How to Make a Giant 3D Cupcake
How we made a giant 3D cupcake 15cm tall, without using an expensive cupcake pan.
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, 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.
Below is how we made our giant Cupcake Cake without using a pan!
HOW TO MAKE A GIANT 3D CUPCAKE
250 g Unsalted Butter softened
300 g Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
6 Eggs lightly beaten
200 g Dark Chocolate melted
200 g Sour Cream
4 tablespoons Cocoa Powder sifted
200 g Self Raising Flour
250 g Almond Meal
100 ml Cream
200 g Dark Chocolate finely chopped
125 g Unsalted Butter softened
200 g Icing Sugar
2 tablespoons Milk
Food colouring of your choice
Sprinkles to decorate (we used M&Ms)
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (150 fan-forced; 340F). Grease the sides of both a 22 cm springform cake tin and a 22cm square cake tin. Line their bases with baking paper.
Cream the softened butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Whisk in the melted chocolate then the sour cream. Stir in the cocoa powder, flour and almond meal.
Split the cake batter evenly between the two cake tins. Scrape into the pans and smooth the tops. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 40 minutes. The cakes are ready when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool completely. Meanwhile, make the chocolate ganache and buttercream frosting.
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 to firm up to a spreadable paste.
Add the softened butter to the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk together until the butter is as pale and fluffy as possible. Slowly beat in the icing sugar and the milk. Add a few drops of food colouring and whisk together. Set aside.
Cut two 10 cm rounds from the square cake. These will be the cupcake base. We used a saucer as a template. Trim their tops so they are flat and even. Place the rest of the square cake and the whole 22cm round cake into the freezer to harden a little.
To form the cupcake base, spread some ganache on a cake board. Press one 10cm round cake piece on top. Spread an even layer of ganache on the cake piece, then press the second 10cm round cake piece on top.
Next, give the cupcake base a ruffled cupcake wrapper effect: using a palette knife spread more ganache around the sides of the cupcake base, patching any holes or uneven areas. Before the ganache sets use a knife or skewer to draw vertical lines in the ganache, to represent the frilly effect of a pattycake tin.
Make the cupcake dome: remove the rest of the 22cm square cake, and the 22cm round cake from the freezer. Cut one 15cm round, one 10cm round, and one 6 cm round from the cakes.
Stack the three dome pieces on top of each other from largest to smallest. Angle a long bread-knife along the diagonal plane of the three stacked edges. Cut all the edges so the cake pieces appear more like a dome than a stepped pyramid.
Spread ganache on the top of the cupcake base. Press the largest dome piece on top. Spread ganache on top and repeat for the remaining two dome pieces.
Fill the piping bag with buttercream frosting. Swirl frosting over the giant cupcake dome, starting from the base of the dome and working your way to the top.
Decorate as you desire. Use sprinkles, candy or M&Ms like we did here.
- If the ganache becomes too hard and is tearing your cake, gently reheat it in the microwave for 5 seconds at a time to soften it.