Sunday, September 20, 2009

Allie and the Giant Rainbow Cupcake

I pretty much demanded the Wilton Giant Cupcake pan for my birthday this year, and my niece's second birthday was the time to try it out. (I think I might have even begged to be allowed to make the cake, before I owned the pan.) For size perspective, see photo op with the normal-sized cupcakes. I had lots of ideas for how to make the cupcake, since decorating options are unlimited. I knew I didn't want to frost the bottom part, because I wanted the ridges of the pan to be obvious. I also knew I wanted a lot of color for the cake. Enter idea to try out not only my first ever cake in this pan, but my first ever attempt at a rainbow cake. Who needs to try things one at a time? Not me!

The mother of the birthday girl had said she wanted chocolate cake, though, so the top of the cake is chocolate. The birthday girl herself is a big fan of candy. I actually bought Mike and Ikes to use as giant sprinkles, but that didn't work out because they were a tropical variety of the candy, and the colors were pastel. Not what I was going for in this cake, but I'll definitely use them in the future. Besides, Jules loves M&Ms.

Now, this cake was not without it's own small disasters. I wanted a deep chocolate cake--something like a devil's food cake. After a lot of searching the internets, I decided on Hershey's Black Magic cake (which I've never made). Verdict: delicious, if you like impossibly spongy, soft cake. That can't stand the weight of itself, never mind of frosting. The normal-sized cupcakes were fine, but the giant cupcake top? Fell to pieces! I was so irritated that I didn't even take pictures. I promptly Googled "sturdy chocolate cake" and eventually decided on the Wilton recipe that came with the pan. Brilliant.

Now, about the rainbow-ing. I made a basic white cake recipe, because I wanted the colors to be pure, so there were no egg yolks involved (bonus: using up the million egg whites I always have leftover from all my ice cream making). Since I was pretty sure chocolate and rainbow cake would not bake at remotely the same pace, I made them separately, filling the opposite side of the pan with water. The rainbow cake. Baked. For. Forever. Seriously, I think it was more than 90 minutes. However, what came out was lovely and dense and very tasty. So I can't complain. (The cupcakes from the same batch were much lighter; the density is probably a result of the over-stirring to add the color, the waterbath next to it, and the temperature). I baked it at a very low temperature, because I wanted to avoid too much goldening on the outside, so that the colors would still be vivid. It was moderately successful, although I did trim at some of the ridges to brighten it up. Since I didn't frost it, I poked several holes into the bottom, and filled it with frosting, just to ensure it wouldn't be dry. And because everyone loves frosting.

Then I simply topped with the (second) chocolate cake, with a layer of frosting-glue between them. I gave the top a crumb coating, then finished with frosting swirls and M&Ms. The birthday girl herself wasn't too into it, but the adults at the party seemed pleased. Me? I can't wait to make the cake again...I have so many more ideas for it!