ASK ALLISON! #4: Cupcake Liners

birthday cupcakesHaving frosting issues? Searching for a new flavor of cupcake or a new way to decorate your favorite cupcake? Any and all cupcake questions are up for consideration here at CTTC's "Ask Allison", where our resident baker Allison Bojarski answers your questions.

If you've got a question for her, email it to her at Allison AT crossfitnyc DOT com with "Ask Allison" in the subject line.

And now on to this week's question:

Q: Hi Allison--

So where do you get really cute cupcake liners?


Paulette :)

baking time:  cupcake liners

A: While this may seem a simple question, in fact Paulette opens a Pandora's Box with a question such as this. Because when it comes to cupcakes these days, and the many occasions for which people serve them, there are so many different types of effects one can be going for.

Are we trying to impress 9-year-olds at a birthday party? Or guests at a wedding? Are the cupcakes themselves very flashy and only in need of a simple, understated, and elegant liner? Or are the cupcakes themselves simple and we'd like the flash of a shiny, colored-foil-style wrapper?

Do we want to go with the standard paper or foil liner that's crinkled, just the way we remember from childhood? Or do we want to break the mold, as it were, and go the way Cheryl Porro (a.k.a. Chockylit) goes with her cupcakes over at CupcakeBlog?

Do note that if you decide to use this style of liner, the liner can be a little tricky to unwrap the cupcake from. Chockylit explains all on the FAQ page of her blog.

Silicone cupcake liners have really taken off in the past few years, and they allow for different shapes and sizes. However, they're not disposable like paper or foil liners, and you may find that you prefer something that doesn't have to be collected from the guests, especially if you're out at a bar rather than at your own house.

mini silicone cupcake liners

When you're looking for an attractive but not super-special sort of cupcake liner, I'm a fan of Reynold's Wrap-brand foil cupcake liners. You can bake cupcakes in them with just a cookie sheet, which is great if you're ever over at a friend's house who doesn't own a cupcake tin (or if your recipe makes 15 cupcakes but you only have one 12-cupcake tin to bake in). You can find these in just about any supermarket, which means you can bake cupcakes on the spur of the moment.

Just line up the foil liners (remove the interspersed paper liners and save them for another time or throw them away if you prefer using foil rather than paper) on the cookie sheet with enough spacing in between each so that the heat from the oven can make its way around each cupcake to bake it evenly and thoroughly.

I also love decorative paper liners, whether they come in a solid color, stripes/plaid, or some sort of print, like these Bavarian rose cupcake liners you see here.

Bavarian Rose Cupcake Liners

The thing to remember with paper liners is the print/colors you see before filling and baking may not appear quite the same once you've made your cupcake. A dark-colored cake such as chocolate, carrot, or red velvet can "wash out" the colors and make them disappear. So either bake a light-colored cupcake such as vanilla or lemon or be prepared to be disappointed with these.

When you want a bright color that can't fade despite the fact that your cupcake batter has a dark shade to it, your best bet is a colored foil liner. I've had great success with red foil liners for Valentine's Day, when I made my spicy chocolate cupcakes decorated with a Red Hot candy on top.

chocolate spice

Sometimes you can also find baking cups that weren't originally intended specifically for baking cupcakes in, such as these Japanese Bento-Box-inspired cups:

Mini Cup liners

So if you have the time and the inclination to find more interesting, out-there cupcake liners, your best bet is to search online. While you can sometimes find good liners at quality cooking/baking stores, I find that often cupcake liners get short shrift in these stores, which surprises me. Perhaps cupcakes still aren't taken all that seriously, or the professionalization of cupcakes with all the cupcake bakeries that now exist makes these cookware stores think the home cook doesn't want a wide selection of cupcake liners that look grown-up and stylish.

Whatever the reason, your best bet is to search online. Here are a few worthwhile links I found:

A Google product search turns up a ton of liners.

Silicone cupcake liners at

Lacey cupcake liners, done with laser cutting.

Country Kitchen's Sweetart cupcake liners.

Confectionary House's cupcake-liner selection. has a great selection of paper liners and laser-cut liners.

These silicone baking cups are great for a kids' party. You can order them here.
silly critters silicone baking cups

And if you get completely obsessed with cupcake liners, you might decide to act like this woman and make a dress out of cupcake liners! Don't say I didn't warn you...

See the previous Ask Allison columns:

Ask Allison #3: Filled Cupcakes

Ask Allison #2: Using strawberries in cupcakes

Ask Allison #1: Frosting with fondant


Fermi said…
This is an excellent post (and blog) and something I am interested in as I have a bit of a cake-making obsession which centers on cupcakes 90% of the time.

When I used the foil liners without a cupcake pan, I found that my cupcake batter was more flat on top after cooking, but when I used the foil liners in a cupcake pan, I found that the cupcake batter rose up and was like a rounded mountain as I was used to seeing. I bet this has to do with the heat transfer efficiency in the foil liners alone as opposed to the cupcake tins. Tins are better at heat transfer so your cake will rise and be a mountain... but the foil liners alone don't give the same effect.
Jamieanne said…
I love cute cupcake liners but am always disappointed at the high cost of shipping for an item that is so small and lightweight! I always end up with the plain white liners from the grocery store. :)
Fermi, thanks for your comment. Yes, I've noticed the same thing. Generally when using the foil liners, I use a cupcake tin if at all possible, but sometimes I don't have access to one and it's nice to know that the cupcakes can be made without one.

They may not be as pretty but they still taste good!
Anonymous said…
The cheapest white cupcake liners are from Smart & Final. I forget the price, but it was cheaper than the ones at the supermarket.

The ones that people always ask are the dark chocolate brown ones. Those are hard to come by since they're mostly custom ordered.
WOW! you guys haven't posted since friday! Where are you, if i may ask/
Jess said…
Does anyone know the difference between waxed and unwaxed cupcake liners? Does waxed keep the cake fresher longer, affect the taste, or have any effect at all?!
Anonymous said…
I found the best place to purchase cupcake liners, - they add new products all the time. My son is a zebra freak and recently I purchased them on their site. They have beautiful, spring and tulip cups for any occasion. They also added solid brown and black. I have used their Tokyo cups which come in pastel blue and pink for a baby shower and they were a big hit. I promise you will love their site!
Jackie Melendez said…
Hi...I have found great chocolate brown liners from I actually came across the site from this page. They are great and the large selection of liners are wonderful.
jane white said…
I am opening up my own bakery soon and will be featuring cupcakes and muffins. I m looking to find someone that does personalized cupcake liners. I want to put my bakery name on the liners. Can you help me out with this?