Oh how I love cupcakes. I feel like I’m eating something miniature and therefor, convince myself that I can eat two or three. Please tell me I’m not alone 🙂 The only thing I don’t like about cupcakes is that they tend to dry out quickly…much quicker than cakes. It’s just the nature of a cupcake to do that. They’re small and they’re not totally encased in icing like cakes are. So, I’ve come up with a method that I want to share with you on how to keep cupcakes from drying out.
When I was taking cake orders, I also worked a full-time job. I would bake the cupcakes either the night before the event or sometimes the night before that. (And yes, my tips I’m about to share with you will keep them fresh for several days). I had to do things ahead of time because I was gone all day at work and I couldn’t pack in everything in the short amount I got to spend at home.
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To make matters more difficult, many times when I had a large cupcake order, I’d also have a large wedding cake to go with it. It was either that, or I’d have an order for at least 100 cupcakes. Well that would have just been impossible to bake them all in one night after work and then decorate them. Let me tell you I am no good without sleep and staying up all night just isn’t an option for me. I turn into a crying, shaky mess when I do that. I know my limits 😉
After some trial and error, I came up with a method that keeps my cupcakes from drying out.
First things first…most of the time, you don’t want to put your cupcakes in the fridge. People are ‘fridge-happy’ these days and want to immediately stick everything in there. I’ve found that putting cupcakes in the fridge will suck the moisture right out of them. Unless they’ve got perishable filling in them, or you’ve iced them with an egg white buttercream, they are fine to be kept in their cupcake boxes for a couple of days.
How to Keep Cupcakes from Drying Out:
- Bake your cupcakes and let them cool on a wire rack.
- Get yourself a shallow plastic storage bin with a lid, like this one, and wash it.
- Lay a sheet of wax paper down in the bottom and set your cupcakes on the paper. Sometimes I’ll lay a piece of wax paper over them as well, but that’s not vital. You can only get one layer of cupcakes in these bins, because stacking them would make a mess, so depending on the amount of cupcakes you’re baking, you might want to get several of these containers.
- Now, snap the lid on the storage bin.
What I do next might be a little overkill, but I am nothing if not thorough 😉
- Take some press-n-seal wrap (you know by now I am addicted to this stuff and if you want proof check out this post) and wrap around the edges where the lid meets the container. Even though I don’t have a problem with bugs, I just have this insane fear of ants or something finding their way in. Fill your other containers and then you can stack the containers if you need to. Just keep them on your table or counter. They are fine for a couple of days like this.
- Now, when you’re ready to decorate….Sometimes when I open the containers, the tops of the cupcakes are a little moist. I’ll actually take a dry paper towel and lay it over the cupcakes and sort of dab them just a bit. You don’t have to do this, but I take this precaution because I don’t want the icing to slip off if it gets warm during transport.
- Shortly before I’m going to either serve them or transport them, I’ll put them into cupcake or cake boxes. Make sure and add some cupcake inserts, like these, so the cupcakes won’t tip over when you move or transport them.
- After I’ve set them in the cupcake boxes, I’ll pipe on the icing. If you need a super delicious recipe for buttercream, you can find mine here. It’s my favorite and it’s perfectly fine to sit out of the fridge for a couple of days.
- If I’m going to transport them, I will put the cupcake boxes in the fridge for about 20 minutes or so before I leave. It’s usually hot here in Texas and that helps firm up the buttercream, so I don’t get any slide-offs during transport. Go to this post to see tips for transporting cakes in a car. These tips also work for cupcakes.
So that’s it! Now, you don’t have to stress out baking all your cupcakes at the last minute because you’re afraid of them drying out!
Here’s another tip: You can bake them a couple weeks ahead of time and freeze them. See my post with tips here. When you take them out of the freezer to defrost, just leave them in their wrappings on the counter for about an hour and let them defrost. Then take the wrappings off and set them in your shallow plastic containers and go from there.
It works for me every time! Let me know how it goes for you!
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