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Cupcake problems and how to fix them

November 4, 2016

Cupcake problems and how to fix them

Ever had your cupcake recipe turn out a flop? Peeling cases, sinking sponges and overflowing mixtures are just some of the cupcake baking problems that can be easily fixed next time you come to bake.


Cupcake sponge problems

To find solutions to dry, burnt or cracked cupcakes, visit our blog on the Top Twelve Sponge Cake Problems and How to Fix Them. The main rules for baking any sponge apply to cupcakes too.


Cupcake frosting problems

If your buttercream or cream cheese frosting isn’t going so smoothly, visit our blog on Cupcake and Cake Frosting Problems Solved to troubleshoot.


Lumpy cupcake batter

Use your ingredients at room temperature and they will combine more easily. Butter that is stone cold will not mix well. Also, be sure to sift dry ingredients and mix well with a stand mixer or hand-held electric whisk.


Overflowing cupcake cases

Only fill your cupcake cases two-thirds full to leave rising room. We use food portioners to get uniformly sized cupcakes across the batch. You can also use an ice cream scoop if it’s of a suitable shape to hold batter.


Read our blog on How to Make Your Cupcakes/Cookies the Same Size.


Cupcake cases peeling

This can be due to excess moisture when the cakes are cooling down. Excess moisture could be from a particularly moist recipe (e.g. cupcakes with fresh fruit in the sponge) or it could be that the cupcakes haven’t been baked at a high enough temperature or for long enough.


Sometimes our cases can peel when we bake our cupcakes and it can be down to a bad batch of cases, in which case we recommend trying a different brand of case. Allow sponges to cool with ventilation on a wire cooling rack.


Cupcakes taste funny

If you’ve added the correct ingredients and they are all in their use by date, it could be that you’ve used a flavouring that’s not of the best quality. Always pick the best quality flavourings such as vanilla, cocoa powder and chocolate where possible.


Sinking ingredients in your cake mixture

When heavy dry ingredients (e.g. chocolate chips, blueberries, raisins) sink to the bottom of your cake mixture this is normal, however, it doesn’t always look so aesthetically pleasing when you cut into the sponge. We recommend giving them a quick stir once the mixture has been poured into the cases before baking just to get things moving again. Covering ingredients in a light dusting of flour can also slow down sinking ingredients.


Oven too hot or too cold

It might just surprise you to know your oven may not be at the temperature you think it is. This can lead to a whole host of issues for your cupcakes, including leaving them raw in the middle or burning their edges and drying them out. Invest in an oven thermometer. They are cheap and widely available but will help you in any baking endeavour, as you will be able to accurately measure the working internal temperature of your oven.


Not sure if it’s baked or not

Use a metal skewer in the centre to test whether the mixture has baked all the way through. If it comes out cleanly, it’s done. If mixture is left on the skewer, put it back in for a few more minutes and test again. Testing at an angle will give you more surface area. Press lightly on the top of the sponge and it should bounce back. Also, give a visual check and make sure it is looking golden and isn’t about to burn.


Cupcakes going stale

Always store your cupcakes in an airtight container once baked. We recommend eating them as soon as possible after baking for the best flavour. If sponge is left exposed this also means your sponges might go dry quicker than usual. This is why we frost ours with a palette knife and cover them completely in frosting.


Watch our video to learn How to Frost a Cupcake (Hummingbird Bakery style).


Just a terrible caketastrophe

It’s possible you didn’t read the recipe properly. We insist our bakers always take the time to read the recipe first. Yes, it takes a little longer, but you will waste a lot more time if you don’t read the recipe.


Check you have the correct ingredients in the right amounts. Get into good measuring habits with our blog tips for How to Measure Ingredients When Baking.


Remember the golden rule: baking is an exact science, so don’t be tempted to skip or substitute ingredients unless you’re prepared for the recipe to turn out differently to how the recipe intends. If you’re baking with substitutions for dietary reasons, here are our recommendations.


Sugarpaste decoration fails

If you’re working with sugarpaste to make decorations for your cupcakes, read our Top 10 Tips for Decorating Cakes with Sugarpaste Icing.

Posted in: Baking Advice

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  • margaret walsh

    Hello I have baked the blueberry muffins from the hummingbird bakery book a few times and every time they end up flat. They do rise and taste perfect but the top just does not rise like in the book. I do bake them in a fan oven does that make a difference

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