway.
Cupcakes should be baked on the middle rack of the oven.
Instead of a toothpick, use the touch test.
Take the cupcakes from the pan and set aside to cool.
More to come…
•Jan 12, 2023

Do eggs help cupcakes rise?

To assist batters rise, leavening chemicals are utilized. This process is normally attributed to yeasts and baking soda, however egg whites are equally ideal for this job. As with meringue, the air held inside the beaten egg whites contributes to the lofty buoyant form and structure of angel food cake.

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