We have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t enjoy a tasty homemade muffin or cupcake — but have you ever baked a batch of fresh muffins and thought that, even though they tasted great, they looked a little less than amazing?
Of course, piling on lots of frosting can help — but if you’re making muffins, which are typically served unfrosted, you may feel like there’s not much you can do. But there is… and it’s probably easier than you think!
Muffin molds and cupcake pans like those shown here take the hard work out of making truly gorgeous baked goods. Just pour your muffin mix or cupcake batter into one of these prepared silicone or metal pans, and in minutes, you’ll be able to serve up some amazing little works of art — sort of like baby Bundt cakes — quickly and easily. Who wouldn’t love that?
Make sure they don’t stick
Of course, there are a few important things to remember. For instance, the usual paper or foil cupcake pan liners won’t work with these molds, so you’ll have to take other steps to make sure your treats will emerge from the molds intact.
Check the instructions on the pan you choose for the best advice on preparing the pans to make sure your baked goods don’t stick. In most cases, you’ll grease the inside of each cup (or use non-stick spray), though some manufacturers may recommend greasing and lightly flouring the little cups. (In our experience, even some “non-stick” surfaces benefit from a little help.) For more specifics, we found some great advice for preparing the surface and how to keep molded cakes intact when you release them from the pan: How to prevent bundt cakes from sticking: 10 simple tips.
The art of the topping
Most people serve muffins without icing. If you bake cupcakes in these pans and plan to frost them, however, be sure to consider the cup pattern when preparing your icing: Half the fun comes from appreciating and enhancing the unique designs.
For example, you might pipe on a dollop of frosting in the middle of a shaped cupcake, or use a tiny tube of icing to accent the pattern, as seen on the snowflake cakes here. (Some beautiful white sugar pearls further highlight the design.)
That said, there are no rules — so get ready to get creative! You can add colored sugar, sprinkles, fruit, whipped cream, cake decorations, edible flowers and leaves, shaved chocolate, nuts, crushed toffee, and anything else that will look and taste fantastic.
When in doubt about if (or how) you should frost your creations, simply serve them as-is or topped with a dusting of powdered sugar, which always looks elegant.
Now that you know you can make professional-quality baked goods, what will you cook up? Here are a few recipes to try!
If you’re ready to make sweet treats that look as good as something you’d get at a bakery, take a peek below at 14 of our favorite muffin molds and shaped cupcake pans. Check the dimensions of each product before buying, so you know it’s the right size for what you have planned. A standard paper liner for a muffin pan is 2 inches across on the bottom.
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