The Giant Cupcake Debate

Cupcakes are huge right now and have been for several years. Some are literally huge as in the picture of my giant cupcake!

I bought this mold from Sur La Table over the summer for the fun of it. There was no event to bake for. I was just curious to bake one of these gigantic cupcakes (or else I was terribly bored). I do think it would be great to bake for a child’s birthday. It is a cute idea.

There is one recipe for a chocolate pound cake that comes in the cardboard wrapping around the cupcake mold. This is a Wilton product, so I naturally assumed there would be more information (recipes, tips, etc.) on their website. However, there is only limited information with the same recipe and some tips from bloggers.

My first thought was why did they not break this pan in to 2 sections? It does not take a professional cake baker to see that one side holds more batter (the base) and is larger and therefore, will require more baking time than the other (the top). I also had the additional problem of being at 4,000 feet plus and was obviously concerned with high altitude baking issues.

After all of the reading and being totally confused, I decided to go ahead with the chocolate pound cake recipe that came with pan. Who, after all, would know better than Wilton what worked for their cake pan??

Click here to link to the recipe.

Well, of course, I ran into problems with this recipe. The batter was WAY too much for the pan. I filled the halves as suggested, but the batter ran over the top of both sides while cooking. I am sure that this should have been a really moist cake, but due to the fact that I had to keep the pan in the oven longer to get the bottom half to cook completely, the top dried out (not a surprise). It took the full 70 minutes (as suggested in the recipe). Now would this have been different at sea level? I really don’t think so. There is just more batter to cook on one side. You would not know there were problems by looking at the cake (pictured above), but it was just not up to snuff. It was just okay.

I decided I would try this again when we were not at 4,000 feet and this time I would take some of the suggestions of the bloggers and use a cake mix and make a recipe that mixed a few of the suggestions into one. I do not bake cakes on a regular basis. Who needs to be eating this stuff anyway? But now I was on a mission to find a better option should I want to have a successful giant cupcake in the future for one reason or another.

Here is my recipe:

Giant Cupcake

1 package Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe French Vanilla Cake Mix
1 package Jello Cook and Serve Vanilla Pudding
1 cup whole milk
4 large eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup unsalted, melted butter, cooled

Mix as directed on box, which is to blend dry and wet ingredients on low for 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.

I ended up with about 6 cups of batter. I sprayed the pan with Pam with flour (works like a charm!). I filled the bottom half with 3 cups and the top half with 2 cups and then split the remaining batter with more going to the bottom half. The bottom half was placed toward the back of the oven. The rack was in the middle of the oven. I cooked the cake at 325 degrees (verified by an oven thermometer). This is what happened.

At 25 minutes (what some bloggers suggested as total cooking time), the cake was no where near done, but the bottom half (in the back of the oven) was browning quickly, so I covered it with aluminum foil. This was a mistake as the batter was still so loose the weight of the foil caused the batter to spill over the pan.

At 35 minutes and a mess in my oven, still not done. At 45 minutes, the top part of the cake was done. I put the pan back in for 5 more minutes. Voila! Both sides were cooked perfectly! I let the pan sit on a rack for 15 minutes. The cake released perfectly. I cooled both halves, trimmed the excess, frosted, and decorated the cake.

The cake was moist and evenly cooked. It was really quite tasty (for a box mix). I was prepared to test another cake and bake the halves separately, which I am sure would work perfectly, but it certainly is preferable to bake the cake all at once. The cake is also the right texture to hold the weight of the top of the cake and frosting. I prefer cakes from scratch, but I have to say this was a pretty good cake! So, when you are need of a larger cupcake, give this recipe a try.

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