With 3 little girls in our house, baking is something that I know I should be doing more of. It’s not that I don’t like to bake – I do. And the girls love to watch and help me bake too. But I get nervous with them around the hot oven, especially since my oldest and youngest don’t always pay attention to what’s around them. And when it’s 80+ degrees out in the summer, the last thing I want to do is turn the oven on! So when I had the chance to try out and review one of the treat makers from Babycakes , I thought it would be a great chance to sit down with the girls and have some fun baking together.
What they are:
Babycakes treat makers are electric cake makers that you use completely separately from your oven. They plug-in on their own and heat up in five minutes. There’s a cupcake maker, a donut maker, a cake pop maker, and a whoopie pie maker. With the cupcake maker, you can bake eight cupcakes, brownies, pies or more in eight minutes or less. This 1400-watt appliance comes with 4 Stainless Steel Decorating Tips, a 10” Heavy Duty Icing Bag and Coupler, Crust Cutting and Forming Tools, and Recipe Book, and the nonstick plates are easy to wipe off and clean after use. Here’s more information from their website:
With the original Babycakes cupcake maker, you’ll enjoy the delights of the corner bakery in your own kitchen. Bake 8 cupcakes in about 5 minutes. The non-stick coating and and easy-to-fill cooking reservoirs make baking cupcakes, pies, tartlets and appetizers fun and easy. The Babycakes cupcake maker comes complete with all the accessories you need to bake and decorate a variety of cupcakes and other tasty treats. The manual includes recipes, hints and suggestions that will be sure to delight friends and family. The cupcake maker features 1400 watts of cooking power, power and ready lights, convenient cord wrap, latching handle and more. Bake with or without paper baking cups.
Here’s our take on it:
The girls were so excited when I opened the box with the cupcake maker and wanted to invite friends over to help make cupcakes. We picked a day when my 8-year-old had a friend over for a playdate and then also invited the 3 kids from next door to come over as well. With 7 kids in the house, it was definitely a good chance to try out the cupcake maker and I had a ton of eager helpers. This was both a good thing – and a little worrisome since I didn’t want too many kids crowded around the cupcake maker at once.
The kids were all more than able to help mix up the cupcake batter though, so everybody got a turn. I’d bought just a simple box cake mix to try out and decided to make my own frosting so that I could use the decorating stuff that came with the cupcake maker since the buttercream frosting recipe that I have is made specifically for use in decorating bags and tips like these. I chose a ‘butter recipe’ cake mix since the cupcake maker works best with moist cake mixes. The instruction book does come with a recipe that you can make from scratch as well.
The cupcake maker was very easy to use – and I love that you can fill the 8 cups before turning it on. That is much easier to manage with kids since they won’t get burned if they accidentally bump against one of the hot portions. For this first time though, I filled the cupcake maker – I wanted to get a good feel for how much to fill it so that I could show the girls later on. You simply plug in the cupcake maker and it turns right on – then the green ready light shows you when its at the right temperature. The instruction book gives you a range of time for each kind of treat – the cupcakes were done in about 6-7 minutes.
And yes, on my first try I did overfill the cups – I discovered that you don’t even need to fill them up to the top because the batter expands slightly after you pour it in. By the time I’d finished off the batter, I had a good feel for what was the right amount and the cupcakes were coming out just about perfectly.
According to the instructions, you can use the cupcake maker either with or without paper baking cups. I would recommend though if you’re not using the paper baking cups to use either cooking spray or to rub a thin coat of vegetable oil over the plates before you bake anything (which the directions don’t tell you). I’d heard from a blogging friend that her first attempt at cupcakes didn’t come out so well without using paper cups or spray, so I made sure to wipe our cupcake maker’s plates down with vegetable oil before using it, and the cupcakes came out just fine. I think I’ll get some of the mini cupcake baking cups though and try those to see if there’s a difference.
The decorating tools were easy to use also, although the bag that was included split down the seam before I was done. I usually use disposable bags though, so will go back to those for next time. There’s a nice assortment of tips that comes with the cupcake maker though so if you don’t already have decorating tools like these, it’s a good way to get started with using them. I didn’t get terribly creative with icing this time – just tinted it a soft yellow color and did a general swirl on top of each cupcake. They were definitely a hit and one box of bake mix made about 20-30 of the mini cupcakes.
Since then I’ve also used the cupcake maker to make brownies. The instructions do recommend using paper baking cups for these but since I didn’t have any in the mini size, I just made sure to coat the plates with vegetable oil again and it worked out pretty well. Brownies come apart more easily than cupcakes do (especially when they’re hot) so I just carefully teased them out along the edges with a plastic spreader and most of the time they popped right out. I think that next time I will definitely use the paper cups for brownies though and see if there’s a big difference. The girls liked the brownies just as well as the cupcakes, and I didn’t have to worry about frosting these at all so they were definitely quicker.
Both times the cleanup was very easy – just a damp rag or sponge and everything wiped away cleanly. The brownies were a little more difficult to clean up than the cupcakes were but even they weren’t hard to do. I think that using paper baking cups would make the cleanup pretty negligible altogether but I haven’t tried that yet.
The bottom line:
Overall, I really like the Babycakes Cupcake Maker. It’s much better than turning on the oven in the summertime – I really didn’t notice any change in the overall room temperature while it was turned on either time. And the kids can help out a lot more, especially since you can put the first batch in before you turn the cupcake maker on so it’s nice and cool to the touch. You can also make pies in this – it comes with a crust cutter and forming tool. I’m not big on making pies in general though, so we’ll probably wait a while before trying that. I think it does a great job with basic cupcakes and brownies and can’t wait to see what else we can do with it too.
Where can you find them?:
You can find out more and purchase any of the Babycakes treat makers right at their website at http://thebabycakesshop.com or on the Select Brands site at http://www.selectbrands.com/store/brand/Baby_Cakes.html. The list price is $29.99. You can also follow @SelectBrands on Twitter or like them on Facebook.
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Babycakes and received a product sample and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.