In our opinion, there is nothing nicer than a beautifully decorated cupcake!
These delicious cakey indulgences, with their light fluffy center and colorful toppings, make a delicious snack, lunchbox treat, or even a luxurious dessert.
But is it possible to make cupcakes without a cupcake pan? You can use liners that hold their shape well without a cupcake pan, such as the silicone or foil versions. You can also use paper liners if you have an alternative way to hold their shapes, such as ramekins or mason jar lids.
So, if you’re hunting for a missing cupcake pan, or staying somewhere without any baking equipment, don’t panic—we’ve got all the best cupcake baking hacks for you!
Let’s take a look at the best ways to make cupcakes without a cupcake pan.
What Are Cupcakes And How Are They Made?
Cupcakes are delicious little sponge cakes made in individual portions, topped with icing and other decorations.
There are two ideas as to how cupcakes got their name. When they were first described in American cookbooks early in the 19th century, each individual cake was made in a teacup!
So the name cupcake could be a reference to the fact that they were made in cups.
However, the basic recipe for cupcakes was designed so that the ingredients could be measured by volume, removing the need for weighing scales.
This recipe consisted of 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour, and 4 eggs—so maybe the name came from this method of measurement!
However cupcakes got their name, we know that they are now one of the most popular baked items around the world!
In recent years the popularity of cupcakes has exploded, with cake makers coming up with more elaborate recipes and topping ideas.
One of the great advantages of cupcakes is that they are very practical and easy to make. They bake faster than a large cake and are easier to transport and share between friends.
When making cupcakes you can also let loose your creative side and really go to town with the frosting and toppings!
To make a cupcake, the ingredients are mixed together to form a thick batter. This is poured into a mold to create individual cakes—this could be a muffin tin or cupcake pan, and cupcake liners can be used to help them keep their shape.
The batter is baked in the oven until cooked through, forming a light and fluffy sponge cake with a firm base and top.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Cupcake Pan?
The best way to make cupcakes is in a muffin tin or cupcake pan. This not only helps the cupcakes to hold their shape but also conducts heat efficiently around the individual cakes.
The metal sides of each indentation allow heat to quickly penetrate the sides as well as the base of the cake.
This heat distribution allows the cake to not only cook faster but also more evenly. The result is a light and fluffy sponge with the perfect consistency and texture.
Cupcake liners are often used in conjunction with a cupcake pan. They help to regulate the shape of the cupcakes, ensuring they all turn out the same. They also make the cupcakes easier to handle after baking.
The 7 Best Methods For Making Cupcakes Without A Cupcake Pan
Is your old cupcake pan past its best? Or maybe it has mysteriously disappeared? Whatever the reason you don’t have a cupcake pan, don’t panic! There are some really simple ways to make cupcakes without a cupcake pan!
Here are our top 5 ways to make cupcakes if you don’t have a cupcake pan:
1. Foil Liners
Metallic cupcake liners are perfect for making cupcakes without a cupcake pan. They are more rigid than paper liners and will hold their shape even when filled with batter.
So, all you need to do is line up the foil cake molds on a baking sheet, and fill them with your cupcake mix. Your cupcakes will be evenly shaped and cooked to perfection, thanks to the heat conductivity of the metal liners.
These cupcake liners are normally designed to be single-use but can get quite pricey if you bake a lot of cupcakes.
To convert them into reusable molds, pop a paper liner inside each one. After baking, the paper liner holding the cupcake will lift out easily, leaving your foil liner ready to be used over and over again.
Ramekins are a really cute way to bake cupcakes, especially if you want to make a decadent dinner party dessert!
The cupcake batter can be poured directly into ramekins, or a paper liner can be placed inside the ramekin first.
It can be tricky to remove a cupcake from a ramekin without it crumbling, so the paper liner is a better option if you are looking for perfection.
Alternatively, why not leave your cupcakes inside the ramekins? You can still top them with frosting and decorations, and your dinner guests can enjoy eating them straight from the dish with a fork!
3. Paper Cupcake Liners
Now, an individual paper cupcake liner is simply not strong enough to hold your batter without the aid of a cupcake pan.
The sides would collapse, and the batter would run everywhere, creating an almighty mess! However, if all you have is paper liners, there is a trick you can use here.
Stacking several cupcake liners together gives them extra strength and stability, helping them to hold batter securely.
So, stack at least 3 paper cupcake liners on a baking tray and carefully pour in some batter.
And if 3 is not enough to hold it? Then go for 4 or 5 liners instead!
To help prevent your paper cupcake liners from collapsing, use a smaller baking tray and keep them close together to support each other.
Remember how the first cupcake recipes described a batter baked inside a teacup? Well, you might not have realized, but many ceramic mugs are actually oven-safe!
As with ramekins, you can either use mugs with or without a paper liner to bake cupcakes. Paper liners will help you to lift out the cupcake once it is baked, but if you don’t have any then grease the inside of the mug thoroughly with oil instead.
If your cupcake does not come out easily once cool, try using a knife around the edges to release it. Be careful though, or you might end up with a pile of cake crumbs!
5. Mason Jar Lids
You know those handy metal rings that hold the lids of mason jars in place? These can be used to support your cupcakes when using a paper liner!
Simply place the rings on a baking sheet and pop a paper cupcake liner inside each one. Gently pour in your batter and bake as normal.
Once your cakes are cooked to perfection, leave them to cool then lift each one from inside its metal ring. You can then pop the lids back on your mason jars, and enjoy decorating your delicious cupcakes!
This clever hack is great if you want to knock up a batch of cupcakes in a hurry, but don’t have any cupcake liners or a cupcake pan.
Make your cupcake batter as normal, and grease a flat cake pan. Pour the batter into the pan to the same depth as you would in a cupcake liner. Pop the traybake into the oven and bake as normal.
Take a cookie cutter that is around the same diameter as a cupcake. Press this into the cooked traybake and cut out circles of cake.
Carefully lift out each circle and you’ll find that you’ve got something that looks very much like a cupcake!
Then all you need to do is decorate them, and you’ve got a delicious batch of cupcakes ready to share with your friends.
7. Silicone Cupcake Cases
If you have a stash of silicone cupcake cases, these can be ideal for making cupcakes without a cupcake pan. The silicone sides are more rigid than paper liners and can hold batter without collapsing.
Now, not all silicone cupcake cases can be used without a cupcake pan. It depends on the quality and thickness of the silicone. So, if you are buying a new set of silicone cupcake cases, pick the best quality ones you can afford!
The great thing about silicone cupcake cases is that they are completely reusable, and will last for a lifetime. They are definitely a worthwhile investment if you enjoy making cupcakes and muffins at home.
Now that we’ve gone over the best methods for making cupcakes without a cupcake pan, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
How do you make cupcakes without cupcake liners?
If you have a cupcake or muffin pan but no liners, does this mean that your baking plans need to be scrapped?
Absolutely not! If you have a cupcake or muffin pan, you can easily make perfect cupcakes, but you just need a little more preparation.
Instead of dropping a liner into the tin, you need to grease the tin thoroughly to ensure your cupcakes do not stick.
The quickest way to do this is using an oil spray. Alternatively, you can drizzle oil into each cupcake cup, and use a pastry brush or piece of kitchen towel to spread it around.
During baking your cupcake mix will absorb this extra oil, and your baked treats should pop easily out of the tin once cool.
How do you make cupcake liners?
You know when you go to a café and your cupcake or muffin is served in an intricate origami-style wrapping, rather than a cupcake liner?
Well, these are incredibly easy to make at home, and make your cupcakes look even prettier!
Take a roll of parchment paper and cut it into squares about 5 or 6 inches big. Using a mold about the same size as the cups in your muffin tin, press the paper around the mold and squeeze it into shape.
A small glass jar works really well for this!
Then all you need to do is remove the paper from the mold and pop it into the cupcake tin. Voilà! You have a handmade and very decorative cupcake liner!