Ask IHC

July 26, 2008 at 8:57 AM | Posted in Ask IHC, cupcakes | 6 Comments

Even though Susan wrote me about 1-1/2 months ago I thought it would be helpful to post her question anyway. I have a “sinking” feeling she’s not the only one out there with this question. (I kill myself sometimes. LOL)

Hi CB!

Please lend me your wisdom. I have had disaster after disaster the past couple of days with cupcakes. I am only using a box (I KNOW! – but I thought it would be safest while I experimented) and am failing miserably.

In one, a devils food, I added raspberry jam, chambord, and about a 1/3 package of pudding. These tasted okay – but were ugly and drippy over the PNCs. The ones that managed to stay in the cup SUNK. Then, today I tried a lemon cake mix, and added only the jam and chambord (not much, mind you, just some) and again, they SUNK. Can you tell me what it is that is causing this? I am baking at 350, about 20 minutes. The liquor? The jam? The temp? It must be something and I can’t bear to make another big shitpile of disaster. Advise me, PLEASE??? Perhaps I need only the egg white and not the yolks? AGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Susan
http://doughmesstic.blogspot.com/

Hi Susan!

Don’t worry! I am not anti-cake mix unlike my other cupcake counterparts.

Sorry to hear about your sinking cupcakes! I hate when that happens!

A couple things come to mind right away.

1. Do you overfill your liners? I usually fill about 1/2-2/3 full so that they don’t overflow.
2. Are you baking them long enough? I usually bake my regular cupcakes about 17-22 minutes.
3. Do you ever open your oven to check on your cupcakes before they are done baking? Trust me I get antsy too! If I get the urge to open the oven door prematurely I always try to give it like 12-15 minutes to bake to allow it time to solidify its structural durability.
4. Is your oven temp calibrated? I didn’t realize until I got an oven thermometer that my oven was slightly off so I tend to increase my baking time or increase the temp to make up for my defunct oven.
5. Make sure you are mixing your ingredient well. There’s a delicate balance to overmixing (overmixing makes the cupcake batter dense) and undermixing (undermixing can undermine the structure of the cupcake esp if you notice that the batter is accumulating melted butter). Undermixing can lead to cupcakes that sink from the weight of the melted butter.

I’ve had issues with adding liquor in recipes before but it made the cupcake dense rather than sink b/c liquor burns off during the baking process. I am not sure how the jam or egg whites would play a part since I rarely bake with either but I think with all new cupcake recipes you have to practice to get it perfect. Looking forward to reading about them in your blog!

Cupcakes and Love,
Clara Cuppycakes

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Do any IHC readers/lurkers have another suggestion(s) for Susan?

Leave a comment!

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6 Comments

  1. Baking is a science and she’s messing with the formula … it’s simple as that

  2. NIKKI, Yeah I think every new recipe has a bit of trial and error before you can get the “formula” right. Thanks for your insight.

  3. My first question was whether she was subbing ingredients or just adding. Like if you add 1/4 liquor, you need to subtract some water, and subs like that. Jam I might take out a little oil since it is thicker. That’s the first thing I would play with.

    One other thing to try is lowering the oven temp and baking a little longer. I just discovered that when baking my 9×13 or 8-9-10 inch rounds, that a lower temp for a longer time creates a much more even rise. It only took me 10 years to figure that one out ;-)

  4. ZEBE, great suggestions!

  5. I agree on everything you asked CB… make sure they are baked long enough (use a tester but may times you can press the cake and it should spring back when poked), make sure that you don’t move them around or disturb them for the first 10-12 minutes (then i turn the pan), make sure to not overfill. Some recipes just sink a little upon removal for me, but the real sinking to me has to do with not being done.

    Thing about a boxed mix is that you are starting with something that is already guaranteed to work, and when you add things, you are supposed to ‘remove’ things, but I tend to not … and somehow it usually works out.

    I bake with jam and chambord all the time (in fact just did it yesterday and the cupcakes were yum!) and have not had this problem, so is not just the combo of jam/chambord.

  6. MARA, thanks for suggestions! Great info.


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