My oven has been on the fritz lately which has caused me to pull back from baking a bit (I attempted to make a batch of vegan GF agave sweetened peanut butter cookies and they turned out so weird that I ended up feeding them to Farnsworth haha). Sad face! Looking for alternatives to get my sugary junk food fix I bought a Babycakes Cupcake Maker from London Drugs – it was on sale for $13 (regularly $45) which is the only reason I would buy this type of kitchen gadget, but I was pretty excited to try it out.
I fired up the cupcake maker, which makes mini cupcakes, and mixed up a batch of the GF vegan chai cupcake mix from a few posts back. The machine didn’t include any liners, despite the instruction book saying you could “get more liners separately” (emphasis mine), so I dove in with the mix directly into the non-stick molds. The result was pretty bad, they were very tricky to remove from the molds (I used a toothpick to slowly unstick the sides and flick them out onto the cooling rack) and they were overcooked on the outside and raw on the inside, which was a big disappointment. I tried a second round with the same result, and then gave up and cooked the rest of the batter in the regular oven, which thankfully cooperated and produced 4 cupcakes. I flipped through the guidebook to see if there was something I was missing, and thought maybe I would try one of their recipes instead. Great idea in theory, but the “recipes” read like this: Brownie Bites. Ingredients: 1 package brownie mix. Directions: Prepare brownie mix as directed on the package. *groan*
Then the machine sat on the countertop for a few days and I gave it the stink eye every time I passed through the kitchen.
Not one to quit so easy, I picked up some small-ish cupcake liners from the grocery store and a bag of Bob’s Red Mill GF brownie mix. This time they turned out quite well! The middle wasn’t raw and there was minimal burning on the outside. Dressed up with some vegan frosting they were actually quite tasty. The liners also make it way easier to remove the brownies from the machine, and clean up didn’t require me scraping the whole machine down with a wooden spoon and rubbing it with a dishrag until my elbow hurt.
So perhaps the liners were the key here, and having the mix directly on the element mucked it up. Who knows? I’ll try again, it would be a shame to waste a new machine, even if it was dirt cheap. Being able to make my own two-bite brownies is very appealing, ha!
In writing this post I visited the Babycakes website and browsed through the reviews of the cupcake maker, finding a few of the same complaints about cupcakes that were poorly baked. What really shocked me though were the reviews from customers that purchased the machine and were unable to find small sized cupcake liners in their grocery store. They were outraged that ordering liners off the website was so expensive, quoting numbers in the $70 range and higher. I thought ‘How the heck does a company charge $70 for cupcake liners?’ So I found them in the accessories section, priced at $2.99 per 100, which is not that bad I guess (they were cheaper at the grocery store). I put some in my cart and went to checkout to see what the shipping charges looked like – the cost nearly made tea come out my nose.
WHATTTTTT. $80 to ship two tiny packages of cupcake liners??? WHAT PLANET ARE THESE PEOPLE ON. So I totally understand the complaints now, and would never, ever, EVER order anything from the site. You’re probably better off asking your grocery store to order some in, or trying to find some in a craft shop like Michael’s (they have cheap seasonal liners there around xmas and Hallowe’en), or failing that buy a bulk package off eBay (though eBay is also guilty of ridiculous shipping costs). If you aren’t able to get this machine for under $15 or if you have a functioning home oven I’d suggest you don’t bother. However, I’ll give it a few more whirls and report back! I will admit their branding is super super cute and the machine itself is adorable. Seriously though, those shipping charges… WTF.