Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waits N Measures, Baking Pans N Papers

I'm big on baking. I bake frequently enough to know what I'm doing, but still need to consult with recipes online and in books for quantities, capacities, and baking times and temperatures. I use cake mixes frequently for cooky recipes. I fiddle around with modifying basic cake mix recipes. Sometimes I change up ingredients. Sometimes I use different pans than the recipes call for.

I've included a table for using different baking pan cavities—square mini-cupcakes, mini-cupcakes, regulation-size cupcakes, and mini-loaves. For measuring capacity, I pulled out the pans and poured amounts of water into a well of each pan. The table has wait (bake) times and measures. Dimensions, capacities, and baking times are approximate. (I did mention in Lemon Poppyseed Mini-cupcakes recipe that mini-cupcake baking time is about 25% less than for regular cupcakes.)

Shape Dims (") Capacity Wells
1 1/2 x 1 1/2
x 5/8 dp
1 1/3 T
(4 tsp)
24 15-16
1 3/4 U dia
x 1 1/4 L dia
x 5/8 dp
Less than
2 T
12 13-17
whoopie 3 dia
x 1/2 dp
4T 12 15-16
standard cupcake 2 3/4 U dia
x 2 L dia
x 1 1/16 dp
5T 12 15 to 20,
22 to 27
mini-loaf 3 5/8 x 2 3/8
x 1 1/8 dp
8 T
(1/2 C)
3 teaspoons (t) per tablespoon (T), 16 T per cup (C),
77 fluid drops per teaspoon

Caution: Recipes say to fill the wells about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Remember to differentiate advised-fill from capacity. If you fill the wells to capacity, the batter will expand during baking and spill over, making a BIG mess!
Actually, I still need to test for wait time for mini-loaves. I bought that pan several years ago, but I have yet to try using it. Visit Cake Mix Doctor and Duncan Hines topic links.

I recently acquired a couple of whoopie pans. I used one of them and one of my silicone pans for experimenting with a muffin recipe that calls for cake mix. The cake mix powder itself was a modification—half Red Velvet (Duncan Hines) and half strawberry (coincidentally, but not significantly, Pillsbury). More on the recipe in an upcoming article.

If using a cake mix powder, the box usually seems to specify baking times for 2 round layers, regular cupcakes (24), and a 9 x 13 sheet. In my experience, the mini-cupcakes yield tends to be about 2 1/2 as many—60. My Lemon Lemon Poppyseed Mini-cupcakes recipe yielded 77 units. (I'm positive that adding 2 T poppyseeds didn't contribute to raising the yield past 60.) In trying out the square mini-cupcakes, the yield would have been 24. More on that Red Velvet and strawberry cupcake experiment in an upcoming article.

For those who bake, the table is handy for planning the number of small-size baked items (assuming using an 18 1/4 oz. box of cake mix), the amount of batter to pour in, and how long to bake them. I am disappointed to say that, out of the three national brands of cake mix, only Duncan Hines mix has 18 1/4 ounces of powder for the normal 2-layer or 9 x 13 sheet cakes. The other two brands contain 15 1/4 ounces.

In my Internet travels, cupcakes and muffins, particularly small ones, cause confusion because of their similarities. Cupcakes are small cakes. You beat the batter. The cupcakes tend to have frosting. Muffins are quick breads, and the batter is best stirred gently. Muffins tend to have crumbs or icing drizzle. "Cupcakes Vs. Muffins: An Epic Battle and Some Big Questions" is an extensive article about their differences.

Standard paper liners seem to be mini-cupcake or standard cupcake sizes. Want to be cost-effective? For starters, don't pay extra for fancy colors or designs. The list has some quantities and prices to consider. (If the price was $[something].99), I rounded it up.
  • Michael’s (undiscounted—40% coupon available online)
    • 100 sm/$2 (~2 cents each)
    • 350 sm/$4 (~1 cent each)
    • 75 standard/$2 (~3 cents each)
    • 18 short crown 2 ½ dia/$2 (~ 5.5 cents each) Yow!
  • Make It Sweet (in Austin)
    • 100 sm/$2 (~2 cents each)
    • 500 sm/$6 (~1.2 cents each)
    • 75 standard/$2 (~3 cents each)
    • 500 standard/$9 (~ 1.8 cents each)
Looking for an alternative to short crown papers? Get large muffin papers and trim to size. Watch Todd Wilbur obtain shorter paper liners (at about the 1:41 mark) for making his peanut butter cup clones. Sure, he uses standard cupcake liners, but you get the idea.

Another Todd Wilbur video shows how avoid buying a Twinkie-shape pans for his Twinkie clone recipe by wrapping aluminum foil pieces around a spice jar. Move your pointer to about the :56 mark.

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