Using Paper or Foil Cupcake Liners
One of the things that make baking cupcakes so easy is the fact that you can use paper liners in the muffin tins or cupcake pans, which makes cleanup easier and removes the possibility of the cupcakes sticking to the pan. (If you’re using liners, there’s no need to grease the tin.) Liners come in mini, regular and king size, but regular is the most common and they’re usually sold 50 to 75 in a pack. In recently years, manufacturers have come up with some cute and clever cupcake liners, with themes to make nearly every season and event. Consider whether you want to take advantage of these fun designs, or if you want a plain liner so that your cupcake decorating takes center stage. Whichever type of cupcake liner you choose, make sure they’re properly-sized for your pan.
Using Paper Cupcake Liners
Paper cupcake liners are fun and make for easy cleanup.
If you want the design on your liners to show up really well, use white cake mix (or homemade batter). Chocolate cake tends to show through the liners, “confetti”-style may bleed onto the liner, and even yellow cake can change the appearance of the liners.
Check for interesting liners at specialty cake supply shops; I picked up some nice scalloped-edge cupcake liners at Kake Kreations in Los Angeles.
Why Consider Foil Cupcake Liners?
Companies such as Reynolds make foil liners in metallic silver and gold, which some cupcake makers believe look more sophisticated than decorated (or even solid-color) paper liners. Also, paper liners may take on a greasy look, which some people feel makes their cupcakes lack polish.
One drawback of foil liners is that the outer layer of aluminum sometimes separates from the paper layer. (Though silicone-treated paper liners can separate too.) Please note: Reynolds brand foil cupcake liners come with a thin, white liner between each foil liner, but these are just separators and should be discarded. Also, cupcakes in foil wrappers may be harder to photograph well, and in some cases the foil may be so flashy it detracts from the cupcake decorations.
Silicone Cupcake Liners
Silicone is popular in baking for several reasons. Items bake in them cook evenly, the cups are attractive for serving purposes and you can use them again and again. (They can go through the dishwasher.) Additionally, you won’t need a separate pan, and you can fit your cupcakes in an odd-shaped oven (such as a convection/ microwave combo that otherwise could only hold one six-cup muffin tin at a time.) When it comes to cupcakes, there are several varieties of silicone cupcake liners available, in a range of colors and even some with feet! Wilton’s non-traditional liner shapes include diamond, square and triangle. Wilton’s silicone cupcake liners are oven-safe to 500 degrees and resist stains and odors. The liners are versatile, as they can be used for gelatin and other desserts.
How About No Cupcake Liners?
So, you want to “go naked”? There are plenty of reasons to consider not using a liner when making cupcakes. The first, perhaps obviously, is if you plan on frosting the cupcake in its entirety, or covering it in fondant. Use no-stick spray such as Wilton’s Bake Easy or consider shortening. Keep in mind that baking times may vary depending on several factors, including the material and darkness of the pan you’re using.