PNC (yeah you know me!)

January 9, 2008 at 8:14 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 17 Comments

One of my favorite cupcake blogs, Cupcake Bakeshop, doesn’t use the typical cupcake liners that you can buy at any grocery store for her cupcakes and I just love how sleek they look in all her photos. Ever since then I’ve been asking anyone who would listen where I can find them. Hopefully she believes in the “imitation is the highest form of flatter” mentality. ;)

I must admit its a little hard to ask when I didn’t even know what they were called! Most of the time I stumbled with long winded inquiries…

“Do you know where I can find those plain small white paper cup things that kinda look like the cups you get at the dentist’s office to rinse and spit?”

Needless to say I didn’t get many helpful replies.  LOL.  Finally I realized I should just go to the source and took several hours perusing her blog to find out what she calls “them”. It actually makes sense when you realize what they are typically used for: Party nut cups- little cups you fill with nuts for parties. Go figure! Now the hardest part would be finding them.  I finally got my answer from my local grocery store employee. She even whispered it, Smart & Final has them”. Not sure who she thought might be listening… the cupcake liner fairies?  But it was still cool to feel like I was asking something dangerous.  haha.

Off to my local Smart and Final in search of party nut cups. I’ve never been to Smart and Final. Its not far but its far enough that I wouldn’t go there without a particular reason. It reminds me of a mini costco. And just like Costco, I can never go in without buying more than what I came in for. ;) Though I did get my party nut cups – 250 for $5. SCORE!

Upon quick observation, party nut cups (PNCs) are stiffer than cupcake liners so you don’t need a cupcake pan – just a regular ol cookie sheet. This is great to be able to bake more than 12 cupcakes at a time esp with my small oven! Also they fill a smaller volume b/c they don’t quite have the elasticity for expansion like regular cupcake liners. This leaves me at a slight dilemma. How much batter do I fill a party nut cup?

I think its the science girl in me that loves experiments.

In my “how to fill a party nut cup” experiment, I marked 3 party nut cups at different batter depth levels – 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 and filled them with a basic chocolate cupcake batter.

And here are the results…

The 1/3-fill isn’t enough; you can barely get a bite of cupcake. The 2/3-fill is… well I think its obvious from the picture. haha. And that leaves 1/2-fill as the winner. Actually I could even stand to maybe fill 5/8 so the batter bakes out the top a little.

I have to admit PNCs aren’t the easiest things to peel off though.  But here’s how I do it:

1. Set the cupcake down on a firm surface and grip with both hands.
2. Grasp the edge of the PNC with your thumb and index finger and pull in an outward motion.
3. Repeat around the edge of the PNC until cupcake is released.

(Or you can do my husband’s tried and true method… just rip it!)

It takes a little practice but its worth it to reach the yummy cuppycake center!

Now don’t get me wrong! I still love the quirky colorful designs of cupcake liners but there’s just something about PNCs that appeals to me for everyday baking.  And… its cheaper! LOL.

Hope this helps any other party nut cupcake converts!

PS. Hopefully Kristi gets my subject line. LOL.


  1. Hah! I love your experiment. It varies so much depending on what type of cupcakes that you are making, however, that I think you’d have to experiment each time. I’ve started making a test cupcake with each new recipe just to see how much it will rise.

  2. ah true true. I really should have a control group for it to be a reliable experiment but as you said all recipes vary a little so what could be the control? It was still fun to play with cupcake batter though. LOL.

  3. PNC, how can I explain it
    I’ll take you frame by frame it
    To have y’all jumpin’ shall we singin’ it
    P is for Party, N is for Nuts scratchin’ temple
    The last C…well…that’s not that simple


  4. Oooh! Thanks for this post! I’ve been wondering what those cups were as well! And how to use them! I’ll have to do some research here in my city to find out where to find them.

  5. KRMWV, bahahahahahahahahahaha! You really should get an agent. Your talent is just… amazing. (still laughing)

    ARMALICIOUS, glad my crazy ramblings helped! Do you have Smart and Final where you live? I think you can also find them at party supply stores too… and nice to “meet” you. :)

  6. my mom used to host baby showers all the time, and those pnc’s sure are sturdy. they make a cute little dish once you’ve taken them apart too!!

  7. Yay! Now the quest is on to find them (I’ve never even heard of Smart and Final) something tells me the commissary isn’t going to have them. The club I used to go to in GA served jello shots in them, so they can’t be that hard to find.
    Also, I wonder if they can be dyed with kool aid or food coloring….I guess if I find some I’ll have to experiment.

  8. KRISTINA, now dying them different colors would be a fun idea! Let me know how your experiment goes! :)

  9. Hi! Cupcake Bakeshop is shut down for comments, so I thought I’d ask you! Do you have to spray or flour the inside of the party nut cups? I just bought a ton of them yesterday – because I finally found someone in town that sells them! – and I baked one cupcake in them as a trial, and it stuck to the sides and bottom. Failed attempt #1.
    Mine are paper, not waxed. Are yours waxed? Or do you spray them? Help!!

  10. MJ, Isn’t it a bummer that Cheryl closed down her blog? I was so sad that day. She’s one of my cupcake idols. As for the PNCs. Mine are paper. I don’t spray mine but I know some ppl do a light spray. Give it a try and see how it works for you! GL!

  11. I actually didn’t find that blog until it had ended. I have a new cupcake obsession, and love that blog!! I will try giving mine a light spray and see what happens. It was actually a banana bread recipe that I added two containers of yogurt to, and thought I’d try it in the paper cups. I think it was too dense and just stuck to the cup. It baked great in my loaf pans though. Thanks so much!! :o)

  12. Hi, just a note. I found the cups at Micheal’s and also at Joeanne’s Fabrics. There’s only 24 in the pack. Not a big amount.

  13. EV, Thanks for the tip! I’ve seen them in the Michaels but like you said it isn’t the best deal for your money. It works in a pinch though!

  14. I know this is an old post but I thought I’d leave a comment anyway in the off chance that you might read it. I’ve used these to make cupcakes for parties and the guests are always confused about how they should eat them. Should they gently pull the cup apart? Should they just rip them apart risking sending the cupcake flying across the room? I finally started putting plastic spoons in about 10 of the cupcakes on the serving table and setting a bowl or cup of more spoons nearby. Ta-da! It’s like a little piece of cake in its own bowl!

  15. Like I mentioned in my post, I usually tell my cupcake taste testers to gently go round the circumference and pull in an opposite outward motion to undo the pleats. Since I bake so much most of my family and friends are pros at unpleating now but newbies still give me a “how the heck do I eat this?” look so it’s a constant question I get. Sometimes for big parties where I don’t have time to explain to each guest how to eat their cupcake I’ll cut a little slit at the top and fold down into a triangle so they know where to start. The spoon idea is very cute too!

  16. So glad I found your site via google. Typed in Cupcakes nut & party cups and you were one of the first. I have just recently purchased some myself and wondered if you could actually cook the cupcakes directly in them and how much batter is needed to get the right shape. So you’re site has been invaluable! Thanks. Love the how to get the cupcakes out of them demo too! I shall go off and start baking with them.

  17. Just thought you might like to know that you can buy these with patterns on them as well. I’m currently searching for something other than what I’ve been able to find. (Polka dots and stripes) I’ve found very few on Etsy, but you can definitely get them at

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