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I baked two batches of cupcakes at 180˚C but both collapsed in the middle. I guessed I must have used a little extra baking soda in the first batch so I used lesser amount of baking soda and baking powder in the second batch. The cakes rose nicely for first few minutes (I watched through the glass door of the oven without opening it) and then collapsed in the middle finally resulting in hard on the outside, sticky in the inside mess.

Recipe: Adapted from an eggless cake recipe.

  • Ingredients: 1 cup butter; 1 cup granulated sugar; 1 cup flour; ¼ cup milk; ½ teaspoon vanilla essence; 2 teaspoons cocoa; ¼ teaspoon baking powder; ½ teaspoon baking soda.
  • Process: I cream the butter and sugar together and then add milk and vanilla essence. I then mix dry ingredients and fold them lightly in the batter. Then bake them in cupcake moulds at 180˚C (356°F).
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    Are you following a recipe? – Catija Dec 18 '16 at 5:50
  • There are many variables at play here. Altitude, humidity, recipe, and more. We definitely need more information to give you a great answer. – Caleb Dec 18 '16 at 6:48
  • Please edit the question to add additional information. That way, it's easy for everyone to find (and it doesn't get lost in a potentially long comment chain). I'm going to go ahead and do that for you. – derobert Dec 19 '16 at 14:19
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I would say that the eggless recipe is at fault here. It is not a recipe which replaces the eggs somehow, it is a recipe which simply leaves out the eggs. The symptoms are very typical for that case: there is no binder in the recipe, so all the gas created by the baking powder (that first rise you observe) just goes into the atmosphere, leaving you with warm pudding (the sticky mess you observed).

So, if you want a classic cake texture, use a standard recipe with eggs. If you absolutely can have no eggs at all, try a recipe that uses a commercial egg replacer. In the worst case, use some of the homemade replacers, but the texture won't be as nice. As for just leaving out all eggs, there are cakes which do it, but you have to get accustomed to liking the end result.

As the solution here is to choose a different recipe, just use the temperature suggested by your new recipe.

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    Look at this: spiceupthecurry.com/chocolate-cupcakes-egg-less I think perhaps you are jumping to conclusions. – Jolenealaska Dec 19 '16 at 16:00
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    @Jolenealaska I tried this recipe. I must say it worked better than other eggless recipes I have tried in the past. Still, even at the low height recommended in the recipe, 1) they lost quite a bit of height as compared to when they were in the oven (even though they do have a nice cupcakey look, not a sunken middle), 2) there is a large difference between their hard outer crust and the crumb. The crumb is not sticky to the touch, but falls together on the tongue, turning into mush before I have the chance to bite into it. It is certainly better than my older tries, but it goes very much in... – rumtscho Dec 19 '16 at 20:44
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    ... the direction the OP describes. Also, I made two heights, one has 2 cm wall after cooling (these are the originally suggested 2/3 fulls), the other has 1 cm, and the 1 cm are somewhat better. If the OP has a pan with deeper indents (and I have seen these frequently) maybe the height alone is sufficient to make the cake impossible to bake through. Or the balance in their recipe is a touch off. And even though my results are acceptable, they still deflated a lot. – rumtscho Dec 19 '16 at 20:47
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The most common reason for cupcakes to sink is an oven temperature that is too high. 180C is equivalent to 356F. Most recipes in the US for cupcakes call for an oven temperature of 350F. 180 and 350 are just round numbers signifying a moderate oven. Cupcakes are picky though, a very slight difference in temperature can make a big difference in the final cupcake. So try dropping your temperature a bit, and be sure to use an oven thermometer.

Opening the door during baking can cause sinking, so don't do that! (I see that you didn't, so that's one possibility down)

Use fresh baking powder. Baking powder that has been opened for just a matter of a few months starts losing effectiveness. Baking soda on the other hand, lasts pretty much forever if stored properly.

Are you by any chance using Dutch processed cocoa? If so, try adding a small amount (a quarter teaspoon or so) of white vinegar. Baking soda needs acid to work properly, and Dutch processed cocoa has been made nonacidic. Since your recipe also includes baking powder, that is unlikely to be the problem unless your baking powder is stale.

Finally, follow the recipe carefully regarding beating. Overbeating the batter can cause sinking.

That's the best answer I can give based on your limited information. We can help you narrow it down further if you give us every little bit of information you can.

  • I am following a simple recipe adapted from an eggless cake recipe. Ingredients: 1 cup butter 1 cup granulated sugar 1 cup flour 1/4 cup milk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence 2 teaspoons cocoa 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda Process: I cream the butter and sugar together and then add milk and vanilla essence. I then mix dry ingredients and fold them lightly in the batter. Then bake them in cupcake moulds at 180˚C. – Parry Dec 18 '16 at 11:05
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    Is this a recipe you adapted, or is it as originally written? Are you using an oven thermometer? Is your baking powder fresh (open < 6 months and before the use-by date)? Instinctively, I look at those measurements for baking soda and powder and think that it doesn't seem like enough, especially in a recipe that doesn't include eggs. – Jolenealaska Dec 18 '16 at 11:28
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EDITED: Yes, the original old-fashioned pound cake was named that because it used 1 pound each of butter, flour and sugar. Yes, the ratio was 1:1 of flour and butter but it was done by weight, not by volume which is what is in the recipe the op gave. One pound of flour can vary between 3-4 cups, depending on the type of flour (cake vs high-gluten) and how humid it is. And of course a recipe for pound cake (or anything similar) uses eggs that are vigorously beaten to maintain a solid form when baked.

So I stick with what I say about proportion of flour to butter despite what @rumtscho wrote in his comment.


I don't guess that the recipe might be off, I know it is! If you check the recipe @Jolenealaska linked to, the proportion of flour to fat (oil in this case) is 3:1. In your recipe, it's 1:1 - 3 times as much fat. That's more like a brownie recipe but without anything like eggs to bind the mixture, plus yours has the addition of milk. Many brownies aren't that rich as well; neither are brownies expected to rise and have a cupcake like texture.

Best toss out that recipe or recheck the ingredients ratios.

  • That's not the problem. One of the most established recipes for cakes is the "pound cake", which used to work by taking exactly one pound of each ingredient (eggs, flour, butter, sugar). Nowadays we make it smaller, but it still keeps the 1:1:1:1 ratio, and it works perfectly. 3:1 is even quite far outside the ratio range which Corriher considers sufficient for a "good" cake. Your taste is probably different, so you are OK with your recipe, but the OP's recipe is much closer to the norm. – rumtscho Apr 8 '17 at 9:10
  • @rumtscho Please see the edit to my answer. I wonder if you might've slipped and got weight confused with volume as you seem a very experienced cook? – Jude Apr 8 '17 at 20:10
  • You are right - I read your answer without paying that much attention to the question and overlooked that you used a volume ratio, I'm not accustomed to those. That would be 2:1 in weight, so indeed unusual. Downvote removed, and even an upvote - I am not sure it is the reason, but certainly something to look into. – rumtscho Apr 9 '17 at 8:24

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