I got some silicone bakeware this past Christmas. Up until now, I’d only been aware of the use of these things as ice cube trays. They make exciting shapes and allow you to peel out an ice cube quite easily. So I was intrigued to get cupcake shapes – now I, too could make exciting things like turtles and flowers out of cupcakes. In theory, the cupcakes would bake like normal, and then you could just pop them out of the silicone tray, resulting in cupcakes conveniently shaped for your decorating pleasure.
I received two sets of pans, and my use of the first pan was incidental. I wanted to make ordinary cupcakes and, much to my chagrin, I’d apparently gotten rid of one of my regular metal cupcake pans at some point. So I had the means of making 12 regular cupcakes, plus half a cake mix’s worth of mix. Thus, I got out the “turtle shapes” bakeware and dumped the rest of the mix on in. I had no intention of making an actual turtle out of them, as I was going for the “simple and chocolaty” dessert method rather then the “complex and reptilian” method. I neglected to butter the bakeware and, as a result, 1/2 of the cupcakes (rather, 1/2 of each cupcake) were very resolute in staying in the pan. Admittedly, I did try out an experimental “cheesecake cupcake” recipe for these, which might have made them more prone to falling apart as well.
The few on the left are the bakeware cupcakes, which sit lower then the cupcakes on the right due to having lost their bottoms in the pan (by that point, I’m fairly confidant most of their bottoms were in my tummy):
In any case, cheesecake and chocolate work incredibly together. I also tried some experimental decorating techniques, mostly involving rolling then edge of each cupcake in sprinkles. Worked great except for the fact that my frosting was more like icing, causing the sprinkle-caked icing to slowly ooze off the cupcake at random.
This bakeware pan was hellish to clean, it took me at least 5 minutes of vicious scrubbing to deal with it, and even then it was not completely clean.
Next up, we have Mother’s Day cupcakes. The second silicone pan was designed to make cupcakes that looked like a bouquet, and I figured this time I’d actually butter the bakeware really well, as I thought that was what had created all of the problems the first time around. So, here’s what my cupcakes had the potential of looking like, according to the box:
So, I baked the cupcakes, and lo and behold, they did the exact same thing as the pan before. Chunks clung like crazy. I feel like the shapes of the cupcake molds were a little too intricate for this sort of thing. It was really hard to carefully pop out each cupcake shape, what with all of the angles involved. As well, it’s rather difficult to get at all 12 cupcakes on this pan to try inverting the silicone in order to get them out. It’s a pain to slowly and carefully try removing each cupcake, and you end up doing funny things to the other cupcakes when you try. Supposedly, you could just flip the pan upside down and these babies would just slide out, but that was not at all the case. I also filled the batter in to the amount shown in the instructions, but the cupcakes overflowed the pan, leading to rather misshapen flowers.
I also got lazy in decorating, so they ended up looking like this:
The visual impact wasn’t exactly what I’d been going for, alas.
It was very frustrating that, despite having buttered the pan and everything, these little bastards still stuck to the pan like crazy. The pan which, incidentally, I had to spend another 5+ minutes trying to clean. I cannot justify owning anything that takes that long to clean, I need kitchen tools that make my processes more efficient, not less. I hate to say it, but these pans are going to Goodwill (sorry, Julie!). I can see the potential for bakeware pans, though, just not cupcake pans. I bet a bread pan could be useful, if it was shaped simply enough. Bread is much more of a solid structure then cupcakes are, and the silicone would make it easier to easily remove the bread from the pan. However, after my recent experimentation with silicone bakeware, I’m not exactly gonna be seeking replacements for my metal pans anytime soon.
Edit: I got bored and looked these up on amazon.com, here’s the flower pan and here’s the turtle pan, I feel strangely relieved to know that the people who reviewed these, few as they were, had similar experiences as I.