Cupcakes and cakes from scratch may rise while baking, then fall again once cooled. This is often caused by small mistakes during baking. But no worries! Falling cakes are easily preventable. Here's how.

By Zoe Zuidema

If this happens with cakes made from scratch, check to make sure you are using baking powder that is fresh and current -- not out of date. If this happens with cake mix cakes, it may be an abnormal oven temperature that is to blame. Check the manufacturer's directions to see how to adjust your oven or consult an appliance manufacturer. High altitude may affect baking 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.

Follow our tips for How to Frost & Decorate Cupcakes, too!

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, 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 degrees F to 25 degrees 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.

Once you've mastered all of that, try more cupcake recipes and cake recipes!

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