We’ve all dreamed of making blueberry muffins that would earn a handshake from The Great British Baking Show’s Paul Hollywood. For those of us who are seasoned bakers, achieving that perfect crumb and delicious flavor is a breeze. But how do we stop berries from sinking to the bottom? That’s a different story
Unfortunately, sinking fruit is a problem in all baked goods. Clusters of berries at the bottom of muffins and cakes leads to soggy bottoms and dry tops. This uneven fruit distribution makes for some strange and far less appealing sweets and pastries.
There are several tricks out there to keep your berries at the top of the batter as it bakes. However, a lot of these tricks aren’t great. Some bakers, for instance, suggest making a very thick dough to better suspend your berries. This isn’t ideal, because changing the dough recipe can significantly change the texture and flavor. Chopping the fruit isn’t a great solution either, as fresh fruit will leak juice everywhere, altering the moisture content and color of your baked goods.
Some bakers swear that you should toss your berries in a light coating of flour. The extra flour supposedly absorbs some of the liquid and prevents the fruit from sinking. Bakers who tried this method found that it wasn’t the best solution. Richard Cornish reported for Good Food that dusting his berries in flour made little difference. Stella Parks explained in a post for Serious Eats that the flour did nothing, and her blueberries still sank to the bottom of the pan.
Does this mean that nothing will stop your fruit from sinking? Of course not! Cornish and Parks have one more solution for you to try: spooning a little plain batter into the bottom of each muffin cup. The plain batter should help create a barrier between the heavy berries and the bottom of the muffin pan.
Once you’ve added a little plain batter to the bottom of the muffin cups, fold all of your berries into the remaining batter. Then, spoon the berry-filled mixture into each muffin cup. Voila! Your muffins should be soggy bottom-free. This trick should work for cakes, too.
As a bonus tip, Parks strongly recommends that you use paper, foil, or silicone muffin liners whenever you bake with fresh fruit. The liners will prevent the berry juice from sticking to the pan and creating a mess that’s impossible to clean. If you’re baking a fruit-filled cake, try lining the pan with parchment paper. Coat either side of the paper with oil or butter, which makes it easy to remove your baked good from the pan when you’re done. Happy baking!