Cupcake Catastrophe

February 25, 2008 at 11:33 AM | Posted in cupcakes | 30 Comments

I hate when recipes go wrong. Not sure if you can see strands of black hair in the picture but I was literally pulling my hair out! The cupcake gods did not love me today. :(

The cupcake batter was very dense but I tried not to worry and hoped it would all work out in the oven. No such luck! It wasn’t moist and fluffy… it was dense and fugly. You can see the bake marks on the side and bottom so the cupcake didn’t bake evenly. Also the surface of the cupcake didn’t dome nicely, it cracked! Its like California earthquake cupcakes over here! Guessing too much baking powder? ::primal cupcake scream::

Does anyone know if vodka would react weird with flour or baking powder?



  1. At least the green is pretty!

  2. Thanks NIKKI. Always my constant optimist. :)

  3. What was wrong with them? I agree, the color is so pretty!!! I put vodka in frosting…I couldn’t even taste it. :(

  4. ALANNA, they were dense and did not taste good. I rarely throw cupcakes away and these all went in the trash. I am not sure about the science but thats why I asked about vodka and flour b/c your frosting was fine but it had no flour. *shrugs

  5. Well, as previous commenters have pointed out, the color is quite nice. I have looked online for a possible reason why they turned out like this, but my searches came up empty, so basically this is a pointless post. :)

  6. NINA, I have to say that the green did turn out the right shade. I am a whiz with food coloring. haha. ;) I did a search too and maybe its not the vodka interacting with something, its what the vodka replaced since the vodka evaporates when it bakes? fat content too low maybe? *shrugs

  7. That makes perfect sense that it evaporated, thus the batter was too dry and cracked. What did you replace with Vodka?

  8. Maybe if the Vodka was really good quality (therefor not acidic) it could have caused your baking powder) not to perform? I dunno lol I’m just trying to be science-y. The vodka evaporating probably makes better sense :) Too much baking powder could have also done it. Sorry they didn’t turn out, I know that’s super frustrating!

  9. Aw, Clara, how sad! :( They really are a pretty color though… :)

  10. Hi C…Did you taste the cupcakes before you threw them out? That might give you a hint. It’s possible that you just didn’t have enough liquid in the batter (aside from alcohol), but it is hard to say without seeing the recipe or knowing if they tasted icky too. Were there eggs in the batter? Maybe another egg white or two would help. I think if they got to tasting okay, but still cracked, “earthquake” cuppys from CA would be kind of cute.

  11. NINA, it was suppose to be apple juice in the original recipe.

    Thanks KRISTINA. Good suggestion about the vodka and baking powder interaction. I am kind of a vodka newb but I think Smirnoff is a pretty good quality? no?

    MRSABY, I am very sad. I need an Erin Sugar Cookie to cheer me up. Can you make that happen for me ;)

    ZEBE, yeah it tasted yucky and thats why I threw them out. I can usually tolerate if a cupcake is ugly but when it doesn’t taste good, they go in the trash. Good idea about another egg. haha. That could be my signature cupcake huh? ;)

  12. Hi,

    I’m brand new to your blog, and I love it!! I actually found out about it last week through another friend’s blog.

    I’m studying nutrition and I think I might be able to make a suggestion about your pretty green cupcakes :) Replacing apple juice with vodka likely reduced the acid too much, and wasn’t able to produce enough CO2 to make a nice fluffy cupcake. You might want to try adding a little acid, such as citrus juice or cream of tartar, to see if it helps.

  13. I totally cannot say anything about the vodka, since I know nothing about booze — but I will say they are a pretty color and good try! I’ve thrown many a cupcake, cake and cookie away.

  14. HEALTHCHICK, aawwww that does make sense! I didn’t realize that AJ had that much acid. I’ll try the cream of tartar on the next attempt and see how it goes! ps. Nice to “meet” you! :)

    NATALIE, thanks girlie! At least I can say the color was purdy right? ;)

  15. Hurry up and try again, we want the results!

  16. LT, patience my friend. Probably won’t make if for CH though. I am cupcaked out…

  17. Better luck next time!

  18. CUPCAKELADY, thanks. I don’t give up easily so don’t you worry! I’ll be back… ;)

  19. Oh no! Poor cupcakes!

    You should have put up the recipe so we could have dissected them… my first attempt at alcohol laced cupcakes came out dense.. I’m going to attribute it to the oil and the alcohol which must have had some chemical mumbo jumbo that I’d remember from class if I thought hard enough! But I can’t remember… because it’s 2AM O.o

    As far as I know…. there shouldn’t have been an effect. Then again, I worked with rum and passion fruit liquor.

    Will this become one of those unexplained mysteries? Will you attempt it again or have you given up the attempt?

    [Ha! I came out of the woodwork finally! Weeeeeee!]

  20. BOMBSHELL, I think I will go back and try again but right now I am cupcake-ed out. If the 2nd attempt doesn’t work with the already fabulous advice from comments then I’ll post the recipe and get some more informed help. I hate when recipes go wrong… sigh…
    [so glad you came out of lurk-dom!!]

  21. Hey there- vodka is an alcohol and needs to having something to react with. Baking powder reacts with acid. Alcohol reacts with baking soda. Did you replace the vanilla with alcohol- this is what I usually do as vanilla is an alcohol. Also- you might want to try adding baking soda to get your chemical reaction if it wasn’t in your original recipe to get the rise. The usual ratio is 3:2:2. So 3/4 t of baking powder means 1/2 t baking soda and 1/2 t salt.

  22. TW, ohhhhh ok! there was no vanilla or baking soda in the original recipe. I just replaced the apple juice liquid with the vodka. I definitely need to go back and try this one again. Thanks for the advice!

  23. I feel like this warrants a sad ballad to be written: the ballad of the cupcake catastrophe. So sad!

  24. CAKESPY, serious! I need ballad complete with melancholy violins playing…

  25. Hy CB- I suck. I got those turned around. It should be baking soda needs an acid to react with. Been out of school too long I guess. And since your original recipe didn’t have any, then there goes the whole apple juice acid hypothesis. Sorry about that.

  26. TW, no worries hun! I am still learning the science of baking myself. I’ll make it work one of these days… :)

  27. Hi, Love the blog! Just started using the little paper pots as cases, how on earth did you get them to come out like that without destroying the cases or the cake??????? Whats the secret????


  28. FAIRYCAKES, haha. I think thats why these are called the “cupcake catastrophe”. I did something wrong with this recipe so they didn’t really “rise” and fill up the cup all the way so they slid out very easily. This is NOT what you want to happen. LOL.

  29. Hi, I chanced upon your blog while surfing and haven’t left your site in 2 hours! Your cupcake creations are so inspiring, you make me wanna bake at 11pm. Reading this entry, I feel comforted that someone as adept in the kitchen as yourself encounters kitchen mishaps too :)

    Keep on blogging!

  30. MISSMAIMAI, Thank you for your sweet compliments! So glad you are enjoying my blog. :)

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