Thursday, May 17, 2007

Review of "Wilton" Silicone Baking Cups

I love baking cupcakes, even more than baking them, I love decorating them. Even more than me decorating them, my kids love to eat them. They oooh and aaah over the cupcakes. They pick out the biggest and best looking one they can find. Then they smash it into their mouths and smear all that pretty icing. They love to eat cupcakes.

Because I make a lot of cupcakes, I need a lot of cupcake liners. I usually have a couple containers of the paper ones hanging around the kitchen. Recently, I ran across a sale at AC Moore (the local craft store chain in this area). The Wilton brand silicone baking cups were half off. Of course, I didn't hesitate to buy them. Reusable baking cups? I could save a fortune by not having to buy the paper ones anymore.

Wilton's online store has this to say about them:
"Discover the convenience and easy release of flexible silicone bakeware!
Exceptional baking performance for your favorite recipes
Freezer, refrigerator, oven, microwave and dishwasher safe
Resists stains and odors
Oven safe to 500°F
Easy and convenient storage
Limited lifetime warranty No muffin pan needed! Bake and serve in these reusable oven-safe cups."

Wow! And only $9.99 for a set of 12. $4.99 on sale. Well, a part of my brain still said, "yikes - that's a lot for muffin cups." But they were reusable and they were on sale. So I bought them.

I tried these out the first chance I got. I could put the cups in a muffin pan, or, I could just place the cups on a regular cookie sheet and fill them. I chose to put them in a muffin pan. I wasn't going to take any chances and wind up with batter all over the bottom of my oven. I did spray them a bit with some cooking spray because I read on another brand of silicone bakeware, "for best results, coat lightly with cooking spray".

The cupcakes baked beautifully! And the silicone cups can be coordinated to match your decorating scheme. However, although the kids (at this time, ages 3 and 7) liked trying something new, especially with a cupcake in it, they soon tired of it. They had a difficult time removing the cupcakes from the cup without making a mess. The silicone cups were not flexible enough. The paper liners are much easier for them to handle.

Would I recomend them? Yes...unless you're making cupcakes for the kids. For a cupcake alternative, I have a silicone muffin pan than I put cupcake liners in when making cupcakes - it works great with muffins!

So why buy the individual liners in the first place? Well, Wilton has several alternatives - all of which I need to find time to do.

One idea is to make gelatin in them. Lightly spray the mold with oil and pour your gelatin in it. When the gelatin has set, unmold, set on a plate and "ice" the gelatin cupcake with whipped cream. Add sprinkles and/or a cherry on top for a cool summer treat!

Another idea is to melt down some candy melts and generously brush the melted candy all over the bottom and up the sides of the mold. Once the candy hardens, gently unmold the candy shell and fill with whipped cream, fruit, chocolate mousse, or any number of things!

Book: Wallace and Gromit Cracking Celebration Cakes

Although I don't currently use fondant/sugarpaste for my cakes, I love to look through cake books by Debbie Brown. Her cakes provide some wonderful inspiration for my own creations (as seen with my Baby Dragon cake). I recently visited her website to see a list of her publications and came across a new book, Wallace and Gromit Cracking Celebration Cakes: Over 20 Cake Projects for Special Occasions (Hardcover).

As a huge Wallace & Gromit fan, and an amateur cake decorator, I had to get this book. It was just one of those "Gotta Have It" moments that wouldn't stop. My kids, who also love the Wallace & Gromit short films, couldn't believe they could actually have a Gromit cake! Unfortunately, this title was very difficult to find in the US, so I ordered it from England. (Update 4/02/2014: Now you can purchase it at Barnes & Noble)

It is a wonderful collection of Wallace & Gromit themed cakes! There are several for the beginner and others for the more experienced (such as the cake pictured on the cover). And there are plenty of detailed instructions and color photos to assist you through the decorating process. There are also simple fairy/cup cakes and mini cakes. You'll find cakes from all the Wallace & Gromit short films as well as from the recently released "Curse of the Wererabbit".

I have yet to make one of the "Cracking Good" cakes, but in the meantime, it is definately a fun cake book to look through. Watch out, though...if you are a Wallace and Gromit fan/cake decorator like me, this is one book that may cause you to have a "gotta have it" moment, too.

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