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May 31, 2005 02:14 PM

How to make 'puffy' cupcakes

  • w

In layer cakes, you want the top to be even but in cupcake it's much more pleasing to the eye to have the top round and puffy (at least to me).
So I tried filling the muffin cups more than 2/3 full, in fact I think I went 4/5 full. All that did was make them over flow :P

I see the ones in supermarket to be puffy, yet the ones from Citizen Cake does not.

How does one achieve puffiness without sacrificing taste?

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  1. I'm pretty sure that filling the cups more makes the tops flatter. I'd try filling them only 2/3 full.

    5 Replies
    1. re: middydd

      why do you say that?

      I've done it where I don't over fill them. They just come out 'just right', which is not what I'm after either...

      1. re: Wendy Lai
        Hungry Celeste

        What sort of cake batter are you using? The texture of the cake will determine how high the cakes rise. A lighter cake (genoise style) will rise higher, as will one made with cake flour rather than all-purpose. I'd suggest experimenting with various sponge and genoise recipes to get the desired effect. Also, are you using paper baking cups or foil ones? I've had cupcakes rise higher in the paper ones (unscientific, I admit). And check the temp on your oven with a thermometer--it might be a little off. Try cooking at a slightly higher temp to increase the "poof", and don't forget to add a little salt or acid (a couple of drops of lemon juice) to the batter to make the leavening work better.

        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          They rise more in paper b/c it is less slick and they climb better.
          You need to find a recipe that has less liquid. The thicker the batter the higher it can go. I wouldn't recommend just upping the leavener. That really requires science knowledge. Unless of course you have it! Plus if the batter is too loose it wouldn't work anyway. Hope that helps!

          1. re: Becca Porter

            I second the paper recommendation. Almost every muffin/cupcake I've made comes out puffier with a liner. Now if you're anti-liner...

          2. re: Hungry Celeste

            I used a Gale Gand recipe from It was with cake flour, but it wasn't a sponge or genoise style cake, it's butter based. I like the flavor but it didn't poof for me.

            I also used the paper liners that comes with an outside foil cup. Salt and orange zest were also used.

            I guess I have to just experiment it more. I thought there might be an easy answer.

      2. How about adding more baking powder?

        1 Reply
        1. re: munster
          JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

          Gotta be really careful doing that- too much baking powder and your baked goods taste metallic. My dad's pancake recipe had too much baking powder in it; if only I knew then what I know now...

        2. I don't have much experience w/ cupcakes but do make muffins. Agree that the rounded dome looks nicer. I just made a batch of muffins recently and noted that the recipe called for 1 whole TB of baking powder for 12 muffins. I believe that the amount of baking powder as well as the high oven temp (400F) helped to create a very puffy muffin. My baking powder is relatively new, so if yours is older, it might be stale.

          1. l
            La Dolce Vita

            I posted exactly this question on the Chowhound board about two years ago, and got an excellent solution.

            Here is what works: Bake the cupcakes at a higher temperature at the beginning. I just made cupcakes this weekend, using the banana cake recipe from Beranbaum's Cake Bible. I preheated the oven to 375 degrees, on the convection cycle. (If you don't have convection, you might need to do it on 400 degrees.) Then, after about 7 minutes, when the tops got puffy and started to set, I finished the baking on 325 degrees, with convection (or 350 degrees with no convection). My cupcakes had a nice dome on them. I also like to fill the cupcake pans closer to the 3/4 mark--I find this produces optimal puffiness with the bakeware I use. I use a liner, by the way, sprayed with a bit of Pam.

            I find that this initial-higher-temperature technique works with all of the cake recipes I have tried so far--and I have tried a number of them. These are the very recipes that will produce a flatter-topped cake when baked in a regular 9-inch cake pan at 350 degrees.

            I'm sorry to contradict some of the other suggestions, but I don't recommend that you increase the baking powder--I tried that once and got a not-so-good tasting cupcake with an unattractive top.

            Try this techique and let me know if it works for you. It certainly works for me, and I hope you have success with it, too.

            3 Replies
            1. re: La Dolce Vita

              Thanks for sharing your great ideas/experience!

              1. re: La Dolce Vita

                I did the same method, and did notice that my cupcakes did dome nicely. Is there any advice on how to determine the remaining baking time when setting the oven back at the regular baking temperature?

                1. re: La Dolce Vita

                  Does this technique work for carrot cake cupcakes? Also, can you use whole wheat pastry flour in place of all purpose flour and get round, puffy cupcakes? I'd appreciate your thoughts on this.

                2. If the recipe calls for lemon juice or vinegar, replace them with buttermilk. They will rise slightly higher, and taste great.