Tiffy Bakes

Mini Cupcake Oven Experiment
January 5, 2010, 1:00 PM
Filed under: Baking Equipment, Experiments

Okay, so this is not frosting, per se… This post is about cupcakes. And bakeware. Yes. Again. I just needed you to know that it appears to me that you don’t actually need to bother with adjusting oven temperatures just because you’re using a fairly dark, nonstick pan. 350 or 325 degrees? Um, just stick with 350 and increase baking time by 2 minute increments as needed. Fancy $239403290 aluminum baking pans? Who needs ’em!

In the dorkiest way possible, I attempted to answer the question “Do you really need to adjust baking instructions for the color of the pan?” And my conclusions were such:

No, you do not need to adjust for cupcakes, especially since you’ll be increasing baking time based on the feel anyhow. If it says 350 degrees by default, stay with 350 degrees; also be careful with portion sizes. 350 degrees plus a dark pan DOES get hot, so if you go overboard with batter, it will get singed on the sides. That’s the good thing about lighter-colored aluminum pans, I suppose… They’re a bit more forgiving with burns.

I love what Joy the Baker says here, though — makes me feel fifty times better about my non-fancy mini muffin pan…:

Here’s a fun secret. When shopping for these essentials stay away from Crate and Barrel and other fancy shops. Find a good (often dusty) restaurant supple [sic] store in your area and shop for the basics there. Cheap cheap cheap and quality that can stand up to commercial kitchen use. It’s where all of my metal bowl, sifter, sheet pans, loaf pans and measuring cups come from.

Anyway. Other things I noted include:

  • Batter rises and poofs (never mind the improper baking terminology) at 350, but not 325.
  • Be sure to fill roughly 2/3 full. (Two-spoon system works relatively consistently.) Any more than that and you start to get lightly burnt edges.
  • Mini cupcake liners don’t perfectly fit my baking pan, so at 350, if the batter is uneven and expands and pushes the paper liners toward the walls, the shape at the base of the cupcake gets kind of wonky. You could possibly remedy this simply by shaking pan to level batter… kind of.
  • Try using nut & party cups instead? (!)

Top one was cooked at 325, bottom was done at 350. (By the way, please do forgive the pseudo-macro focus. I remember when I used to be awesome at photo. Granted, it wasn’t digital, and it was more fine arts and not so much about showing, but even so… I guess that’s what happen when you have no patience for a bulked up digital SLR, and the only other thing you have at hand is a camera on your telephone.)

So, yeah yeah, I mean, like I’ve been saying… Frosting experiment up next! For real this time! Promise.


Minor Meltdown Over Some Mini Muffin Pans
January 2, 2010, 8:04 PM
Filed under: Baking Equipment

I worry a lot. I’m a worrier. I fuss over a lot of little things, little inconsistencies that no one else is especially concerned with. I’m slightly neurotic. This particular attribute was made extra evident this afternoon, as I spent roughly three hours debating over which mini muffin pan (the 24 cup commercial Oneida pan from Walmart, or the 24 cup “mini muffin pan” — officially named thusly — from Crate & Barrel?) was superior.

I weighed the pros and cons of cup sizes and cup shapes. I compared customer reviews, cost discrepancies, the color and texture of each pan (because these things matter, you know?). I visited my favorite bakers’ blogs to see what they have to say about baking pans. (None of them care about these finer points, incidentally.) I even looked at images of mini muffins and mini cupcakes on TasteSpotting and clicked through 60 pages of thumbnails on Flickr to figure out which shape I preferred. Yes, I am ridiculous, a total psycho. Tie me up and have me institutionalized.

Long story short (though not really, since I have so graciously — make that gratuitously — shared with you a good deal of the story already), I’ve decided to keep both pans. A single box of cake mix makes 48 mini cupcakes anyway.

So that my afternoon’s efforts are not put completely to waste, please view some of these lovely images I found and favorited on Flickr:

Sigh. These put my cell phone pictures to shame.

Next up: A few notes — or pictures, rather — on my renovated cake truffles. Plus, I’ve got some frosting experiments slated for next week/the week after. Will be making good use of the aforementioned mini muffin pans. Hope you had a happy Christmas!