Why Are My Cupcakes Crumbly And Dry?

Are your cupcakes dry? Whenever you start baking cupcakes, you’ll dream of creating the perfect batch.

No one wants their baked cupcakes to fall flat in the oven, and producing anything less than perfect can be disheartening – especially if you’ve spent hours in the kitchen.

If you’re struggling to create the fluffy cupcakes you’ve been dreaming of, you’re not alone.

A crumbly cake is all too common, but thankfully, there are a few ways you can avoid serving up a batch of sub-par cupcakes.

Stick with us to avoid those crumbly cupcakes, and create delightfully moist cakes with every bake.

Why Are My Cupcakes Crumbly And Dry?

Your first question is probably why? Was it too much sugar? The wrong oven temperature? Too much flour?

The wrong cupcake liners, or even too much leavening agent? Cake recipes are simple enough to follow, but even the most experienced baker can make mistakes.

Cupcake recipes often require a little tweaking during baking to get them right, but this doesn’t mean you can’t create perfect cupcakes.

This is a common issue when baking cupcakes, and it’s usually due to too much moisture.

If you’ve added too much milk or butter, or even too much flour and other dry ingredients, you may have messed with your cupcakes.

You can also end up with dry cupcakes if the oven temperature is too high, so invest in an oven thermometer if you can!

You’ll need your gluten to hold everything together, and if they’re falling apart, something has gone wrong in the baking process.

Dry Gluten-Free Cupcakes

If you’re baking gluten-free cupcakes, there’s always a higher chance you’ll end up with a dry cupcake.

Gluten-free flour doesn’t always work as well as all-purpose flour or self-rising flour, which can mess with your cupcake recipe and prevent you from baking perfect cupcakes.

If you want to fix dry cupcakes, the right cake flour is essential.

If you need to use gluten-free flour, you’ll often have to substitute ingredients the recipe calls for by adding an extra egg or another binding agent that will help your cakes bond and fix dry cupcakes.

This will give you extra moisture, help your cupcakes rise, and help you create the perfect cupcakes. Gluten free flour can exacerbate the dryness of other dry ingredients, so enough moisture is essential.

How To Fix Your Dry Cupcakes

Thankfully, making the perfect cupcakes isn’t difficult.

Even if yours have turned out dry and crumbly, there are a few things you can do to avoid dense cupcakes, and fix cupcakes that have come out dry.

Add Moisture With Milk Or Oil

If you suspect a lack of moisture is responsible for your dry or flat cupcakes, you’ll need to add more. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using syrup.

Mix equal parts of sugar and water together, and let them simmer for around three minutes. Once the sugar has dissolved, poke your cupcakes with a fork and drizzle the syrup all over.

Why Are My Cupcakes Crumbly and Dry (1)

This will ensure the syrup travels all the way through your cupcakes. If your sticky cupcake tops have turned dry after 15 minutes, simply add more oil!

Another way to increase moisture is to add milk. By adding more milk to your cupcake batter, you’ll essentially be recreating a tres leches cake!

You can use any milk you like, and it doesn’t have to be hot or cold.

Use whatever temperature you prefer.

If it’s too late to add more milk to your cupcake batter and mix it with a stand mixer, poke your cupcakes with a fork and pour a teaspoon of milk on the top.

Check them after a few minutes, and add more if required. Note: if you use milk, your cupcakes will need to be eaten within 48 hours. Store cupcakes in an airtight container to prevent spoiling.

Use Cream

If your cupcakes sink in the oven, whipped cream probably isn’t going to save them.

However, if they’ve come out crumbly or dry and you don’t have time to re-bake, you can simply top them with whipped cream and any extras you desire, like chocolate chips.

Not only will this make your cupcakes taste better, but it will also give them an extra boost of moisture, and help them bond together. If you prefer, you can even use cream cheese frosting!

How To Bake Moist Cupcakes

If you want to create the perfect baked goods and avoid a rescue mission mid-bake, you’ll need to get it right at the beginning.

Getting your wet and dry ingredients at the right ratio is imperative.

When you begin baking, you’ll want to aim for the sweet spot, so ensure you’re using the right amount of ingredients like baking soda and baking powder.

However, it’s always better to have too much liquid than not enough.

If you’ve added too many liquid ingredients, you can reduce the moisture by turning up the oven temperature. If you add too little, cupcake troubleshooting will be much harder.

Add Enough Eggs

Eggs add flavor, moisture, and depth. Adding some extra egg whites to your recipe may help you create the perfect cupcake.

Fruit Juice

A simple fruit juice like lemon juice can put you well on your way to making the perfect cupcakes. You don’t have to let your cupcakes cool before you add lemon juice.

Poke holes in the top of the cupcakes and drizzle over your juice, just as you would with milk or oil. Add more if required.

Bake At The Right Temperature

Before you put your cupcake tins or cupcake pans in the oven, you’ll need to choose the right temperature.

To create the perfect cupcakes, preheat your oven to around 180 degrees, and use an oven thermometer to check the temperature.

Flat cupcakes or dry cupcakes are common, but you also don’t want any overflow. Check on your cupcakes 15 minutes after – insert a toothpick, and remove your cupcakes if it comes out dry.

If not, leave them in for longer. The right temperature and bake time are essential.

Remember to let your cupcakes sit at room temperature for around 20 minutes before decorating them, to avoid any decorating issues.

Final Thoughts

If your baked goods come out flat, it can be a disaster.

Thankfully, cupcake troubleshooting doesn’t have to be tricky!

Cupcake recipes are simple to follow, and although they may require a little tweaking, avoiding dry or crumbly cupcakes is easy.

To avoid dry cupcakes, make sure you have enough moisture, and add a cold simple syrup, more eggs, or milk if necessary.

If you need to fix them after baking, add some very well whipped cream or fruit juice for sticky cupcakes.

Remember to beat cake batter enough, don’t fill cupcake liners too much, and check on your cupcake pan when baking to create the perfect cupcakes. Happy baking!

Picture of Kathryn Sewell

Kathryn Sewell

Hi! I'm Kate and I have been baking and cooking for as long as I can remember. I like to share the most interesting tips and recipes I try here on What Kate Baked for you to enjoy. If you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share send it over on social.

About the Author