To add some variety to my blog (which celebrated its 1 month birthday last week!), I have decided to start reviewing cooking/baking products which I use. I find that I prefer to read other bakers’ reviews about products, so I hope that this helps make some difficult decisions. However – just to put it out there now, I am extremely weak in Lakeland and would buy anything regardless of the review!
So for my birthday a few months ago, I got a Breville Cupcake Baker (Sainsburys online £10.49). The reviews that I had read had been mixed, however as the price was not too expensive and I was quite curious (and it is pink!), I thought that I would give it a try.
For those who are a bit confused, the inside is very similar to a cheese-toastie machine, however it has 8 cupcake holes instead. The principle is simple; fill paper cases with cupcake batter, place them in the holes when the machine is hot enough, pull down the lid and bake for roughly 8-10 minutes.
I found that my own experience with the cupcake baker has been very similar to the reviews; extremely mixed. The first thing that struck me was the size of the cupcake holes. They are smaller than I imagined, more fairy cake than cupcake size. The baker has rounded tops, intended to give the cupcakes a nice round finish. However, my first few batches ended up cooking too quickly on the top (so that they were nearly burnt), and not cooking enough in the middle. The little booklet which comes with the baker recommends filling the cases two-thirds full, but I found that filling them just under half is better to prevent a burnt top.
I’ve experimented with a few different cupcake recipes on the baker to find which works best. Any type of cupcake with a strong flavour (for example lemon) is better baked in the oven, as I found that the intense heat of the baker tended to cook off the flavour (leaving it a bit bland). Basic cupcakes are fine, and the positive aspect of the baker is that you can whip out a lot in a very short space of time. However, as I mentioned earlier, they will not be as big as you hope.
The highlight of this machine for me has been making Chocolate Melting Pot cupcakes. The baker cooked the cakes fantastically, as the mixture is dark so it masked the dark brown colour on the smooth round top. The intense all-around heat made sure that the block of chocolate on the inside was nicely melted, and it tasted bloomin’ marvellous!
I would definitely recommend this machine for anyone with kids, as it does make cupcake baking a bit more interactive and ‘colourful’ (quite literally!). It is good for mass-producing small basic cupcakes in a short period of time, and is easy to clean and maintain. However, it tends to counter-act strong flavours, can cook the cakes too quickly on the top and the size could be an issue for some. At the current online price, it is not a huge rip-off, but I would not pay anymore for the machine, and sadly it is not used as regularly as I had hoped.