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Prevent your cupcake liners from becoming oily

Image of a bouquet of cupcakes

So I keep seeing this “trick”, where people suggest putting rice in the bottom of their cupcake tins, between the liner and the tin itself.  This will apparently soak up the oil, or does it???

Why are your cupcake liners wet?

Are they oily, or is it moisture (ie. water)?

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Is it OK for cupcake liners to be oily?

It’s the technique you’ve used, or the recipe that’s the issue.  Your cupcakes shouldn’t be oily at all.  If it’s moisture then you want your cupcakes moist, don’t draw the moisture out of your cupcake into rice that you’re going to chuck out.  Most cupcakes are at their best, on the same day they’re baked, so removing any moisture isn’t a great idea.

Cupcakes in a tray,ready to be cooked.
Cupcakes in a tray – ready to be cooked

Moist yes, oily no. The outside of your paper liners should have some signs of moistness, or your cupcakes will only be good to eat while they’re still warm from the oven, or very nearly straight after. Does that make sense?

You need some fat, or your cupcakes will be dry and go stale very quickly. Although there are ways to keep the oil in the recipe and not have it leach out.

Its all in the method

The most common reason for oil to leach out of cupcakes is an issue with the method.  Interestingly, it’s often the Thermomix owners that have this issue because they’ve processed the mix incorrectly. It’s all about how we handle the butter. We can’t make cake in the Thermomix the same way we would in a stand mixer.

In fact, we’ve developed a course for making a cake in the Thermomix for this very reason.  Changing a method to cater for different equipment, is something that we go over at length in Bake Club as well.

So, if your cupcakes are oily then don’t blame yourself, it may be the method that’s not quite right. Don’t “over process” the butter so that it’s too soft and it leaches out on baking.

Cupcake that are perfectly baked with no oily paper.
Perfectly baked with no oily paper

..and it can be the weights and measures

Of course, another reason may be that your recipe simply has too much fat (this includes butter).  The recipe might be off, a lot of people don’t realise how measurements work.  I think there would be probably only two out of ten people that start Bake Club with me that understand the difference between our measurements in Australia and anywhere else in the world.  Here’s a free handy guide you can download.

For example, in America, they have different sized cups and tablespoon measures than us.  And I’d say only 5 out of 10 people know that a cup of oil weighs differently than a cup of flour.  I always use the analogy of how much does a cup of lead weigh, compared to a cup of feathers.  The same volume, but totally different weight. 

Learn the techniques

People wonder why specific recipes don’t work for them. I see so many recipe reviews where ten people say it’s brilliant then you get one that says it doesn’t work and complains.   Always makes me smile.  Yes, things can go wrong but if you learn the techniques and understand a bit about what is going on you won’t have many bad bakes.

Want to know more?

Want to learn how to make perfect butter cakes? We have two online courses, one for a stand mixer, and one for the Thermomix. Making perfect butter cakes unlocks a range of cake baking possibilities.

Perfect butter cakes

10 Comments

  1. I’ve had this issue with muffins and cupcakes. Just made some cupcakes this evening and had greasy buttons. It asked for melted butter. Should it have only been room temp?

    1. Hi Ashley,
      Cupcakes are usually made with room temp butter if you’re using a stand mixer. If the recipe calls for melted butter, it’s more of a muffin mix, and the texture will be a bit different to a cupcake. Not that this is wrong, it’s just different. I would suggest that recipe is made in muffin liners, as they’re a bit thicker. What sort of liners are you using? Are you in Australia?

    1. So you’re saying for you it’s the outside of the tin, not where the muffin sits inside? I’m not sure why that would be. Could it be moisture, from steam?

        1. Okay, I apologize for the misunderstanding. That’s the topic of my post. The oil shouldn’t have been there initially. Either your recipe’s ingredients are out of balance or your butter was too soft when you creamed the batter. One thing I have noticed is that some brands of butter have added water in them, check the ingredient list on your butter pack, this also is an issue. The added water makes the butter really easy to spread if you were to use it on sandwiches, but it’s no good for creaming as it creams way to fast and ends up melting out of your cake. I hope that helps you.

          1. The solution is in the post. Your cupcakes shouldn’t be oily. It is either the ratio of ingredients, you’ve over-creamed your butter and sugar at the start, or possibly your liners are too thin and of cheaper quality. Also, check the ingredient list on your butter. If it mentions it has water added, swap it for a brand that doesn’t add water to soften.

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