Like a tiny masterpiece, a cupcake that is beautifully decorated can be a lovely finishing touch to a well-presented meal. Specialty appliances — cupcake makers — are available that allow you to cut down the baking time, make consistently perfect cupcakes, and avoid heating up the house with the full oven.
We tested two different brands: A Babycakes model which made full-sized cupcakes (they also have models that make minis) and a Bella Cucina that made minis (and they also have large size models). We found both to be easy to use, quick, simple to clean. Both produced cupcakes that were cooked exactly as they should be.
Of course, since this is Pretty Food, we have a few suggestions at the bottom of this post for making your finished cupcakes elicit “oohs and ahs.” But first, here are pictures of our cupcake maker try-outs. The Babycakes model is the pink one on the left; the Bella Cucina brand is the smaller red one on the left.
Note the use of a pancake batter gadget to squirt the cake batter into the litte slots without making a mess. I highly recommend it.
Piping on the icing with a cake decorating tube and tip will help you make the little cupcakes pretty — mint for garnish, edible flowers (pansies, rose petals, marigolds, violets), small berries, strawberry slices, whipping cream, or some cute little cake decorations.