10 Tips on Baking with Silicone Molds
Ever since silicone baking molds made their way onto the market, I've been a huge fan. They're naturally non-stick, flexible, brightly colored, and delightfully inexpensive.
That said, they're not perfect, and I've had my fair share of silicone baking cup disasters. If you're interested in purchasing some silicone baking molds, or if you want to be better at using the ones you have, keep the following tips and tricks in mind.
These are the silicone baking mold STAPLE.
These are small, but SO versatile and really fun to work with. The one caveat- they're a hassle to clean.
Smaller is Better
I've found that, on the whole, smaller silicone baking cups (e.g. minimuffin cups and cupcake cups) do much better than larger cake pans, mostly because they're more rigid and less likely to bend and crack still-gooey just-baked muffins and cupcakes.
These silicone baking molds are also easier to find, less expensive, and the most versatile (more on that below) sorts of silicone baking molds one might buy, so if you buy anything, I'd recommend choosing these.
If you only buy one type of silicone baking cups, get the normal, cupcake-sized ones. If you're willing to get two different kinds, I heartily recommend the minimuffin cups.
Matching Sets Rock
Because silicone molds are so versatile and inexpensive, there are a lot of specially-shaped ones that one can purchase. While they're cute, I recommend staying away from them. They're typically small and less likely to be able to accommodate all of a typical recipe's worth of batter, so you'd either need to buy multiples of one mold or bake in tons of batches.
In the name of practicality, I recommend going with just one large baking mold or a matching set comprised of multiple baking molds that can accommodate a full recipe. It might be disappointing to realize this, but novelty and uniquely-shaped silicone baking molds are the ultimate impulse buys of the silicone kitchen implement world!
Mix and Match
If you do end up getting a couple of novelty molds, one way to make a full recipe's worth of cake or some other bread-like concotion is to amass a collection of different baking molds, or to have extra silicone baking cups on hand to make small muffins or cupcakes with the batter that doesn't fit into your novelty-shaped silicone baking mold.
It's nice to have these extra snacks on hand, even if they aren't specially shaped, and make for fun leftover treats.
DEFINITELY Grease Larger Pans
Like I said, silicone baking molds are extra convenient because they don't typically require greasing. Still, some baking molds, especially the larger ones, still require greasing or buttering and flouring.
Yes, it's a hassle, but it makes a difference, especially because cakes baked in larger silicone baking molds are at a higher risk of cracking in the malleable molds than they would in metal pans.
Greasing and flouring pans can be awesome though- one thing I do is substitute cocoa powder for flour when I'm baking chocolate cakes. It contributes to a better exterior appearance and is EXTRA fun to lick out of an emptied pan.
Grease for Easier Cleaning
While only larger pans really REQUIRE greasing, it's easier to clean smaller silicone baking cups when they've been greased.
Fully greasing and flouring these cups is not necessary, but you might consider spraying them with some sort of nonstick cooking spray. Alternately, you can keep them entirely clean by putting paper baking cups inside them and just using the silicone cups for structure.
Soak in Soapy Water to Wash
Cleaning larger silicone baking pans is pretty easy, but cleaning the smaller ones, especially the minimuffin cups, is more difficult, especially because there are so many of them!
The most efficient way I get around to washing these is to immediately toss the empty cups into warm, soapy water, let them soak, rub the crumbs out of them, and then rinse them and let them dry. After they're dry, I may give the cups an additional wipe with a damp cloth, especially if I've made savory muffins in them, because they're more likely to harbor some residual grease.
Multitask with Baking
Silicone baking molds are good for more than just making cakes and muffins. Smaller silicone baking cups are also great for making:
- Mini pies and quiches
- Cheesy puff pastry appetizers
- Delicious snacks made with wonton wrappers
And lots of other savory snacks. So don't just make sweets with your cups- use them for all they're worth!
Multitask with Serving
In addition to baking both sweet treats and savory snacks in silicone baking cups, I recommend using them (again, mostly the smaller ones) for more than just baking.
They make great little serving cups for parties- you can put small snacks in them like jellybeans, nuts, and small candies, and because they come in such cute shapes and colors, they can really fancy-up a party platter! The extra benefit here is that, unlike other little serving cups, they are washable and reusable. How lovely and eco-friendly is THAT?
Pare Down Your Kitchen Collection
What really got me started on silicone baking molds was not an attraction to their fun shapes and bright colors but rather the prospect of being able to make muffins and cupcakes in a small dormitory kitchen, where I honestly did not have the space for a metal muffin pan.
The great thing about these baking cups and molds is that they stack brilliantly and take up about as much space as an espresso or coffee cup (depending on their size). This means that you can use these cups as an excuse to get rid of some of your bulkier baking pans!
That said, I recommend holding on to your old-fashioned metal cake pans. I have both metal and silicone cake pans and NEVER use the silicone ones. They're just an accident waiting to happen.
Know When to Stick with Metal
As I just mentioned above, there are some instances in which I would advice against converting so silicone. This is the case with pretty much all larger baking pans. Why? When it comes to larger cakes, it is better to have a rigid, more supportive material.
The one time in which I would advocate the purchase of a larger silicone cake pan is if it's a specially shaped novelty pan, but only if you can't find the same shape in a metal pan. So as a general rule of thumb, I'd just opt for metal pans when dealing with larger confectionary treats.