Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nutella Goodness and Shrinking Cupcakes

Something is bothering me recently. When I bake cupcakes these days, they shrink. And they do shrink quite a bit. I have noticed that cakes tend to shrink a little when they are cooling, be it chiffon cakes or butter cakes. For cupcakes, the shrinkage seems to be a lot more noticeable, especially when cupcakes are so tiny, compared to the majestic bundt or round cakes. It bothers me the most when my cupcakes shrink from the sides.

I felt embarrassed when my close friend asked why my cupcakes were not filled to the brim. The truth is, I did put enough batter to allow them to rise to the brim. Sadly, they shrank both from the sides and at the top upon cooling. If I had filled them with more batter, the cupcakes would have overflowed, something I totally dread and fear. The same shrinking issue popped up when I made cupcakes for a recent bloggers meetup. It seems that this problem surfaced recently after I tried out two new types of smaller size cupcake liners.

After googling on the internet, I am not the only one with shrinking cupcakes apparently. I think I need more time to adjust to my new cupcake liners. If all else fails, I will keep to my much more dependable larger-size cupcake liners.

Nutella Cupcakes (recipe adapted from I Can Bake by Agnes Chang)  
Serving size: 13 cupcakes
Taste and texture: Cake is soft, moist and fluffy.
Equipment and materials:
1) Cupcake liners - 4.5cm from the base, 5cm in height
2) Stand electric beater/ handheld electric beater
3) Spatula
4) Mixing bowls
5) Flour sieve
6) Weighing scale

125g unsalted butter, softened
100g brown sugar
100g whole eggs, lightly beaten and at room temperature
150g self-raising flour
4 tbs sour cream or yoghurt, at room temperature
4-5 tbs Nutella

Making the cupcakes:
Preheat oven - Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Creaming the butter - In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy for about 3 minutes. Creamed butter should be noticeably larger in volume. 

Adding eggs - Add in 1/3 of beaten eggs and beat until well combined. Repeat the process in 2 more additions with remaining eggs. If mixture curdles, beat in one tablespoon of flour and continue beating.

Incorporating flour and liquid - Sift in half the flour and beat to combine briefly on low speed until flour disappears and is evenly distributed. Add in all the sour cream or yoghurt and beat briefly to combine. Lastly, sift in the remaining flour and beat until mixture is well combined, about 2 minutes at most. Do not over-mix the batter.

Baking cupcakes - Spoon batter evenly onto cupcake liners. Cupcake liners should be halfway filled. Drop slightly less than half teaspoon of Nutella onto batter and use a toothpick to create swirls. Bake cupcakes for about 25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow baked cupcakes to cool completely before storing them.

1) Butter should be well creamed and eggs should not be cold to prevent curdling.
2) For bigger cupcake liners, fill up to two-thirds full with batter. For smaller cupcake liners, fill only up to one-third full.
3) Baking times will vary according to individual oven and size of cupcake liners.


  1. yours look good ... can i have one for tea

  2. Hey ZY, I've had the same experience too. Mine shrank as much as 50% and peeled away from the sides of the cup. I haven't quite figured out why yet, but can only guess that it's because the batter may be too oily for the paper cup; or the paper cup is too highly waxed. Or perhaps too much leavening.

    I've also had the problem of cupcakes peeling away from liners, for which I read somewhere that it's because the batter is too oily or there's too much moisture. One solution was to remove them from the muffin tins immediately so that condensation doesn't form. This seems to work for liners; may not be so relevant for cups though. Perhaps try another recipe to see if the same issue occurs?

  3. heya, for my cases it's mainly due to the waxy cupcake liners. if i use my paper ones, they don't have issues.

  4. Your cupcakes look lovely to me :)

  5. ZY, you are not alone. Me too! I always get frustrated everytime baking in cupcakes, mine either over flow or under filled :(

  6. the cupcakes looks wonderful to me despite of the shrinkage!

  7. hey eelin,

    the waxed cup is the worst. shrinks from the side alot. I tried two recipes. Both shrank when I'm using cups. They are the same recipes that I used with liners previously.


    hey Jean,

    same here. its the waxy ones that are problematic.


    hey DG,

    ya! its very frustrating. I need to get used to different kinds of cups and liners..


    hey chris, cathy and jess,

    thanks alot!


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