My recipe calls for following the instructions for boxed lemon cake mix and adding two tablespoons of poppy seeds. Box mixes usually omit information about mini-cupcakes, which are about 1/3 the volume of regular cupcakes (2 1/2 x 1 1/4). The mini-cupcake size is 1 3/4 x 1. This article includes also includes mini-cupcake baking times, yields, and paper liner vs. oil vs. oil/flour methods.
Regular cupcake vs. mini-cupcake
Cake mix boxes usually indicate the yield to be 24 cupcakes. I have encountered recipes that hedge and claim 24 to 30 cupcakes. I have seen recipes claim that a box cake mix should yield 60 mini-cupcakes. My yield was 77, using the recommendation of slightly rounded tablespoon of batter for each pan well. Suggested baking times for regular cupcakes had a range of 15 to 20 minutes for the low end, and 22 to 27 minutes for the high end. If baking mini-cupcakes, use the regular cupcake baking time, but reduce it by maybe 25%. My batches came out fine at 13 to 14 minutes. As for oven temperature, from gleaning various recipes, 350° seems to be common.
Note: For a serving size between regular cupcake and mini-cupcake, cut each cupcake in half. Hypothetical yields per box cake mix batch can be 24 (regular cupcakes), 48 (regular cupcakes cut in half), and 60 (mini-cupcakes).
Paper liner vs. spray-on oil vs. oil/flour spray
In past experiences of using paper liners, it seemed like the paper did not cleanly separate from baked cupcakes without maybe 10% of the cake sticking to the paper. I don't know if the detachment problems were because of the cupcakes being regular size, or because of the cake mix formulation being from pre-pudding eras.
I was pleased that the paper peeled away from the mini-cupcake neatly. The method that yielded the least satisfying results was using spray oil with flour in it. The dispensing was not as easy as with using spray oil. The oil and flour spray method left a thin layer of baked cake inside the wells, and more than with using spray oil.
My pixstrip shows four sections:
- Paper liners, oil spray, oil/flour spray
- Baked mini-cupcakes
- medium-large mixing bowl
- rubber spatula(s)
- measuring spoon
- measuring cup(s)
- mini-muffin pans (Use different size pans if desired, following baking time suggestions on the cake mix box.)
- cooling rack for done mini-cupcakes
- paper liners, spray oil, or spray oil/flour (Using paper liners yielded the best results for me.)
Note: Greasing the bottoms of the wells is another batter lining method.
- 1 box lemon cake mix (~18 oz.)
- eggs, number as listed on cake mix box
- oil, amount as listed on cake mix box
- water, amount as listed on cake mix box
- 2 T poppy seeds
General instructions for all cake pan sizes (Have the cake mix box handy!)
- Prepare the cake batter according to cake mix box instructions.
- Fold in the poppy seeds.
- Prepare baking pans by using paper liners, spray oil, or spray oil/flour.
- Pour batter into the baking pan(s) of your choice.
- Bake as recommended; however, if baking mini-muffins, reduce time by 25%. (Mine came out fine between 13 and 14 minutes.)
- Test cake for doneness. If done, remove pan(s) from the oven.
- Transfer cakes (or mini-muffins) onto cooling rack.
Calories and additional information
Total calories for the ingredients I used, the cake mix brand and flavor being the biggest variable, the calories totaled 2900, give or take a few. Dividing the number by my yield of 77 mini-cupcakes comes out to ~38 calories each. YMMV, depending on cake mix brand, egg sizes, and recipe that you use. Also, adding icing or frosting will increase the calories.
Note: The container of the poppy seeds that I bought recommended yellow cake mix and 1 tablespoon of lemon extract for another version of lemon poppyseed cake. I myself advocate minimal ingredients—lemon cake mix instead of yellow cake mix and lemon extract. If someone wants to try the alternate recipe, I would be interested in the contrast results.