Happy Birthday Maz!!!
My housemate and I made this Giant Cupcake, measuring 10cm x 15 cm, for our friend’s birthday. To celebrate, she declared March 4 as “Happy Cupcake Day!”, where friends were invited to bake or buy a cupcake and post a photo to her Facebook wall.
Being a special occasion, we wanted to do something epic, and I think we pulled it off!
The plan was to make a regular-sized cupcake decorated in pink swirly frosting and M&Ms and post that one first, then spring the giant replica surprise.
While googling images for inspiration, we discovered they actually make cake tins for epic cupcake construction. And if you have some spare change and some sanity, then a Wilton Giant Cupcake Pan is for you.
Being poor students, however, and up for the challenge of doing it completely from scratch, we channelled our inner architect and came up with the blueprint:
We wanted the cake to be firm enough to be shapeable without crumbling, but without the density of a mud cake either. This chocolate cake recipe by Australia’s ‘Gourmet Farmer’ Matthew Evans is a happy medium, containing melted chocolate and almond meal while still being quite light (you can watch Matthew baking this cake here)
YOU WILL NEED
makes one 22cm cake
125 g good quality unsalted butter, softened
150 g brown sugar (could also use white sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (I noticed he used Vanilla bean paste in his video)
100 g dark chocolate, melted
100 g sour cream
2 tablespoons cocoa
100 g self-raising flour
125 g almond meal
One 22cm Springform Cake tin
One 22 cm Square Cake tin
M&Ms, or other candy to decorate
Piping Bag with large star-shaped nozzle
200 g dark chocolate, broken into small bits (we decided on a dark cupcake base instead of tinted)
Make The Cakes
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 22cm springform cake tin and a 22cm square cake tin.
Make a cake batter for each tin. Cream the butter and sugar with the vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at time. Beat in the chocolate, then the sour cream until just combined. Fold in the sifted cocoa and flour and then the almond meal. Scrape into the cake tin and smooth the top a bit. Bake for about 40 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave on a wire rack to cool.
Make The Ganache
Meanwhile, make the chocolate ganache, which will be used to glue the cupcake together. Mix the chocolate pieces and cream in a microwave-proof bowl and heat on high for 40 seconds. Whisk together. If there are still a few unmelted bits of chocolate, put back in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate until almost a thick paste.
Cut & Assemble
Cut two 10 cm rounds from the square cake (we used a saucer as a template). Trim the tops on both so they are flat. Place the rest of the square cake and the whole round cake into the freezer to harden.
To form the base, glue the bottom round piece to a large plate with ganache, and glue the second piece on top. Using a palette knife, spread ganache around the base, patching any holes or uneven areas. If the ganache is too hard and tearing your cake, whizz in the microwave for 5 seconds at a time to soften.
Before the ganache sets, use a knife or skewer to press lines in the side, to represent the frilly effect of a pattycake tin.
To form the dome, remove the round cake from the freezer. Cut one 15 cm round shape and smaller 10 cm & 6 cm round shapes from the remaining square cake.
Stack the three pieces and angle a long serrated bread-knife along the three edges. Drag the knife along the three edges simultaneously to soften the corners. Keep trimming as necessary to achieve a dome-like shape. Spread ganache on the top of the base and glue the largest circle on top. Spread ganache on top and repeat for the remaining two circles.
Fill a piping bag with the remaining ganache, and pipe into the crevices where each circle joins to soften these corners. Build the ganache outwards and upwards.
Make a buttercream and tint to the colour of your choice. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large star tip with frosting and swirl around the dome, starting from the biggest circle and working your way to the top.
Finish with decorations of your choice. We used M&Ms to try to maintain the scale between the large and regular cupcake, which featured mini M&Ms.