NordicWare’s Filled Cupcakes Pan is easily one of the most fun looking pans I’ve played with in quite some time. The pan has a very unusual concept because it lets you bake both the bottom and the top of a cupcake out of cake (where the top would usually be just frosting) and puts a small cavity in the middle for adding some filling. You end up with double-sized cupcakes that have a convenient place for the filling to go and, although I like ordinary cupcakes quite a bit, I was curious about how cakes made with the pan would work out – especially after I found a pan on sale to bring home.
Like most NordicWare pans I’ve used, the cakes came out of the nonstick cavities quite easily. As with most cakes that offer a significant amount of detail, I still prefer lightly greasing the pan and adding a little flour to ensure that the cake doesn’t stick in any corners. While the pan’s pattern came out clearly, the cake batter I used rose enough to give every one of my shapes a domed top – which was far from idea for cakes that I intented to stack together! After I leveled all of my mini cakes, I didn’t have quite as clean a look to the finished treats as I had hoped, but they were still pretty darn cute to look out (and tasty enough that it wouldn’t have mattered if they had been seriously off anyway).
The biggest difficulty in using this pan is frosting the cupcakes. It is easy to get the filling in, of course, but it you can’t really pipe on frosting as you would with a regular flat-topped cake. The best way to finish these off is with a glaze of some kind, so you can see the neat swirl of the cake and still add some extra sweetness (and something to throw sprinkles or other decorations on).
I’m not replacing my regular muffin pans with these, but it is fun to play with. I think it would be especially good with brownie batter, which doesn’t rise too much or need any frosting. You’d get a great finished look and could use the filling cavity for a scoop of ice cream during the summer.