Ask iHC

March 2, 2010 at 8:13 AM | Posted in Ask IHC | 15 Comments

Have your cupcakes ever separated from their liners? If so, do you know why that happened? (via twitter)

Hi [wishes to remain anonymous]!

I get this question ALOT from my cupcake minions… ahem… readers. Here are a few things that I’ve noticed when I bake that may play a role in cupcake separation from liners.

(1) Humidity and excessive rain (weather) is a big factor. If there is more moisture in the air than usual or you live in a high humidity environment combined with the heat from the pan, steam will occur between the liners and the pan if you leave the cupcakes in the pan to cool. Regardless of increased moisture, I usually take my cupcakes out of the pan after they come out of the oven and let them cool on a rack or baking sheet to avoid the build up of steam. Also make sure that before you start baking that your cupcake pan is dry too!

(2) I have found that there is variation in cupcake liners. I usually like the party nut cups for their simple structure and it allows me to get away with not using a cupcake pan but when I’m baking for clients many request the normal cupcake liners since they are easier to unpleat and eat. I suppose the customer is always right. HA! In my experience the plain white liners seem to work better than the more decorated ones. To be honest I’m not sure if there’s something different about some of the decorated ones vs the plain white ones. That’s just an observation I’ve noticed. Decorated liners have a little wax maybe? *shrugs

(3) Make sure to fill your cupcake liner to the correct height so that the cupcake rises enough towards the top of the liner. I’ve noticed that the cupcakes that aren’t filled enough seem to separate more if they don’t rise above the top of the liner. Maybe there’s less moisture build up at the top of the liner so they are able to stick better? Unfortunately all recipes are different so you’ll have to experiment with each recipe for the amount to fill the liner before the breaking point of overfilling. I aint gonna lie. It’s a fine line. I usually fill mine about 1/2-2/3 full depending on the baking soda/baking powder measurement in the recipe.

(4) There’s also a fine line for overbaking. I try really hard to pay attention to my kitchen timer when I bake but life gets in the way sometimes and when the timer goes off at 17-20 minutes (although most of the time I rely on the toothpick test more than time) but the dog is running up and down the stairs b/c the UPS man is at the door, it’s really hard to remember you’ve got cupcakes baking. (I think I need a clone.) Overbaking cupcakes could result in dry cupcakes that tend to pull away from the liners. And who wants a dry cupcake? Let the UPS man wait.

(5) In contrast, underbaking could be an issue too. If the cupcake is too moist especially from excessive butter, buttermilk, sour cream, oil, water etc that could result in the cupcakes not adhering to the liner.

(6) I don’t use cooking spray on my liners. It seems to defeat the purpose of wanting them to stick to the cupcake liners IMO.

Hope that helps!


PS- You all have no idea how much it irks me that I could not come up with 4 more reasons to make it an even 10. I’m a list and numbers girl. It’s either 5 or 10. Anything in between is just weird on the eyes. Is it just me??

PPS- Please remember that I have no scientific proof. (It pains the scientist in me to say that.) I’m just going off what I’ve seen in my own kitchen. If any readers have something to add to my list, feel free in comments! Preferably 4 more things… Please and thanks.



  1. I find that my liners separate from the cupcakes when I use fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.) that’s wet from having just been washed or defrosted. Annoys the crap out of me! I didn’t fully defrost my frozen blueberries the last time I baked them, and the liners stuck!

  2. Have you heard of the new reynolds wrap liners they have the foil liners on the inside and the decorative liner on the outside. Then the oil of the cupcakes doesn’t soak into the paper liner and they stay stuck together while baking.They have really cute liners too. Otherwise I just use the white myself. (these liners are different then the old reynolds foil ones)

  3. I usually only have trouble with the cupcake liners separating with yellow cake recipes; that is, batters with lots of butter in them.

  4. Maybe expensive liners (William Sonoma) work better than the cheap-o ones – that’s my theory and I’m sticking with it – no pun intended. I like the foil ones too and I’ve been seeing ones that come in different colors now, too.


  5. Why do my cuppies always turn out flat? I try so hard to fill them perfectly 1/2 – 2/3 full, but they either don’t rise enough, or they rise too much. I’ve never once gotten that perfect cupcake shape!

  6. Hi Alanna! Are they sinking in the middle? or just flat? Ironically I love flat cupcakes b/c it makes decorating them easier IMO but if your cupcakes are sinking in the middle you might be underbaking them. Make sure you allow your cupcakes to bake uninterrupted for at least 15 minutes. During this time the baking is giving them the structure they need and disrupting them earlier could can cause them to rise and fall too fast. If you are a looking for the “dome” maybe increasing the oven temperature (375-400F) will help create the “steam” environment to induce rising. Obviously if you are increasing the oven temperature you’ll have to adjust your baking time accordingly. I’m tempted to tell you to increase the baking powder in the recipe too since it really helped to make these cupcakes (here) dome but you always wanna be careful when you play with ingredient ratios in a cupcake recipe. HTH!

  7. […] Note: This is a guest blog post from Clara at I Heart Cuppycakes. Be sure to check out her blog and follow her on […]

  8. I’ve also found that when I don’t let them cool in the cupcake tins for at least 10 mins and kind of “set up” in their liners…. they come separate.

  9. I have become a HUGE fan of your site! Love it!

  10. Remember to preheat the oven and make sure it’s the right temp as well. I also agree, set your temp higher to 375-400 to get them to “dome”. You may want to test the temp of your oven and make sure it’s heating properly.

  11. Great tips! I also like things in multiples of 5-10. Weird!

  12. Great Q&A, CB! I’ve had this happen a few times recently and have been wondering the answer myself. I’ve also noticed that my cupcakes using the same recipe as others often don’t dome as much. I think my leavening may be getting old and will try the higher temp.

  13. Love it! Great post to read. I told my hubby that I wanted a drink as soon as I popped!. I also pump and dump. Gotta have my drink on from time to time. Haha. You are so funny and cupcakey talented.

  14. I love baking cupcakes but mine separate from the liners too. It’s so annoying! I’ve noticed that most of decorated liners are grease resistant so that the decorations won’t “disappear in the owen”. It’s kinda a good thing because who would like to use decorated liners that aren’t decorated after baking :D The grease resistance makes the liners and cupcakes separate from each other. I guess that’s the price you have to pay for pretty liners :)

  15. Great info!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: