Advantages Easy to use and clean, no mess no fuss.
Disadvantages Short power lead, gets pretty hot so not good for baking with kids.
|Value for Money|
I'm not a bad cook, but I'll be honest, baking is something I consider a bit of an art and when I look at the lovely cakes and scones and other baked things some of my friends turn out I always feel a bit ashamed. Beyond the odd apple sauce cake or batch of cookies, baking is just something I don't bother with much. Well I didn't that is, until I was given this interesting little device for Christmas.
I have to say a cupcake maker is not something I'd buy for myself - to be fair it wouldn't even have occurred to me to consider it. I sort of vaguely knew they existed, but that's about it despite being a gadgety sort of person. This particular one retails at around £40 it seems, but I happen to know that my step-sister found it in a sale at a little over half that price because the box was damaged, which somehow doesn't seem so bad cost-wise.
I have to say the instructions that come with it are pretty basic, but that's ok because this is a device which is pretty basic too. It also came with a recipe book which I heartily approve of as it's given me a few really good ideas of different cupcake mixes (from basic to flavoured/fruited), and various frostings etc. you can make.
Being a Breville this is pretty well made. It's quite sturdy and well put together, and I don't forsee any issues in the future with bits breaking off or hinges snapping or anything as you might with a lesser brand. My cupcake maker is pink... now I know this sounds very girly, but I actually have a bright pink kitchen - cerise walls, and blinds and accessories with white, grey and black for the rest of it - so it does match rather well and looks quite nice in the kitchen. It's the sort of accessory you can throw in a cupboard or leave out to look nice too which is cool. I have to say I'd have preferred if the pink was a little deeper so it matched my kitchen a tad better, but hey ya can't have everything in life, and colour just isn't the big issue here really. (Having said you can throw it in a cupboard it's not the lightest of items, so don't go throwing it really - it's almost 3kg). It's quite chunky about 10cm high, and about 30cm across and front to back too. It has to be pretty large though or you wouldn't get much in the way of cupcakes in it, and with it being this size you can make 8 at a time.
Using this is quite simple. You mix up your cake batter as normal, and plug the cupcake maker in. It's a bit like a Breville sandwich toaster in that it has two parts one folding over on to the other, and again like the sandwich toaster you get lights on the front so you can see the power is on. Red light shows power is on, green light comes on when you plug in, and then goes out to tell you that the cupcake maker is hot enough for the batter to go in. Place your cupcake paper cases in each slot - just as you would with a baking tray - and then pop in the batter. Close the lid up, and bake. Simples!
Now I do suspect this will get a bit less use in our house as the novelty wears off, but at the same time, it is SO much cheaper to make cakes than it is to buy them, and the recipes provided do seem to work well. We've done a few of the different recipes now - the basic vanilla one is probably my favourite, though hubby is a bit of a chocolate fan and liked the double choc chip ones I did last week. Each batch of 8 takes about 8 minutes to cook - most recipes seem to say around 6-8 minutes, but we tend to find it needs the top end of this or they're not quite evenly cooked.
Cleaning the device is pretty easy too as you just wipe with a cloth when it's cool, about my only real complaint is that the power lead is rather on the short side which means I have to have it pretty close to where the socket is rather than being able to push it off to one side as I'd prefer to do.
I would say DO follow the instructions on fill levels - hubby failed to do so on one occasion and we had a bit of a mess to clean up. You need to only fill two thirds of the way up the cases for the perfect cupcake. I would also say this isn't the ideal thing to use if you're baking with kids. My niece wanted to help me bake and I actually chose not to use this because I didn't want her to burn herself on it as it does get quite hot. With a baking tray in the oven, the tray is cold before it goes in which means no risk of burns while filling!
If they were looking to add anything, I think possibly the addition of a timer might be quite useful however I find using the timer on my phone or oven works ok, so it's not a huge issue really.
Summary: A good simple easy way to make rather nice cupcakes quickly & without lots of mess & washing up.
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