My sister commissioned me with making the cake for my niece, Audrey, when she was about to turn 2 this month. I had toyed with the idea of making a giant cupcake using this Wilton pan. What more could delight a toddler for a birthday cake? The cake pan comes with a recipe for a chocolate pound cake, but some comments online confirmed my suspicions that it was dense and not tasty. So I found a red velvet recipe another blogger had made using the pan.
Would I recommend the pan? Nope. Cute as it is, there are a few issues. You can't use just any cake recipe because the batter might not be enough to fill the pan with. The top portion of the cake bakes faster than the bottom. The outside of the cake could be done before the inside finishes baking because it's tall. You should really frost or fill the bottom of the cake also, unless your cake is ultra-moist. And since it's so tall, it won't fit in most cake domes or containers. But if the sight of a cute giant cupcake seizes you with impulse to go buy the pan, you've got company.
Decorating was also more difficult than I'd anticipated. And I had little time to devote to it, since a certain little person thought I was her personal toy. She would command me, too: "Come on! Lai!" Bossy, but it was too funny. Here I went with a chocolate frosting on bottom adorned with candy sprinkles, and piped regular cream cheese frosting on top. It looked like a mess, unfortunately. And there wasn't enough frosting. So on my second try, which you can see in the photo at the top of this post, I adapted a different decorating technique: Keep it simple, stupid.
Luckily for me, 2-year-olds are not as discerning when it comes to design, and Audrey loved this cake. She ate bite after bite, and ran over to Grandpa so he could sneak her some extra cake. The second time I made enough frosting, and filled the bottom for a better frosting-to-cake ratio. I like the larger-than-normal portion of cocoa, and I used Guittard for an intense cocoa flavor. It ends up tasting a little more chocolaty than red velvet usually does.
If anybody has used this particular pan (and not the silicone ones), I would be grateful for any other recommended recipes or tips.
Giant Red Velvet Cupcake
Adapted from I Heart Cuppycakes
3½ cups cake flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ tsp salt
2 cups canola oil
1¾ cups sugar
3 large eggs
Half bottle red food coloring
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1¼ cups buttermilk, well-shaken
2 tsp baking soda
2½ tsp white vinegar
For cream cheese frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
16 oz (2 bars) cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray the inside of the Giant Wilton Cupcake pan with cooking spray and lightly dust with flour.
In a large bowl, sift the cake flour, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater, combine the oil and sugar. Beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly add the food coloring and vanilla extract, avoiding splashing.
Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. In a small bowl, stir the baking soda and vinegar and add to the mixer. Beat for about 10 seconds so everything is thoroughly combined.
Fill the bottom of cupcake about two-thirds full and bake for 20 minutes. Fill the top of cupcake (I poured enough batter so it left one ring at the rim exposed) and bake the whole thing for an additional 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The top will overbake if you bake both at the same time. You'll have a bit of batter left over. Let it cool for 15 minutes before unmolding onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.
Combine the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until smooth, then on low speed slowly add the sugar. Beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract.
To assemble the cake, cut the domed parts so they are flat: the top of the cupcake "bottom," and the bottom of the cupcake "top." You may want to dig out some of the middle of the cupcake "bottom" to fill with frosting. Top the cupcake "bottom" with some frosting, then set the cupcake "top" on it. Apply a thin layer of frosting to make a crumb coat, then refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm up and set. Finish piping or spreading frosting, and decorate as desired. If at any time the frosting is too soft to work with, refrigerate until desired firmness.