Making cupcakes without a cupcake pan may seem impossible. After all, isn’t a cupcake pan an important part of a cupcake? It seems like it would be a requirement but it actually is not!
You can easily make cupcakes without a cupcake pan and, you actually have options of how to do it! So don’t go running to the store to buy a pan just yet. Instead, try one of the following ways to make cupcakes without a cupcake pan.
1 – Sheet Cake and a Circle Cutter
When you think about what a cupcake actually is, you will discover that it is simply a small round cake in a paper wrapper that is topped with frosting.
So how can you replicate this without a cupcake pan? The first way is to use a sheet cake and a circle cookie cutter. Let me explain.
Begin by baking a cake in a sheet pan or in a cake pan. Any thick flat cake will do! Ideally, you should bake the cake to be about as thick as a normal cupcake which is about two to three inches high.
Now that you have your cake ready, you are halfway to perfect cupcakes!
Next, find a cookie cutter that has about the same diameter as a cupcake. A standard cupcake is three inches across so a three inch round cookie cutter is ideal.
Use the cookie cutter to cut circles out of your sheet cake and place the circles into cupcake wrappers. Starting to look like a cupcake, right?
Now, all that is left to do is add your favorite frosting on top and you are ready to go! Cupcake perfection with no cupcake tray needed.
2 – Fancy Silver Liners
Have you ever seen the shiny silver cupcake papers that are quite thick and look like they are made of metal?
Well, these are the best cupcake liners to use when you do not have a cupcake pan. All you have to do is line up the foil cupcake wrappers on a sheet tray, scoop your cupcake batter in and bake!
Thanks to the super thick, heavy paper that these are made of, the cupcake wrappers will hold their shape and support the baking cupcake batter without collapsing.
We knew that these silver foil cupcake papers had a purpose!
3 – Mason Jar Lids
If you do not have the silver foil cupcake papers and you do not have a cupcake pan, you can still make cupcakes using regular paper liners.
If you are thinking that a simple cupcake liner on a sheet tray will fall over as the batter bakes, spilling the cupcake everywhere, you are correct. A paper liner is not sturdy enough on its own to bake a beautiful cupcake. But we have a trick for you!
You know the silver screw top to a mason jar? Gather as many as you can, these are going to act as your cupcake pan! You do not need the flat metal top of the mason jar and you do not need the jar itself, just the metal rings.
Place the rings on a flat sheet pan and you are ready to go. Looks like a cupcake pan, right?!
Put a paper liner inside each metal ring and then scoop your batter in. The mason jar band will help support the cupcake paper and the cupcake batter will bake straight up as if it were in a real cupcake pan.
Such an awesome cupcake hack!
4 – Just Paper Liners
If all you have are paper cupcake liners and no other equipment in the realm of cupcake making, there is still hope! Instead of using just one paper for each cupcake, you will need to double up, triple up and even quadruple up…or more.
I have found that if you place five paper cupcake liners on a sheet tray, all stuck together, they will support the weight of the cupcake batter as it bakes.
So, place the paper cupcake liners on a sheet tray in sets of five. Scoop, bake and then remove the extra papers before frosting and icing.
Tada! You did it!
5 – Ramekins
If you are without a cupcake pan and also lacking cupcake liners, this is the option for you. Ramekins happen to make fantastic cupcake pans especially if you do not need the cupcake to be quite so portable.
This ramekin version of a cupcake will need to be eater with a fork which makes it a little more like a cake that a cupcakes in the way of convenience.
Nevertheless, these will look like cupcakes, smell like cupcakes and definitely taste just like cupcakes- all without a cupcake pan!
6 – Mugs
You may be surprised to find that many ceramic mugs are oven safe. Now that you are thinking about ceramic mugs, envision the size of a standard mug….about the same size as a cupcake, right?! I bet you can already guess where we are going with this one.
Place several oven safe ceramic mugs on a sheet tray and drop a cupcake paper into each one. Scoop your batter in, using your cupcake paper as a guide- the batter should only come half way up the sides of the paper liner, not half way up the sides of the mug (unless you want super tall cupcakes).
Bake the cupcakes and then let them cool inside the mug. Once cooled, flip the mug upside down and the cupcake should just slide right out, thanks to the paper liner!
If your cupcake is a little stuck, use a paring knife to go around the edges and help release it. Ice the cupcakes and enjoy!
So there you have it! Not only is it completely possible to make cupcakes without a cupcake pan but there are six ways to complete this challenge.
Why bother ever buying a cupcake pan?! You can make fantastic cupcakes without one so easily. Happy baking!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.