If you’ve been to a few kids’ birthday parties or more than a handful of bake sales in the past several years – or longer, as I remember first trying this in the 90s – you’ve probably seen cupcakes baked in ice cream cones. This is a really cute way to serve cupcakes, turning them into ice cream cone look-a-likes that are always a hit wherever they’re served. To make them, you usually try to prop up the ice cream cones into a traditional muffin tin and treat them as a kind of edible cupcake wrapper. This method can be pretty tricky – as anyone who has tried it can tell you – because it is very easy to tip those cones over and make a mess (or, at least, uneven cupcakes) before they’ve fully baked. Nifty’s Ice Cream Cone Cupcake Baking Rack is designed to streamline this process and make it a whole lot easier to bake cupcakes in ice cream cones. The oven-safe, non-stick rack holds up a dozen ice cream cones during baking, so you don’t have to worry about tipping them over as you adjust the pan or them falling thanks to having an uneven base. The rack isn’t going to get as much use as a standard muffin pan, of course, but these ice cream cupcakes get such a hugely positive reception at parties and get-togethers that having a rack like this will definitely have you baking them a lot more often!
Archive for: pans
Topsy turvy cakes are a very popular design theme, whether you’re designing a Mad Hatter-inspired birthday cake or want a wedding cake that stands out. These cakes are typically made by baking round cakes, then trimming and shaping them to get them to sit at the correct angles for the topsy turvy look. It’s a process that is best learned through trial and error – and even with a good tutorial, there are likely to be a few errors when you are first learning. Fat Daddio, a bakeware company, has introduced a cake pan set that takes all the work out of creating those topsy turvy cakes with their Mad Dadder Cake Pans. These pans allow you to bake layer after layer of topsy turvy cakes without worrying about angles or how the cakes will stack together. Each pan has the right angle to start with, and is supported by a metal brace that allows the cake pan to sit flat in the oven while baking. They come in both round and square designs, and in a variety of sizes (6”, 8”, 10” 12” and 14” sizes) for cakes of varying heights. They’re seamless and made of anodized aluminum.
These cake pans do stack together, but they also take up a fair amount of room and are unusual enough that they probably won’t replace your everyday cake pans. That said, they are absolutely brilliant to use if you are interested in making big party cakes, or make wedding cakes (for friends or professionally) and want to streamline the process.
Madeleines are one of those baked goods that require a specialty pan to get them right, because even though you can bake the batter in mini muffin tins, you just can’t capture the spirit of a madeleine (the cake that writers wax so poetic about) in any other form. Madeline pans can carry a wide range of price tags and can be made out of a wide range of materials. The price tag of expensive imported pans that promised the only good results kept me from biting the bullet and buying madeleine pans for a long time, but I had heard good things about the Chicago Metallic Nonstick Madeline Pan – and had had good results with their other bakeware – and bought some to give them a try.
The pans are lightweight and made of carbon steel, brushed with a nonstick coating. My madeleines baked very evenly and rose up well, developing that slight “dome” on the top that is a signature of many madeleines. The pan comes with a recipe that is easy to use and quite tasty (although they’re usually even better the day after baking) if you don’t have a favorite madeleine recipe already.
Working with the pans, I found that they allowed the tips of the madeleines to caramelize slightly and turn a lovely golden color, while still giving me a clean release. You get an even better look by brushing the cavities with a little bit of melted butter just before baking. The only downside to these pans is that they only bake a dozen madeleines at a time and most recipes bake more cakes. Fortunately (thanks to the nonstick coating), you can pop the madeleines out and the pans will cool down very quickly so that you can bake a second batch. Their price tag is also reasonable enough that if you are a big fan of madeleines you can justify adding a second one to your collection.
Getting all of your cookie sheets, muffin tins and cake pans organized is an issue that every baker faces, because in most kitchens there often isn’t enough built-in cabinet space to accommodate everything you have for baking. There are many options when it comes to storage, and after years of stacking up baking pans anywhere they’ll fit, you can definitely appreciate something that will keep your collection in place. And installing something like the Copco Adjustable Bakeware Organizer will go a long way when it comes to getting your baking equipment organized and staying that way. The organizer is an adjustable rack that allows you to easily store a variety of large or bulky pans easily. Although your pans might not be compact, this rack is. It has six adjustable dividers – heavy-duty plastic, so they won’t scratch nonstick bakeware - that hold your gear and they’re mounted on a solid rubber base that provides enough support to store baking stones and other heavy-duty equipment.
The organizer can stand upright and also comes with screws to secure it into position. If you prefer your pans to be horizontally-oriented and stacked, the organizer’s base can also be mounted onto the wall or the side of a cabinet.
If you have the space in your kitchen, pantry or even your home-office, it is nice to have two of these and keep one filled with your “everyday” baking equipment and one with the less-used cake pans and other items so that you can still keep them organized but reduce clutter by not storing everything all together, too.
The Just a Slice Cake Pan caught my eye because it’s so bright and colorful, but also because it has a pretty unusual design to it. It’s a silicone cake pan that bakes individual slices of cake, rather than one round that you slice after baking. This allows you to get perfect looking pieces every time and opens the door to allow you to bake a different flavored cake in each cavity if you want to.
The pan is really a cupcake pan that just has a non-standard shape to all of its cupcakes. Batter is poured into each of the nonstick cavities and baked for about the same amount of time as a cupcake would be, before being turned out and frosted individually. The thing that really makes this pan fun is that, unlike with regular cupcakes, you can push these slices together to form one larger cake (and it really will look like a whole cake) that you can slice without ever touching a knife.
This type of pan isn’t going to replace my standard pans, but I do think that there are applications here. For instance, it might be great fun to have this pan at a kids’ party and let each guest pick their own add-ins for their slice. Chocolate chips, rainbow sprinkles, coconut, crushed oreos and fresh berries are just a few examples of foods that might mix in very well. The pan bakes about half of a standard cake mix at a time, but cools down quickly enough that you can pour in the rest of the batter not long after baking the first batch.