The Giant Cupcake

And it really was giant. 

I was asked to bake a cake for my best friend's surprise leaving party on the weekend, and I knew there was only one type of cake I could do for such an occasion. A giant cupcake, for someone who loves baking and making cakes - perfect.

The cake consisted of a vanilla sponge for the base and top, with a chocolate buttercream icing in between the two. The base was covered in melted chocolate and I 'piped' (if you can call it that) some  chantilly cream around the top of the cake. If you saw my Pavlova post, you will know that I prefer to use Elmlea double to double cream, because it doesn't really make a difference in the taste or the way it whips, it's just lower in fat. Oh and then I covered the top in brightly coloured sprinkles :)

I bought a silicon mould off ebay for a fiver and did a practice run the week before, by doubling up my standard cupcake ingredients. It did the job but needed a *little* more mixture to really fill the moulds after the cake had risen, so I added 50g sugar, fat and flour and one extra egg. It was very much a guessing game but I did some research and knew that the cake would take about an hour in the oven.

I've never used a cake mould like this before so it was all new to me but it turned out pretty well. It was also my first time using a silicon cake mould, and I have to say I was very impressed. I'm glad I did a practice run because I learnt I still needed to grease the mould to minimise the cake 'crust' - if you will - coming away from the rest of the cake.

The cake went down a treat and despite my shoddy piping work (the sudden realisation that I didn't have the correct piping nozzle for what I wanted and decided to go without altogether, don't shoot me). I got the brightly coloured sprinkles from Home Sense in their food section, I've been after some really bright ones for ages and when I spotted these I *had* to get them. I think they add a sense of fun to the cake without looking too gaudy.

Giant Cupcake

What you will need:

Vanilla Sponge
350g Soft Margarine or Unsalted Butter (softened)
350g Caster Sugar
7 medium eggs - I know, you could *probably* get away with 6 though
350g Self-Raising Flour
3 tsp of Vanilla Essence
4 tbsp Semi-Skimmed Milk

Chocolate 'Case'
150g Plain Cooking Chocolate

Chocolate Buttercream Icing Filling
150g softened butter
300g Icing sugar
50g Cocoa Powder
2 tbsp Semi-Skimmed Milk

Chantilly Cream Topping
284ml Double Elmlea/Cream
50g Icing Sugar
1 tbsp Vanilla Essence
Sprinkles (optional)

What you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 160c (fan oven)
Grease the two parts of the cake mould
Cream the butter/marg together with the sugar until pale and fluffy
Whisk the eggs together in a separate bowl/jug
Weigh and sieve the flour
Add the egg and flour to the mixture, alternating between the two, mixing in between each bit added
When all of the egg and flour has been mixed in thoroughly, add in the vanilla and the milk
Place the moulds on a baking tray
Split the cake mixture between the two parts of the mould, the base will obviously need more
Put in the oven and let bake for 45 mins
After 45 mins turn the heat down to 140c (fan oven)
After 10 mins, use a wooden skewer to check if the top part of the cake is baked, if not leave for another 10 mins and check again but it should be ready to take out
Leave the base in for another 15 mins and do the same with the skewer and remove from the oven when baked
When you are satisfied that both parts of the cake are cooled, slowly peel away the silicon mould so as not to damage the cake in anyway
Leave to cool

When full cool, level the cakes out by slicing off the rounded ends with a bread knife, this will ensure the cakes sit straight on one another

Turn the base of the cake upside down on the cooling rack, place a plate underneath
Melt the plain chocolate in a bain marie, slowly so as not to expose the chocolate to extreme heats
Cover the base of the cake with the chocolate by letting the chocolate run down the sides, making sure the cake is fully covered
Leave to set, do not put it in the fridge, we want to avoid extreme temperatures

Whilst the chocolate is setting on the cake - it will cake a while, you can get started on your butter cream
Make sure your icing sugar and cocoa is sieved to avoid any lumps, add all the ingredients and mix together
Once the chocolate on the base as set, carefully turn it the right way round onto a cake board
Using a palette knife, cover the top of the base (confusing) with the buttercream and make sure it's level
Place the top of the cake on top and make sure it's sitting straight
Feel free to place in the fridge to set the buttercream so it doesn't slip and slide around everywhere

Here is where having a KitchenAid or stand mixer is so handy
Pour your cream into a bowl and whisk, until it starts thickening
Add the icing sugar and vanilla and carry on whisking
Be careful you want it to be just stiff enough to pipe without it making an utter mess and dribbling down the cake (sorry that's the only way I could think of to describe)
Use a wide round tip piping nozzle, or whatever you like and pipe, pipe, pipe away
A cake turntable would be really handy here or a glamorous assistant to help turn the cake whilst you pipe
Finish with sprinkles or cover with melted chocolate or just do whatever you wish

And there you have it, this cake takes some time to create but it's worth it in the end and you get to practice a number of skills to put it together.

I think this is now my favourite type of celebration cake :)