Mini Cupcakes

Jenn wanted a Bacardi Rum Cake for her birthday, and since we would be celebrating it with the children, I felt I also needed some non-alcoholic cake for them. After thinking about it, I felt these mini-cupcakes would be just the thing. The trick is in determining the amount of ingredients to use so that you are not trying to make a bakery full.

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I did the math, starting with the information that a full box of cake mix is enough for 24 regular size cupcakes. Those use a 2.5 inch cupcake paper and are about 1 inch deep. The mini-cupcake papers are half that diameter, and half that high. If you do all the multiplies and divides, it comes out that a quarter of a box of cake mix is adequate for 36 mini cupcakes.

It just happened that I had 3 mini muffin pans, or 36 mini cupcake places. (I will now wonder why we had three pans). After I put the paper cup into each of the openings, I also dropped a chocolate chip onto the bottom of the paper as a small surprise.

Based on some tips that I got from Blake’s Decorette Shop, I didn’t just divide the recipe on the back of the cake mix box by 4; besides, I would have to tell you what to do about the 3 eggs that the box says to use for a full box of cake mix; there is no such thing as 3/4 of an egg!

So here is what I used.

  1. I measured out 1/4 of the cake mix from the box. That is very close to 4 ounces.
  2. I used a full egg.
  3. I used 1/4 cup of milk (instead of water).
  4. I used 2 Tablespoons and 2 teaspoons butter, melted (instead of oil).
  5. Finally, I used 1 teaspoon of Meringue Powder.

I used 1 Tablespoon of batter in each cup. I found putting the batter in a piping bag worked better than trying to spoon it. And I must confess that depending on how good I am at piping just exactly 1 Tablespoon per cup, I get a yield of 30-36 cupcakes.

Since the box said that 24 cupcakes needed to cook for 18-21 minutes, I decided to cook the smaller cupcakes for 10 minutes and then test for doneness. I must say that for my stove, the 10 minutes turned out to be perfect!

The real trick is in filling the mini cupcake cups. I strongly recommend putting the batter in a piping bag so you can control the flow and amount that goes into each cupcake cup. Because of the need for egg in the cake mix, I don’t think it is reasonable to try to make fewer than the 36 mini cupcakes at a time. And I don’t know what happens if you try to cook the 36 in batches rather than all at the same time; I suspect the dough that is waiting for the first batch to cook is starting to deflate and lose all the air that has been mixed into it.

November 2016: I had the occasion to make mini cupcakes this month, and have changed my mind about making 36 pieces from a quarter box of cake mix. As you can see in the picture the cupcakes are flat on the top; I want mushroom shaped cupcakes. So after experimenting, I decided it was better to make 24 nice fat mini cupcakes instead of the 36 flat topped mini cupcakes. Just fill the cupcake papers fuller!

One thought about having the mushroom shaped cupcakes is that it is harder to decorate a pull-apart cake; you have mountains and valleys and not a clean flat surface. But if you look at the photo of the rabbit pull-apart cake, you can see that they have a nice round top going into the decorating.

The one thing you might want to watch is the cooking time. Because there is more dough in each cupcake cup, it might need an extra 4-5 minutes versus the 10 I suggested earlier in this article.

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