Several months ago, I spotted a new pan that was being introduced for summer baking: a stuffed cornbread pan. This particular pan had a large spike in each of its muffin-sized square cavities onto which you could place anything that you wanted to stuff inside of your cornbread, from a piece of cheese to a jalapeno. The idea was good for cornbread because that is a type of baked good where you don’t really see too many mix-ins. Chicago Metallic has now expanded this idea into a Cupcake Surprise Pan. This nonstick cupcake pan has standard-sized cavities, each with a metal spike for holding mix-ins in place. The spike is also nonstick, and even sticky things should slide off easily when the pan is still warm from the oven.
As with the cornbread, this is an interesting idea because some fillings are quite heavy and usually sink to the bottom of cupcake batter during baking. You could skewer a caramel or a peanut butter cup and be sure it will still be at the center of your cake. You could also use a piece of fruit or a chocolate truffle (for a molten chocolate cupcake effect). Soft fillings, such as peanut butter and cream cheese can be chilled so they hold their shape before putting them in the pan. The pan does have its drawbacks, however, because the fluffy cream fillings that are usually associated with cupcakes still need to be piped into the cake after baking. That said, the pan does give you the freedom to be quite creative with whatever you put into your cupcakes – and you can always leave those spikes unskwered and bake a regular batch of muffins in the pan, too.