Another essential piece of kit for any kitchen is the useful and versatile cupcake tray. The best baking trays for cupcakes usually have 6 or 12 round indents for holding mixture and which bake individually. If you tried baking cupcakes or muffins without the individual cups in the tray, you’d have…well, basically one large misshapen cake.
Language is important here. It is worth clearing up that these tins or trays might be referred to as ‘cupcake trays’ or indeed ‘muffin trays’ as our stateside cousins would say. In our house they also double-up as ‘Yorkshire Pudding trays’, as we prefer to make ours in a deeper tray for a taller pudding. Either way, the important thing is that they have deep indents, as distinct from a baking tray for making fairy cakes or dumplings. The indents on these trays are much shallower.
The idea here is that you can make 6 or 12 at once instead of baking them individually. It also avoids putting the mixture on a flat baking sheet in 12 dollops of mixture and praying it stays still during the baking. Using a specific baking tray for cupcakes should result in a better looking cake and is also a more efficient use of your time and energy!
The only real differences between the scores of cupcake trays you could choose from are typically:
- How many can it bake at once (usually 6 or 12);
- The material the tray is made from, which can include:
Another way of thinking about it is dark and light trays. Dark baking trays get hotter quicker (they absorb heat faster) which might affect your cupcakes.
Whilst it is true that buying baking trays for cupcakes isn’t the same as buying a computer or a car, nonetheless it is worth ensuring you are investing in the right tools for the job. We go into a lot of detail elsewhere on how to choose the best baking tray. For cupcakes specifically, what should your baking trays be made from? The material you choose has quite a bearing on the success of your bake. Will the cakes bake evenly? Will the cupcakes stick to the inside of the tray? How easy will it be to clean?
Baking Trays for Cupcakes – Aluminium/Steel
The most traditional and common material for cupcake trays.
- They are cheap to produce, good value, durable and conduct heat efficiently.
- Aluminium cupcake trays can come with a non-stick coating or without. Non-stick obviously means that the cupcakes should come out with ease.
- Aluminium is a lightweight material and so easy to transfer from the oven to the worktop even when full of mixture.
- Aluminium cupcake trays are pretty rust-resistant, with anodised aluminium offering greater corrosion resistance and durability.
- Carbonised steel trays are also very common, but arguably don’t distribute the heat as well as with aluminium – although there is little to choose between them now with modern manufacturing methods.
Baking Trays for Cupcakes – Silicone
A newer material which has come into favour over the last decade.
- Silicone can withstand oven temperatures. These materials have coatings on them and can withstand high temperatures. Interestingly it doesn’t retain heat, so your baked goods don’t continue to cook when you take them out of the oven (unlike metal trays).
- Silicone cupcake trays are dishwasher safe and easy to clean, and can be transferred easily from oven to freezer.
- Don’t fret, you won’t find chemicals seeping from the silicone into the cupcakes or muffins. The trays have a finish on them which makes them impervious to high temperatures.
- One disadvantage to silicone cupcake trays is that they aren’t as rigid as metal, so if you have an unsteady hand they can be difficult to move from the counter to the oven. We have started to see some silicone baking trays with a carbon/steel frame which makes them much sturdier – very clever.
- It is also worth noting that you shouldn’t use sharp knives or spatulas on a silicone cupcake tray, or you risk tearing the material. Ultimately they aren’t as durable as aluminium.
We recommend the following baking trays for cupcakes:
One of the best value baking trays for cupcakes. Built from durable carbonised steel, this cupcake tray measures 35cm x 26cm x 3cm, with the additional depth perfect for decent cupcakes. The tray has a non-stick coating which makes it easy to take your cupcakes out and is very easy to clean.
The non-stick coating is PTFE and BPA free, making it safer for you and your family. A great value, scratch-resistant cupcake tray.
A great addition to the Everyday Bakeware range by Prochef. This high-quality, non-stick cupcake or muffin tray allows 12 items to be baked at the same time. The baking tray is ovenproof up to 230 degrees and is suitable for all ovens. The cupcake tray is easy-to-use (suitable for fridge and freezer), easy-to-clean (suitable for dishwasher) and excellent value.
This high quality bakeware with its non-stick coating makes the perfect addition to the Everyday Bakeware by Prochef range. It is perfect for baking muffins. The tray allows 12 muffins to be baked at any one time.