The 8 Best Cupcake Makers
8. ZZ CM170 Electric Fun
- handle locks in closed position
- integrated cord wrap
- can't hold full-sized muffin cups
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
7. Deni Mini
- can be stored vertically
- results pop out easily and cleanly
- doesn't always bake evenly
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
6. Betty Crocker BC-2930CRT
- lid has a wide lip for easy lifting
- includes a piping bag for decorating
- doesn't brown muffin tops
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
5. Holstein Housewares 09006E
- takes less than 10 minutes to bake
- latch doubles as a carrying handle
- nonslip feet for stability
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
4. Disney DMG-7
- bright kid-friendly exterior
- includes animal print paper liners
- good value for the price
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
3. Babycakes Multitreat 6
- doesn't require paper liners
- good versatile option
- includes a recipe booklet
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
2. Emeril by T-fal SM2205
- includes a pastry cutter for crusts
- baking plates are easy to swap
- makes lovely fluted edges
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
1. Holstein Housewares HF-09013M
- green ready indicator light
- bakes full-sized cupcakes or muffins
- domed lid sections allow for rising
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
Can Cupcakes Actually Be Good For You?
If you’re anything like me, you own a brochure or two for chocoholics anonymous. Maybe you’ve even been to a meeting. It’s a tough life navigating the perils of the sweet tooth, and just about every food company — from our bread manufacturers to big tobacco — seems intent on targeting and satisfying our craving for sugar.
It turns out sugar isn’t very good for you, however. The obvious issues like diabetes are scary enough on their own, but there are more insidious problems associated with too much sugar consumption that might surprise you.
For starters, sugar is associated with an increase in inflammation. If you’ve ever taken a simple pain killer like ibuprofen, you may have noticed that it’s designed to reduce inflammation; pain and inflammation go hand in hand. Allergy sufferers may not be so shocked to hear that this inflammation can result in symptoms similar to an allergic reaction, including a swelling of the sinus membranes (stuffy nose) and an increase in mucus production. Many professional athletes drink a watered down version of popular sports drinks for this very reason. The drinks are so sugary that their side effects can actually impede performance.
Ingestion of sugar also causes a temporary spike in blood sugar, as well. Your body tries to rev itself up by releasing insulin to burn off all that extra energy. This is what happens when children who have too much candy begin to bounce off the walls. Once your insulin stores are depleted, however, two things happen. First, your energy level plummets. This is what’s known as a sugar crash. Next, your body takes the remaining sugar that it can’t burn off and stores it as fat. This is why obesity is so often linked with diabetes.
With all that in mind, it might seem like cupcakes aren’t such a good idea, but these tiny treats can actually be a healthier option than regular cakes and brownies, especially when you make them yourself in a handy cupcake maker. Obviously, you can elect to make your cupcakes out of any number of healthy ingredients, and many of those would churn out delicious confections. Many others, however, would give you glorified veggie muffins, and that’s not what we’re all about here at chocoholics anonymous.
For all its evils, sugar isn’t the devil. No food is if you can enjoy it in moderation. The problem these days is that companies put too much sugar in too many things. If you can forgo those product in favor of cupcakes made in the home, you’ll be on the right track.
Instead of thinking of your cupcake maker as a means for creating cupcakes that are healthy in and of themselves, use the cupcake form itself as a means for portion control. Then, simply limit the number of cupcakes you’ll allow yourself from a batch. Make a habit of surprising the people in your life with the majority of your creations, saving just a few for yourself. It’s a lot more sensible than trying to measure out two square inches of cake or brownie material, and then bringing a strange slab of Tetris-shaped cake to your PTA meeting.
How To Choose The Perfect Cupcake Maker
For the most part, cupcake makers are all very similar devices. They work in a very similar way that waffle irons or pizzelle makers work. Each unit opens to reveal a number of cupcake molds into which you pour your homemade batter. When you close the lid, the cupcakes cook to perfect forms. Since these items all work so similarly, there are only a few key features for you to consider before you make your informed purchase.
The easiest aspect to quantify in a cupcake maker is the number of cupcakes it can produce in a single pressing. If you know you aren’t the type to give yourself a long afternoon to spend baking, or if you know that you often have to make cupcakes for larger groups, a cupcake maker with the highest quantity output available is going to be necessary.
If you find a maker with a high output, check its overall dimensions. If it seems that it’s the same size as another unit that makes half as many cupcakes, then it probably makes much smaller pieces. Should you only want to be able to make a few cupcakes now and again for intimate gatherings or as a fun family dessert, then a smaller output will suffice.
Some makers have replaceable molds, as well. These will allow you to make more than just cupcakes. If you want to create donuts with less oil, muffins, or even cake pops, there are molds out there that can make it happen.
A Brief History Of The Cupcake
The cupcake has had quite the resurgence in the 21st century, thanks in large part to the explosion of competitive boutiques in city centers like New York and Los Angeles. Shops like Magnolia Bakery and the Buttercup Bake Shop led to a revolution in the quality (and price) of the humble confection. It wasn’t always this way, however, and for most of human history the cupcake has served a humble and effective purpose.
The first cupcakes took their names from the containers in which they were cooked. If you were making a cake before the 1800s, and you had a little extra batter left over, you could toss it in a ramekin or pottery cup. These treats weren’t designed to be cupcakes, but that’s indeed what they were.
Recipe books reaching as far back as 1796 reference cakes made specifically in these smaller vessels. Their appeal rested largely in their individual containment, that each diner could get his or her own little cake. The late 1800s saw the popularization of the muffin tin, which would immediately gain use as a staging ground for cupcakes.