I like to think that I’m capable of making cupcakes in my sleep, certainly after the burlesque show last year, I found myself wandering into the kitchen and reaching for Daisy the KitchenmAid without knowing what I was doing. I’ve spoken about the trials and tribulations and resulting controversy caused by cupcakes before but I, for one, am a big fan.
Another result of the burlesque show last year is that I gathered a tribe of extremely loyal burlesque-dancing fans. I adore my extremely loyal burlesque dancing fans and last week, I was asked to bake a cake for a photoshoot for Daria D’Beauvoix in which she wanted to poison someone in a 1940’s housewife style. This something I thought I could identify with and reminded me a little of Julianne Moore in The Hours and I idolise Julianne Moore and on very rare and deluded occasions, think I look like her in a pinny.
The requirements were an enormous cupcake with red and silver and so I set to work, without realising that I would probably end up investing more time in it than I have anything else this year! Hannah very kindly gave me her spare giant cupcake mould, available from Lakeland amongst other places, the one I used is from Tesco and is silicon which worked quite well as I could peel it from the finished cake but I’m getting ahead of myself because the finished cake was a long way away. The silicon Tesco one was £10 when I was in there yesterday which seems quite bargainous!
I started with my usual cupcake recipe but realised that it just wasn’t suited to the length of time needed to ensure it was cooked the entire way through so I moved over to this recipe which is specifically designed for making giant cupcakes. It’s a labour of love and not something to make if you’ve only got a quick half hour. The Tesco mould comes with a nifty little contraption so that you can put a layer of buttercream in the middle but this didn’t work at all for me, it sort of exploded in the oven with cake appearing through the little holes in the contraption which probably means I over filled the mould but I think you’d be forgiven for leaving it off and just slicing the top of your cake and buttercreaming the two layers together. I used my usual buttercream icing recipe which failed to work on the first three attempts but it was during the freezing weather last week and I just couldn’t get the butter to soften properly. In the end, I whacked it in the oven for a minute which did the job.
Another reason I would recommend the Tesco mould is the red silicon base actually make a rather attractive cupcake case and I recommended that this be left on for this reason. The metal cases just don’t have the same effect and as far as I can make out, there aren’t cupcake cases available in a big enough size yet. I ended up wielding the icing with a palette knife as a piping bag proved just too unwieldy with such a large surface area (it was at this point that I broke down in cupcake induced weeping and self doubt) which is a shame because I wanted to use the blended white and red icing which creates an amazing effect. I added red polka dots of icing to the white buttercream and silver edible glitter at intervals between the polka dots, although this doesn’t show extremely well in the photos. My housemate wandered past and declared it beautiful so I stopped tweaking it and packaged it up in a bespoke dog collar to keep it from getting damaged, jumped in a taxi and delivered it to their house.
Below is a picture taken by TwistedPix photgraphy from the shoot, it’s a bit small but beautifully taken:
The Giant Cupcake
- 450g softened butter
- 450g caster sugar
- 8 large eggs
- 450g self-raising flour
- 4 level tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp of vanilla
- 3 tbsp milk
- Giant cupcake tin
for the icing:
- 80g softened butter
- 500g icing sugar
- 100ml milk
- splash of vanilla essence
- Set the oven to 180ºC and if using a metal tin, grease the tin, if using silicon, you don’t have to grease the mould.
- Cream the butter and sugar and add the vanilla. Beat for about 5 minutes. Add one egg at a time with a third of the sieved flour and baking powder until it has gone then add the milk and beat slowly until it is mixed in.
- Place half of the mixture in each side of the tin to about ¾ full and bake for 50 mins. Times really depend on your own oven, so start to check the cake at 50 minutes, then every 10 minutes and do not remove from the oven until the cake is springy to the touch. This might take up to 1 hr 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool for 40 minutes before tipping out or removing the silicon . If the cake has overflowed or has risen too high don’t worry, you can trim this with a bread knife or a cake leveller. It’s easier to do this while it is still in the tin.
- Leave the cake for at least 2 hours to cool before decorating.
- To make the icing, whisk the butter and icing sugar until it forms a crumb. Add the milk and vanilla and whisk for 5 minutes until the icing is fluffy and light. Take the base and spread a thick layer of buttercream to sandwich the top to the base. You can then decorate the cake in which ever way takes your fancy.