Anyone wishing to make muffins will need a collection of containers in which to bake them, and though a couple of decades ago muffin cases were simple round shapes, usually indentations in a tray to cook a dozen, nowadays there are many different varieties available.
About Muffin Cases and Muffins
Muffins are thought to have originated as a form of cake back in the eleventh century, though some sources suggest it was a century before that. However, as they developed over the centuries they became more standardized, and eventually using muffin cases became the normal way of baking them. The name is derived from the French word, 'moufflet', and a muffin is generally not as sweet as its smaller cousin, the cupcake. Muffins can be eaten at any time of the day, but are generally consumed as an afternoon tea treat or when a snack is needed at work or with a cup of coffee.
UK and USA
There is a difference between American and UK muffins, though today UK muffins tend to be similar to American ones, like a large version of a cupcake. Traditional UK muffins are more bread-like, being made with yeast or baking powder and are usually flat. However, muffin cases are better suited to the American style cake, and they can also be used to make the classic English recipe of Yorkshire Pudding. Muffins very rarely come without something added to them. In America, one of the most popular types is the blueberry muffin, and all over the world the chocolate chip muffin is renowned. Cooks can put practically any sweet ingredient they like into a muffin recipe, and when baking with children, it is a good way to encourage them to experiment.
Muffin Case Materials
Available in a variety of materials, muffin cases come suited to any baker's personal needs.
Using muffin cases made of greaseproof paper means that the finished muffins will not stick to their containers. Greaseproof paper is impermeable to grease or oil so it repels fat and helps prevent food from sticking. Used in many types of cooking, and also for packaging food, greaseproof paper is usually made by refining the paper and creating a sheet that has a very low porosity. Liquids or fats are unable to attach themselves to the paper during cooking, allowing the baked product to be lifted easily away from its container. Greaseproof paper also comes in rolls and is used to line tins and roasting trays where there is a need for a non-stick surface.
Silicone is a soft and pliable synthetic material, formed from chains of silicone and oxygen atoms. The material is good for coating muffin cases because it is resistant to chemical attack. It also does not react when there are changes in temperature. Silicone polymers are used in a number of different products, including the manufacture of polishes, lubricants, rubber, and plastics. Most products that are silicone-based are non-stick, so they are hard to damage or tear. They are a good option when deciding to choose what type of muffin cases to buy.
Thousands of years ago, tin was in use as an alloy in the manufacture of bronze. It is one of the world's major metals and is mined to this day in very large quantities. In the UK, tin mining was concentrated in the county of Cornwall for a long time, however, the mines became exhausted and discoveries of the metal in a number of other countries, such as China, led to production moving overseas. The metal is often used as a coating for other metals, being very resistant to corrosion. Tin is a very flexible material and so is well suited for making shapes suitable for muffin cases.
Aluminium, a very light metal, is the most abundant metal available in the earth. It is derived mainly from bauxite, and despite its lightness is strong and resists corrosion. Domestic utensils are often made from aluminium, and it is used in a foil version for wrapping foods or to line roasting trays when cooking. Aluminium foil baking cups are readily available on eBay for cooking muffins.
A synthetic material made from a number of different organic polymers, such as nylon, PVC, and polyethylene; plastic is a material that can be moulded into different shapes while it is soft. It can be set into a rigid form or one that is slightly elastic. There are no corrosion problems with plastic, and because it can be easily shaped into many different forms, a wide variety of containers and cases for muffins can be made. Plastic is not suitable for cooking, but muffins can be presented and kept fresh by using plastic muffin cases.
Choosing a Muffin Case
Muffin cases come in a very wide range of shapes and sizes. Small muffin cases could also be used for cupcakes, so cooks looking to double up on what they buy may want to bear this in mind. For the larger muffin, probably the most familiar type, there are now a huge number of options that can be explored on eBay. Muffin cases can be as simple or as elaborate as the cook chooses, so regular bakers may decide to pick a plain case made of greaseproof paper that can be discarded, or a reusable tin that will hold a dozen muffins and pay for itself time and time again. There are plenty of more exotic choices to make muffins look at their best when presented, so depending on what is wanted, there are colourful variants and different shapes to choose from.
Aluminium Foil Muffin Cases
Often called metallic muffin cases, these are perfect for holding in heat from the baking process. They do not stick to the muffin and can, if treated carefully, be used more than once, though they are usually discarded after a single use. They come in a variety of colours, and can also be decorated with seasonal motifs.
Greaseproof Paper Muffin Cases
The non-stick elements of these types of cases are ideal for novice cooks new to baking, and are also just right for children. Greaseproof muffin cases come in a range of attractive decorations, including gingerbread men, Santas, cakes, and snowflakes.
Tin Muffin Cases
To make the best use of tin muffin cases, unless they are non-stick, add a little butter or oil before adding the muffin mixture to ensure the muffins will not stick. Tins can produce great muffins, and the usual configuration is to have a dozen cups for the muffins in one tray. Tin muffin cases are also reusable, so following the initial outlay they are good for many years, provided they are of decent quality and cleaned properly after use. Although generally used for muffins, tin muffin cases are also used to cook Yorkshire Puddings, the great British accompaniment to roast beef. Both containers are interchangeable and can be searched for separately, so it will be easy finding muffin cases on eBay.
Buying a Muffin Case
Buying muffin cases on eBay is straightforward providing some simple guidelines are observed. Buyers must have an idea of what they want from their muffin cases, carry out the online research on eBay thoroughly and, where necessary, ask questions of the seller. If the buyer does not have an eBay account, it is a simple process to get one. eBay provides step-by-step information on how to register and when that is active the process of buying muffin cases can start.
Find Muffin Cases on eBay
To find muffin cases on eBay, either use the search box at the top of the page to enter specific search terms, or drill down through eBay's Category listings. To do the former, merely enter the desired type of muffin case in the search box. To explore the Category function, click on the Category drop down next to search and select Home, Furniture and DIY. From there, click on Cookware, Dining & Bar, click through to Bakeware & Ovenware then either use the search box to enter a term or click on Muffin Pans & Baking Moulds.
The type of muffin cases to choose comes down to what the cook is planning to do. The occasional baking of muffins only requires disposable cases, though if they are for a special occasion there is plenty of choice to enhance the presentation. If muffin baking is a regular part of family life, then buying muffin tins may be more appropriate as they can always be used for other baked items, such as deep-filled mince pies.