So I very briefly mentioned last week that it was Adam’s birthday. He got lots of attention between taking a day off from work, a dinner party, and his parents coming to visit. Bonus points for the awesome presents he got. His birthday also gave me a really great excuse to try out my new giant cupcake pan that I got with one of our left over wedding gift cards at Williams-Sonoma.
Instead of making the boring vanilla recipe they included with the pan, I decided to go all out: top layer in red velvet and bottom layer in German chocolate. Only problem? I don’t make cake from scratch. It’s too risky, especially on a short time frame. So I picked up some supplies, including boxed cake mix. Here’s how it went down.
I made both boxes of cake mix according to their directions. I went through lots of eggs.
Then I greased up the cake pan with some shortening. I happened to have vegetable in the house, not sure if that made any difference. I definitely put it on too thickly, as the cake had little spots of shortening on it when it popped out of the pan. So make sure its nice and spread evenly without any clumps of shortening. Then sprinkle with some flour. Again, too much flower. Clearly my erring on the side of caution was a bit too cautious. But the cake popped out really easily at the end!
Next step: fill up the pan. The directions said to fill it up to 1/2 inch below the top. I honestly would have done a little less filling in each one. My cakes were pretty far over the edge and it would have meant more cupcakes and less wasted cake that I had to cut off later.
Like this. The directions also said to try to get the sides of the batter up higher than the middle of the batter, but gravity wasn’t playing nice.
I had lots of left over batter, so I used it to fill up a few small cupcakes. There were 7 red velvet and 2 chocolate. I could have made fewer ones that were bigger, but this was clearly a learning process.
Now we’re skipping ahead to the end. The middle part was super messy and I wasn’t about to get cake all over my iPhone. Both cakes cooked in about 50 minutes and were super moist and fluffy and yummy.
You MUST let the cake cool to at least room temperature before trying to work with it. To decorate, I took a bread knife and cut off the tops so they were level. Layer on some icing and stick the top of the cupcake up there. It’ll fit pretty well and you’ll be slathering it in more icing anyway.
Ok, so it looks like a hobbit hole covered in sprinkles. THIS is why you don’t use store icing. The icing I bought was too thick so it tore the cake every time I tried to spread it. Little cake bits were going everywhere. I had to keep putting more and more icing on to cover up the cake pieces.
So if anyone has a good icing recipe (or tips for icing a cake) let me know. I think a homemade icing mix would be thinner and more spreadable, so definitely go that route. It’s worth it. If only so you can see the molding of the pan instead of a hobbit hole. Any takers on a cake decorating class?
I should mention the sprinkle process. I had seen images of cakes COVERED in nonpareil sprinkles (those little tiny colorful balls that you see on the bottom half of the cake) and wanted to try to get that look. The sprinkles also conveniently covered up the cake pieces stuck into the icing.
I put the cake onto the cake platter before icing it and used the platter to sprinkle it. Holding the platter at about a 30 degree angle, I shook out sprinkles super close to the cake. Daphne and Sherlock only got to lick up a few strays from the floor. I used the same process with the larger sprinkles on the top half.
Honestly I’m impressed with myself that the cake was so good. The decorating part may need some work, but that’s ok. It was only mildly stressful, and now that I’ve done it once it will be easier to do again.
Does anyone have any good cake decorating tips? Would you try this giant cupcake cake?