Make Flat-Top Cupcakes With One Easy Parchment Paper Hack

Cupcakes are meant to be pretty, but sometimes it can be tough to nail down the exact look you want. And more often than not, our cupcakes emerge from the oven with rounded tops, which can result in all your pretty designs sliding down the edges of each one. A simple way to avoid this? Make flat-top cupcakes. You'll get a nice, even surface for making your decorations as intricate as you'd like.

There are a few things you can do during the baking process to try to achieve a flat top. However, even if you fill your cupcake liners to just under two-thirds of the way full so they don't over-rise, bake at a lower-than-normal temperature, like 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and avoid over-mixing your batter, your cupcakes could still come out with domed tops. 

Technically, you could just slice the tops off to create a flat surface. But with 119 billion pounds of food being wasted in the U.S. every year, according to Feeding America, this should be your last resort. Instead, break out the parchment paper.

Freeze your cupcakes upside-down

To get flat-top cupcakes, all you need is parchment paper and a cookie sheet. The key here is to frost your cupcakes first — don't create your entire intricate design yet, but spread a layer of base frosting over the top of the cakes. Then, flip them upside down, press them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and throw the tray in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Once you pull them out, the cake and frosting should have smushed down into a flat, even layer, creating a perfect surface for creative decorations.

You can also flatten domed cupcakes by creating a thick layer of frosting on top and flattening it with an icing spatula. However, this does require some technique — once the top of the frosting is flat, you'll need to smooth out the sides at a slight inward angle. You can also try flipping your cupcake upside-down on a piece of wax paper and using the spatula to reign in any unruly frosting. But with the latter method, you risk the frosting sticking to the wax paper.

To keep it simple and straightforward, try throwing your cupcakes in the freezer.