Saturday, May 30, 2015

Confetti Cupcake Bites

My recipe makes half-size cupcakes, using nonpareils and jimmies in two half batches during one baking session. Contrast the results of the sprinkle types, and decide on your own single or duo sprinkle-type morsels. I've been dancing around using both kinds of sprinkles for cake mix cookies in a couple of previous recipe articles. This time, I'm talking about using cake mix for actual cake.

In case you're unfamiliar with differences between nonpareils and jimmies, "Sprinkles, Demystified: An Explanation of All Types" explains a main difference as shape—round for nonpareils and cylindrical for jimmies.
Round Sprinkles: These can more specifically be referred to as nonpareils. These are those teeny-tiny round balls that can come in a single color or in rainbow.

Cylinder Sprinkles: Sprinkles with a cylinder shape are made by mixing up a paste ...a little slower to “bleed” color than the nonpareil type of sprinkle. ....In some parts of the United States, particularly Pennsylvania and the Northeast, this type of sprinkle (the chocolate type in particular, it seems) are referred to as “Jimmies”.
Caution: Nonpareils "bleed" rather readily in moisture, even more so with cake batter than with cooky dough as in my "Rainbow Nonpareil Cake Mix Cookies" recipe. Thus, minimize time and effort when stirring nonpareils into batter.

My pixstrip shows the following image areas:
  1. Implements
  2. Ingredients
  3. Mixed cake mix batter
  4. Batter divided into two Pyrex bowls—with nonpareils in the left bowl and jimmies in the right bowl
  5. Each batter type in separate cupcake pans
  6. Baked cupcakes
  7. Cut sample cupcakes for visual contrast
  8. Some cupcake bites arranged in a tin
Implements
  • Mixing bowl
  • Electric mixer
  • Cup for eggs
  • Measuring cup(s) for dispensing batter
  • Tablespoon measuring spoon for measuring sprinkles
  • Spatula for scraping batter
  • Same-size bowls if making separate batches of nonpareil and jimmies batter (If making only one kind of cupcake, skip using these two bowls.)
  • Cupcake pans
Ingredients
  • 1 box cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Golden Vanilla.)
  • Eggs (as listed on box)
  • Cooking oil (as listed on box)
  • Water (as listed on box)
  • Sprinkles as follows (option a, b, or c—pixtrip shows option "a".):
    1. 2 T nonpareils for 1/2 recipe, 4 T jimmies for the other 1/2 recipe
    2. 4 T nonpareils for a whole recipe
    3. 8 T jimmies for a whole recipe
  • Spray oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Spray pans with oil.
  3. Follow box instructions for mixing powder, eggs, oil, and water together.
  4. If making separate nonpareil and jimmies recipes, divide the cake batter equally into two bowls. (I used two Pyrex bowls and evened out the weights.) If making a batch with only one type of sprinkles, skip this step.
  5. Add the sprinkles.
    • When using nonpareils, measure and very lightly stir them into the batter to minimize color "bleed".
    • When using jimmies, measure and stir them into the batter, but don't worry about color "bleed".
  6. Scoop the batter into the pan wells, each about 3/4 full. (For more crunch in the nonpareil version, sprinkle an additional pinchful over each well after dispensing the batter.)
  7. Bake for about 17-20 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick.
  8. Remove the baked cupcakes. Tilt them in the wells or place them onto a cooling rack to cool.
  9. Frost if desired. Beware of extra effort required and added calories in gilding the lily.
Post-Recipe Thoughts
Interestingly, the heat seemed to cause the jimmies to diffuse. That is, after baking, the jimmies looked wavy instead of retaining their rod shapes. But the jimmies morsels didn't bleed and change the cake color like the nonpareil morsels did.

When working with nonpareils, remember that they're itty bitty spheres. When I first opened the jar, I tilted it. Out came several orbs, rolling freely on the table, a challenge to easily stop their willy-nilly, runaway movements.

Cake mixes that already contain jimmies are available. When I made the jimmies version of cake mix cookies, using Betty Crocker's Party Rainbow Chip mix, I didn't think to sift it to measure the amount of jimmies. Maybe some day I'll break down and buy another box, remembering to check out the amount of jimmies before baking something.

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