Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cakes Under the Influence Margarita Cupcakes

When you hear that a company's name is Cakes Under the Influence, you have to know that there's cake involved. And maybe some booze.

CUI sells a lot of different kits for making alcohol-themed baked goods. You can make large or small margaritas or martinis, shot glasses, or champagne flutes, or a cake-sized martini.

I received a set of margarita-shaped metal baking molds, silicone holders for the metal baking molds, and paper liners for baking. I also received plastic serving glasses with a little nub on the bottom to fit into a large plastic serving tray that was included. AND, I got a cake mix as well.

It's par-tay time!

The one thing that's not included in the various baking kits from CUI is the stemware bottoms, which allow the plastic drinkware tops to stand on their own, without being attached to the tray. I asked for some to use in this post and they sent them. (Hey, thanks!)

I think it's a little odd that the standard kits don't include those drinkware bottoms, since it seems like having glasses standing on their own would be more convenient for guests who might want to set them down when eating.

I suppose for a stand-up cocktail party, the trays might make more sense, since people would be eating while standing, and the trays would be easy for serving.

If you buy one of these kits, I suggest purchasing the bottoms, though. It makes the glasses more useful overall - for these cakes or anything else, and they're not expensive. They're not the prettiest things I've ever seen, but people should be looking at your cakes and not your serving glasses, anyway.

I was making a cupcake recipe from a book and decided to make just a couple of the margarita cupcakes at the same time to test the baking molds. The silicone holders fit snugly into cupcake pans, but I found that they were sturdy enough to stand on their own on a baking sheet. So that's a plus.

I've never seen a margarita this color, but it still looks good, huh?
I lined two of the margarita-shaped metal baking cups with the included baking papers, and then I decided to try using my own parchment paper to create my own cup liners. How hard could it be?

I managed to get the parchment folded and into the cups, but they weren't nearly as pretty as the ones included in the kit.

If you use these a lot, you might get good enough at folding parchment paper to make it fit the cups, but I suggest buying the papers, particularly if you're using these for a party or event. The purchased ones will probably look nicer, and when you're planning for a party, less fuss is probably a better idea.

Then again, my ugly folded parchment wasn't so bad when I unwrapped the cupcakes to serve them directly in the plastic glasses. So you could do that, if you wanted to. If the cakes don't fit snugly in the bottom of the glasses and you don't like seeing cake gaps, you could use a little frosting or a little caramel or chocolate drizzle to fill those gaps. No one would ever know the drizzle wasn't planned from the beginning.

Or ... according to the company's website, the molds themselves are made from anodized aluminum and are food-safe, so in theory you could bake directly in the mold. How well cakes would release from them - I'm not sure, since I haven't tried that yet.

I also haven't tried their cake mix, but I'm sure it's perfectly fine.

Because of the insulation from the silicone stands, the cupcakes I baked in the metal molds took a little longer than the ones baked in standard metal cups, so keep that in mind if you're using a standard recipe, or if you're using a mix that's not formulated specifically for these cups.

After I baked the cupcake-sized cakes, I realized I made just a little goof. Dark chocolate cake probably wasn't the best visual for cakes that are supposed to represent margaritas. A yellow cake or perhaps a green-tinted lime-flavored cake might have made more sense.

But, after I frosted the little cakes, I thought they looked a whole lot better.

But still, if you're making a margarita-shaped cake, it would make more sense to make it margarita-colored (and maybe margarita-flavored) instead of chocolate. So keep that in mind, hmmm?

Who's it for: People who like fancy-shaped cakes or cupcakes.

Pros: Overall, I thought these were really cute, and they'd be great for adult themed parties.

Cons: The kits are a little pricey, but it's a better value buying a kit than buying everything separately. Once you have the silicone stands, add-ons might make more sense to complete your sets. Kits don't come with the stemware bottoms, so make sure you buy those.

Source: I received these from the company at no cost to me.

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