There’s more to sticky cupcakes than you think, even if they are a nuisance at first glance. There is a reason some cupcakes end up sticky and some don’t. If you want, you can fix it, because it’s in your control.
Let’s find out why cupcakes get sticky on top, and what can be done about it.
The air is exposed to the sugar present in the top part of your cupcakes and as they cool down the sugar attracts the air. The sugar content causes this to happen to cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and sweetbreads. It’s more likely to happen if you have high humidity in your kitchen, but there’s a way to get it under control.
Sugar attracts moist air due to its structure. Sugar attracts water because it can be dissolved in water. If you use sugar in your cupcakes, the tops will get sticky. Since few other sweeteners are as efficient in baking, it is hard to get around with more sugar. You could try using less or no sugar, but that would make them dry.
You have an even higher chance of sticky tops if you’re using brown sugar. Brown sugar attracts more moisture than white sugar. This is the reason cookies baked with brown sugar are softer and chewier than cookies baked with white sugar.
The molasses in brown sugar is also a factor.
If you are using a gas oven, you are likely to get a sticky top cupcake. As the gas burns, it causes the kitchen to become moist.
The ovens are more drying on the inside than on the exterior, which means that cupcakes, cakes, muffins, and even roasts will become dried.
There are ways around the sticky cupcakes that upset you. If you use sugar, there is no way to prevent them from happening, but you can make them less sticky or cover them.
This doesn’t seem like a big problem unless the cupcakes are very sticky and flaky.
You can try decorating the cupcakes with powdered sugar or icing sugar. You can use powdered sugar and cocoa powder to make your own patterns, and this will turn the sticky tops dust.
If you’re going for a wintery, snowy look, these will come out great.
You can use your regular frosting for the cupcakes. Even if the tops are not sticky, it could not stick if it’s a thick, dense frosting. Try to get a softer frosting. If you’re making ganache, make sure you add more cream to make it runnier.
It’s possible to give your cupcakes a nice finish with a glaze. We do not recommend using the classic water and icing sugar glaze.
You can make a glaze out of egg whites and icing sugar. This way the cupcake will have that nice crisp texture that will contrast with the soft interior of the cupcake.
You can add some colored sprinkles on top of the dark chocolate glaze, or alternatively, you can glaze them with dark chocolate like the Hostess ones.
If you don’t like any of the ideas, you can simply cut off the top of the cupcakes. This way you won’t have any sticky tops and they will be nice and flat. If your cupcakes are domed, or if you want to put the frosting high, this may be useful.
Simply take a fork and ruffle the tops if you can’t spare the extra height. You expose more crumbs and non- sticky areas to the surface by this method.
We don’t think that sticky cupcakes are that bad. If you frost them, they won’t be noticeable, nor will they be a problem for the decorating process.
If your cupcakes are sticky on top, don’t worry. They’re still very good.
Sticky tops aren’t always a sign of failure. It depends on how much time has passed since you’ve made the cake. The longer the time passes, the harder the cake becomes. So, if you bake something today, chances are that it’ll taste better tomorrow.
So, what should you do when you find yourself with a sticky cupcake? Don’t panic! There are many solutions available. Just follow our tips above and you’ll see that everything works fine. Hope we helped!