Quick and Easy Camping Cupcakes

cupcakes
Cupcakes at the campsite–fast, easy, delicious.

Look at these cupcakes!  Aren’t they gorgeous? Considering they were done at a campsite? And so quick and easy, too.

For some time now I have been wanting to try using a Dutch oven to make cupcakes, but I wasn’t sure how to manage it.  My cupcake tins are too big to fit in my 12″ Dutch ovens, and my custard cups are breakable and bulky for taking to the campsite. You have to draw the line somewhere when transporting items to a campsite, and I chose breakable custard cups.

So what can you use when camping, to make cupcakes?

Enter the silicon baking cup.  These babies are soft and easily transported and are a great solution for baking in a dutch oven.

 

For the sake of convenience(because if you can’t while camping then why), I chose an instant mix.  This is actually a lemon poppy-seed quick bread mix, but you can use muffin mix or cake mix as well.  I happen to love lemon poppy-seed loaf and it was also on sale, so win-win. You can also make your own cake batter at the camp site if you love to bake and/or prefer home-made from scratch. The mix I used called for a couple of eggs and some oil and water.  I mixed that up and put it in a jar to bring with me so all I had to do was pour it in the bowl and blend with the envelope of mix:

 

 

A jar with ready-made ingredients for cupcakes
Water, oil, eggs for instant mix–just put in a jar, shake and take. Store in the cooler until you’re ready to use it.
bowls for making cupcakes in
Pretty melamine bowls like this are lovely to have camping, but you can use an empty ice cream bucket, a big plastic bowl, or even a large ziploc bag–anything where you can hold all the ingredients in and mix it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

silicon baking cups in a cake pan
You can fit 7 silicon baking cups in a 9″ cake pan. Pop some paper cupcake liners into them and give them (the paper ones) a quick spray with Pam(not necessary if liners are parchment paper), then fill with batter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What To Do Next

Once I put the cupcake liners into the silicon baking cups, I gave them a quick spray with Pam. You can use anything on the paper sleeves; just make sure they have a thin coating of oil on them (inside the liner; if fat comes in contact with the silicon baking cup it will discolor) so that they are really easy to peel away from the cupcakes once baked. You can also buy parchment paper cupcake liners; then you don’t have to spray them.  Much easier. Fill with batter.

Round cooling racks work great in a dutch oven, and you can get them at the dollar store.
Notice the little round rack in the bottom of the dutch oven? I found mine at the dollar store so check there if you can, before spending extra bucks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place your pan of baking cups on a rack inside your Dutch oven and cover with tinfoil, then pop the lid on.  You don’t really need the tin foil, but if you tip the lid when checking on the cupcakes you run the risk of ash falling in on top of them.  The tinfoil helps prevent that. Another good idea is getting a lid lifter.  That makes it easier to lift that very, very hot, coal-encrusted lid, which can be tricky to do even with heavy duty gloves.

Briquettes

You can add coals from the campfire, but if you want total control of the temperature, take along BBQ briquettes. Add the necessary number of briquettes on the top and underneath the Dutch oven for 350°, which will vary according to the size of the Dutch oven you have. (Mine are 12″) You can check out the number of briquettes you need for the size of the Dutch oven you have here. Depending on the ambient temperature, whether or not the pot was cold when the cups went in, and a dozen other factors, your cupcakes or muffins may take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to bake.  Just keep checking every ten or fifteen minutes. Mine took an hour. They looked fabulous when they came out. Tasty, too!

Speaking of Dutch ovens–if you’re just getting into cooking with them, or even if you’re thinking of buying another one, check out these five tips to help you decide what to do.