Friday, August 7, 2009

Silicone moulds

I recently purchased these TreeParty Design silicone moulds. They look exactly like some NordicWare deigns, but with the flexibility (no pun intended!) of silicone - so they can be used in the oven, the fridge, or the freezer. I decided to try them out using my favourite cupcake recipe - from Nigella's 'How to be a Domestic Goddess'. This recipe is incredibly quick and easy, and results in cupcakes which are moist and delicious, and keep well for about 5 days in the fridge - though usually they don't last long! I've been using this recipe for about 5 years now. I did try one of the cupcake recipes from the Crabapple Bakery book, but it was extra work with separating eggs, and the end result wasn't as good as Nigella's much simpler recipe.

The 'blossom flower' pan features miniature versions of some of the popular NordicWare bundt tins - including the cathedral, star and original bundt designs that I own. The silicone of this mould is thinner than the bugs one, but I think as the designs are quite small and delicate, this makes it easier to unmould the cakes without damaging the designs. The bugs are a lot bigger, and so the the thicker silicone gives the shapes more support.

If you haven't cooked with silicone before, then it is important to know you need to put your mould on a tray to support the mould when transferring it into the oven. Silicone has non-stick properties, but I like to spray the moulds lightly with oil to ensure easy release.

I managed to fill all the blossom cavities and all but one of the bug cavities with one quantity of the cupcake mixture. Once baked, the cakes released easily, but needed some minor surgery to cut off the rounded tops so that the cakes could sit flat on a plate (also had the added bonus of yummy offcuts :p!). The cakes from the blossom mould lost a bit of definition, which was really just the result of baking a batter that rises in such small moulds - they didn't come out looking as perfect as I'd hoped, but once trimmed and dusted with icing sugar, they looked quite presentable. The bugs also lost a bit of definition, but you could decorate them with icing to highlight the designs more. I chose just to dust them with icing sugar too.

I think I would like to try moulding chocolate in the blossom mould. With the size of the cavities, I think it would be perfect for that, and it would highlight the designs more. But I was pretty happy with the end results, and they were certainly tasty. The cupcakes have such a nice vanilla flavour, and are so moist, you don't really miss having no icing.

The recipe

125g butter
125g caster sugar
125g SR flour
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 tbs milk

Preheat oven to 200ÂșC. Line a 12 cavity muffin tin with cupcake cases.
Add all ingredients except for the milk into the bowl of a food processor and blitz to combine. Pulse while adding the milk down the funnel. (You can also do this the more traditional way of creaming the butter sugar, beating in the eggs, and then folding through the flour and milk).
Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases.
Bake for 15-20 mins, or until golden and firm.

NB I baked the blossom mould cakes for about 13 mins, and the bugs for about 20 mins.

Lightly oiled moulds; filled moulds
(I tapped the moulds once filled quite firmly on the bench to try to get rid of any air pockets that would spoil the detail of the designs)

the cooked blossoms and bugs

The cakes cooling - you can see the bases of the designs would need to be trimmed if they were to sit flat on a plate.

performing surgery to allow the cakes to sit nicely

the trimmed cakes

Although my intial reaction after turning the cakes out was that I might not use the blossom mould again for baking cakes (but would use it for chocolate instead), I think I was being overly critical. After I went back and looked again, the little cakes really did look quite pretty once they were trimmed and dusted (and for very little effort), and they tasted so delicious with their eggy vanilla flavour. Plus they are a very appealing size being just bite-sized - I can imagine them being quite popular at a party when people often just want small nibbles so they can try a bit of everything or so that they feel they're not over-indulging.

I love the shapes left in the icing sugar!

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