Experts and BHG readers answer.
Why do my cupcakes and cakes fall after they've cooled?
If this happens with cakes made from scratch, make sure you are using baking powder that is not out of date. If this happens with cake mix cakes and cupcakes, I suspect either your oven is off or that you are at some sort of elevation. Check your manufacturer’s directions to see how to adjust your oven or consult an appliance manufacturer. I’ve included high altitude information below as well. Remember, lower air pressure (as at high altitudes) may cause baked goods that use yeast, baking powder, baking soda, egg whites, or steam to rise excessively, then fall.
Suggestions for Baking
- For cakes leavened by air, such as angel food, beat the egg whites only to soft peaks; otherwise the batter may expand too much.
- For cakes made with shortening, you may want to decrease the baking powder (start by decreasing it by 1/8 teaspoon per teaspoon called for); decrease the sugar (start by decreasing by about 1 tablespoon for each cup called for); and increase the liquid (start by increasing it 1 to 2 tablespoons for each cup called for). These estimates are based on an altitude of 3,000 feet above sea level-at higher altitudes, you may need to alter these measures proportionately. You can also try increasing the baking temperature by 15°F to 25°F to help set the batter.
- When making a rich cake, reduce the shortening by 1 to 2 tablespoons per cup and add one egg (for a 2-layer cake) to prevent cake from falling.