Checkerboard cake pan sets have been around for quite some time now. The sets typically include a plastic insert that allows you to add multiple colors of cake batter into one pan without the colors running together, so you end up with a geometric design instead of a marbled one. Wilton took this idea to a smaller format and came up with Two Tone Cupcake Inserts. The inserts are plastic rings that allow you to easily put one color or flavor of cupcake batter inside a ring of differently flavored batter. In short, you can get two cupcakes in one and end up with a dessert that looks very cool when you bite into it.
The instructions for using the inserts are brief: drop the insert into the muffin pan (with wrappers or without), fill the center ring with batter then fill the outer ring. The insert only makes three cupcakes at a time, so when you are done with one row, you simply lift it straight up and place it into the next slots on your muffin pan. I regularly make cupcakes that have some type of cream filling inside, so making one with another cake flavor inside was a treat!
The insert was easy to use and worked just as advertised. I was initially concerned when I lifted the insert out of the pan, since some of the cake batter stuck to it, but as long as I lifted it out smoothly the cupcakes turned out just fine time after time. The one thing that makes the insert difficult to use is that you really need to use a piping bag to get the batter into the slots. Unless you have an extremely fluid cupcake batter that you can easily pour, you will not be able to get the batter in neatly without a piping bag. Fortunately, a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off will also work and if you put your batter in a bag right away (instead of trying to force the batter in with a spoon), the process will go very quickly. The batters remained separated during baking and the finished cupcakes – my Vanilla and Lime Marble Cupcakes are pictured – looked great.
At first, I thought that it might be inconvenient to only be able to fill three cupcake cavities with batter at a time, but it turned out that I liked the small size of the insert enough (it was very easy to store), that I didn’t mind having to remove and replace it as I worked if it freed up storage space in my pantry. I did not clean the insert before putting it down for the next row, although if you want to use a lot of different colors, you may want to rinse it off quickly before doing so.
I could definitely see using these inserts around the holidays because they allow you to turn out some really fun cupcake designs, and holidays are always a great time to add splashes of color to your baking, and I’ll be using it again for a few projects in the future. Wilton sells the inserts on their own, but you can also buy a Two Tone Cupcake Baking Set that comes with a nice, nonstick muffin pan in addition to one insert, if you want to add one to your cupcake baking collection.