Why do my cupcake liners pull away from the cupcakes?
This is one question I've had pop up over and over again through the years I've been baking! It's such a frustrating and ugly problem to have, right?
First let me say that I'm not sure there's one right answer to this question. In my research I've found that there seems to be many reasons this might happen and if you're struggling with the problem, you'll have to narrow it down to what might be going wrong for you.
I'm going to start by telling you my theories on why this happens then I'll also share links to other posts where other cake decorators have shared their thoughts!
PS - I said "theories" because I'm not a scientist... AT ALL. These are just my ideas based on experience and I rarely have trouble with this anymore!
After much research and experience, here are the top 6 reason I've found...
Why do my cupcake liners pull away from the cupcakes?
1 - Too much moisture is big problem (and a reoccurring theme as you're about to see). I know we all want moist cupcakes, but if they're too moist, the liners will pull away! You may have to adjust your recipe and consider reducing the butter, sour cream, milk/water... just a little until you get a combination that works! Most of you know I use doctored cake mix recipes for most of my baking and I almost never have this problem anymore. See my top 6 cake recipes here (I use them all for cupcakes too!).
2 - Under-baking will absolutely cause this to happen! If it happens to you often, you may want to add 2-5 minutes of baking time to your cupcakes! I think this goes back to moisture... they're still too "wet" and liners don't like that! Jessica Harris confirmed this theory in her post here .
3 - Leaving cupcakes in the pan will cause problems too! I usually let my cupcakes cool in the pan for no more than 8-10 minutes and then I flip them out!! If you let them cool completely there, I think the moisture evaporating from the hot cupcake gathers there in the cup and again... moisture makes them pull away! What am I saying here? Moisture, moisture, moisture (sorry... I know some cakers hate that word!).
Let me add - some peeps think leaving them in the pan for even a minute causes this problem. I've been leaving mine for for up to 10 minutes for years with no trouble, but by all means, if you have this problem, flip them out immediately and see if that helps!
4 - Use quality liners!! When I used to buy my cupcake liners at the Walmarts, I had the pulling away happen a LOT more often than I do now! I buy brown or black glassine liners from Country Kitchen Sweetart (the ones on the left in the pic) in bulk for most of my projects! Foil liners seem to be a culprit too for a lot of bakers. Don't get me wrong - I still use pretty liners from time to time and following the other tips here, I rarely have issues, but if you consistently have problems, switch out your liners and see if that helps!
5 - Under-filling the liners. More times than not, I have this problem when my cupcakes don't bake up all the way to the top of the liner. If your finished cupcakes are not filled to the top - add more batter and see if that fixes your problem!
I use a Pampered Chef Medium scoop to scoop my cupcake batter (heaping scoop) and it's the perfect amount for uniform cupcakes that aren't over-filled or under-filled! I'm not a Pampered Chef rep and other brands will certainly work - I just happen to like that one a lot. If you want to spend less money, there are other 2 Tbsp. scoops here.
6 - Don't store the cupcakes in airtight containers! This is not always possible - especially when I'm baking ahead of time, but in the past, I've had more liners peel away when I store them in my big cookie sheets with lids vs. in bakery boxes (that are not 100% sealed). Forgive me for sounding like a broken record, but again, my theory is that the trapped moisture inside the container leads to the liners pulling away! If you must store them in an airtight container to keep them fresh, make sure they're completely cooled before putting them in!
And that's it... my theories for Why do my cupcake liners pull away from the cupcakes?
There is a lot of repetitive information here, but if you'd like to explore other opinions, here are some other helpful posts about this topic :
- Marion from Sweetopia posts: How to stop cupcake liners from peeling away from cupcakes
- Jessica from Jessica Harris Cake Design posts: Cupcake Wrapper Mystery - SOLVED!
- Stef from Cupcake Project Posts: Why Do Cupcake Pull Away from Liners?
- The Java Cupcake Blog: Guest Blogger: “I Heart Cuppycakes” teaches us why our cupcakes separate from the liners
- Confection Perfection: Why do cupcakes peel away from the cases?
Let's hear it... what do YOU think? Leave me a comment and tell me if you've solved this problem and what works for you!
I also like the glassine linners for adhering to the batter. I use the boxes with the see thru windows, but I prop the box's lid open slightly when I put them in the fridge. This lets them cool down without holding the condensation in the box. Once the cupcakes cool down(could be an hour or so) I close the box. Also never wrap the cooled cupcakes thigtly before waiting to decorate them- just cover, letting in some air, or the linners may pull away. Cakesbykaren
Great tips Karen!
Thanks for the info! I love the Country Kitchen store products. Going to have to do a little shopping there! Hope you are having a great week!
Technically you are a scientist...you have a Bachelor of SCIENCE in Mathematics!! ;).
Ha!! If you say so sweetie 😉
Thank you for this very important tip. I have had this happen on occasion and was not sure why. This makes total sense.
You're welcome - I do hope it helps!
Less water, filling cupcake holders higher, removing from pan quicker, and not storing in airtight containers all worked for me!!! Thank you! I love baking cupcakes again:) I even still use whatever cute cupcake holders I can find usually at Homegoods.
I believe your theories are correct. I've found the same thing and I use the cheap Walmart liners and have absolutely no problem now after much trial and error.
I use grease proof liners, let cupcakes cool in pan 5-8 minutes in the pan before transferring to a cooling rack. Cool completely before storing in sealed Tupperware. No issues.
Great - thanks for stopping by!
So I guess freezing them is out of the question.
I've only done it once but it was successful. I let the cupcakes cook completely, then froze them in a box. When I was ready to use, I let them come to room temp and they were perfect! That was using my wedding cake recipe (https://rosebakes.com/WeddingCakeRecipe). I can't say that this would work all the time, but it did work for me the one time.
This is something I have always wondered! Next time I make cupcakes, I will be checking your suggestions. Thanks for sharing with Merry Monday!
Thanks so much for joining us at Delicious Dishes! We love your tips for Why Cupcake Liners Pull Away from Cupcakes and hope you’ll join us again this week!
Thanks so much
Hey Rose! Great article. I just had this happen last night, sadly. I believe moisture is the culprit and perhaps I could have left them in another minute. How much moisture do you recommend cutting? I live in a high-altitude area, so typically I add more moisture to accommodate. Thank you so much!
So I guess to really cure the problem one would need a magic wand! Your article was very helpful in so far as it confirmed my own thoughts. I scrapped the cute inexpensive papers a long time ago, I use a good quality white cup and drop them into a high quality decorative paper be for serving.
Yeah I used to think my issue was moisture too but it was even simpler than that. I was whipping too much air into the butter sugar egg mix. Not to the same extent but it is sort of like a soufflé, when they cool they shrink and pull away from the wrapper.
Yes!!! Thank you so much for your comment. My cupcakes were also shrinking and pulling away from the wrapper from over mixing. I made another batch and I could tell a difference in the thickness and amount of batter when I didn't over mix. Fewer cupcakes, but nearly perfect. There was still a little space n the bottom of the wrapper.
This post has been a a tremendous blessing!! I know that moisture is the culprit!! Even more so on humid days! Thank you so much!!
That's great to hear!
Your ideas worked for me! I did overtake a bit and used applesauce instead of oil in the cake batter recipe. Thanks for helping to solve this problem. I have a great display of cupcakes that don’t look all messy!
Awesome - so happy to hear it!