Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cinnamon Two-Tone Cupcakes

Around Thanksgiving, I went to Michael's and spotted an intriguing Wilton gadget for making two-tone cupcakes. The design is for making two-tone cupcakes—"Fill the inner portion of the insert with one flavor or color of batter and the outer ring with another". I bought one that day, and another one a few days later, both times using a 50% off coupon. Grand total came to $7.00 + sales tax.

Before trying out the gadgets, I decided to look up info and recipes. Did I get an eyefull. Lots of complaints!
  • Messy!
  • Time consuming!
  • While pulling up gadgets,
    • Batter stuck to gadgets before falling from gravity, resulting in a gloppy mess. (I'm thinking surface tension because of viscosity.)
    • The batter that stuck to the gadgets would also pull up paper liners.
    • Misalignment of inner ring and outer ring of gadgets resulted in batter seeping from one area to another.
With all those complaints in mind and some commenters' suggestions, I hoped to avoid sorry pitfalls. I made sure to include the following actions in the recipe:
  • Spraying oil into the Wilton gadgets and cupcake pan before pouring the batter in.
  • Omitting paper liners in the pan wells.
  • Initially pouring a small layer "outer" area batter into pan before placing Wilton gadgets. Doing so was intended to prevent breach between contrasting batters.
  • Carefully pouring batters by using small measuring cups that have little spouts. (Some bakers suggested piping the batters, but I consider the step to be extra work and wasting bags.)
Cinnamon seems to be a common flavor for cinnamon rolls, coffee cakes, and some muffins, but not so much for cakes and cupcakes. I did run across recipes for dozen-quantity muffins that called for cinnamon and nutmeg. And the pans were standard 12-well cupcake pans. Thus, my recipe has a not-so-common cake flavor (using 1/2 box of cake mix) and instructions for using Wilton two-tone cupcake inserts.

Video-recording the recipe process was a new experience for me. Generating the YouTube video and subsequent .pdf file were even more adventuresome. A future blog article will be about having used Microsoft Movie Maker, Acoustica (audio editor), and Irfanview (graphics editor) WRT to the video and secondary files.

As has been my tradition with recipes, I include a pixstrip, this one showing the following image areas:
  1. Implements
  2. Ingredients
  3. Spray oil with pan and Wilton gadgets
  4. Mixed cake batter, with cinnamon and nutmeg beside it
  5. Blending of cinnamon and nutmeg into the smaller bowl batter
  6. Dispensing of batters into the pan with Wilton gadgets(combo image)
  7. Removal of Wilton gadgets before placing the pan in oven
  8. Baked cupcakes
  9. Iced and some sliced-open cupcakes
  • Electric mixer
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Rubber spatula(s)
  • Cupcake pan
  • Wilton cupcake insert (I used two.)
  • Cooling rack
  • Butter knife or similar for removing cupcakes from pan
  • 1/2 box cake mix—white, yellow, vanilla to contrast with cinnamon/nutmeg
  • ingredients for half-box recipe, using the box info for guide
    • eggs
    • cooking oil
    • water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • spray oil
  • icing or some other cupcake topping (I used a freebie Wilton decorating icing. I've provided links to alternative toppings at the bottom of the article.)
Instructions (Have the cake mix box handy!)
  1. Preheat the oven (350°).
  2. Prepare baking pan and Wilton gadget(s) with spray oil.
  3. Weigh 1/2 box of cake mix powder, and prepare the batter as instructed on the box.
  4. Pour 1/3 of the batter into a smaller bowl, and blend the cinnamon and nutmeg in. (Initially, I tapped and mixed a little of the cinnamon and nutmeg into the batter before divvying it into two portions.)
  5. Pour a small layer of "outer" batter into each cupcake well.
  6. Place gadget(s) into wells and dispense inner batter, then outer batter. Lift gadget(s) and place into wells needing filling. Repeat this step until finished.
  7. Remove the gadget(s). Place rack in oven and bake for about 18 minutes. YMMV
  8. Test cupcakes for doneness with toothpick.
  9. Remove the pan of baked cupcakes and place on cooling rack. Run a knife along the edges for loosening them.
  10. Decorate as desired.
Post-recipe Thoughts
Despite my oil-spraying of my cupcake pan and the Wilton inserts, the center cupcake columns looked blobby, and seemed more voluminous than the "outer" cupcake parts. I was surprised that they more resembled the globby one at Baking Bites than other nice and straight ones.

The next time I make two-tone cupcakes, I'll spray more oil, and I'll try using rainbow jimmies for the center columns. (2/19/2016—Baked a batch. Read "Those Two-Tone Confetti Cupcakes" for my results assessment.)

Nutrition: The cake mix box states 260 calories (prepared) for each serving, 10 servings a box. So, the cupcakes are about 110 calories each, plus an additional ~40 for the sorta light smear of Wilton icing. (Sigh, I miss the recent olden days when cake mix weighed 18.25 ounces and served 12 instead of the current 15.25 ounces for 10 servings. Grrr! Reduction by ~16%, jeopardizing *FORMERLY RELIABLE* results and yields.)

Alternates to cupcake toppings (viewed by me for possible future use), in two cases, part of main sweets recipes:

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