Monday, July 11, 2011

Giant Cupcake Tutorial

Happy Birthday Kelly!!
One of my sweet friends is having her birthday today!!! So, I made her her very own cupcake!! I took it over and spent a few hours hang'n out with her and her 9 month old identical twin boys this morning! WOW, are they ever CUTE!! I keep telling my baby girl she needs to call dibs on one of them soon!! ;)
I was housebound yesterday because my brother and sister in law took their kids and my two oldest kids to Eugene to meet up with their grandparents, in our van! So, I didn't have a vehicle...my older two kids were gone and my husband was at church...hmmmm, what to do, what to do!? When the mice are away, the cat will play!! And, play I did!! I played "cake lady" for my wonderful friend Kelly!!Like my strawberry!? :) It's made of modeling chocolate. I formed it in my palm, then used a toothpick to make the little seed marks. Fun! :)

I've seen these giant cupcakes and honestly, I totally forgot you can buy a Wilton mold pan to make them...until today when Kelly said, "Oh, those pans are so cool!" Whoops!!! LOL!! - how dumb am I! See blog readers...I'm still learning too! :) So, instead of spending 6-7 hours making this, I could have spent 2! :) Oh well...gave me lots of time to pray over my friend and the new ministry her and her husband are starting! That is one fabulous thing about making cakes...lots of time to think...and pray - especially with no kiddos around! :)

I decided to do a tutorial on this sweet little cupcake...again, before I realized there was a pan! :) If you don't want to carve your own cupcake, buy this: Wilton Giant Cupcake Pan. They sell them at Micheal's too, so with your 50% off coupon you can get one for $10! - and save yourself some time. Although, as with any mold, you are limited to that specific size. If you'd like one bigger/smaller here are some step by step instructions to make your own.

Of course there were many trials along the way, and mainly because of the medium I was using. Let me explain...see below:

First off, here is a little list of the tools I used for this
The circle cutters were used for cutting the cake. The plastic scraper was used to smooth the buttercream along the sides of the cake/swirl. I needed something flexible. If you don't have a flexible scraper, you can fold up wax paper several times and use that over contours. In fact, I did that during the last coat on the swirl part. I used the piping bag filled with buttercream to help add more buttercream along the top/swirl area.


Let's talk the cupcake base. I made the cake in two pieces...the bottom "cup" part, and the top "swirl" part. Here's the bottom how-tos...see pic above.
I used a 6" board to cut two pieces of cake for the top and middle tier of the cup, and a 5" circle cutter for the bottom tier and to cut out a cake board for the base of the cake.


Yum, red velvet! - one of Kelly's favorites! I found an incredible recipe from the Pastry Queen's book...it's Y.U.M.M.Y!!! x's 100!! Click here for the recipe. I baked the cake in a half-sheet pan since I was going to be cutting out lots of different sized circles.


I stacked up my three tiers upside down, with buttercream in between the layers, then leveled it. I put it in the freezer at this point because the buttercream was super soft. After about 30 minutes I took it out of the freezer and carved into what looks like a flower pot! :) I turned it over and gave it a smooth crumb coat.I put it in the fridge again, and got out my modeling chocolate. I made sixteen 4.5" high chocolate sticks for the side of the cake. This is the part I would NOW completely change. I would NOT use modeling chocolate. It hardened up and would not stay stuck to the buttercream. I would use fondant at this point if I did it over again. The other thing about the modeling chocolate that ended up happening is because it was so firm, and the "sticks" stuck out from the cake, it tore the red modeling chocolate I had tried to put around the outside. So, use fondant! :)

I cut a circle of modeling chocolate for the top so it would look like a chocolate cupcake. I actually intended on having the swirl stay inside the cupcake like a real cupcake. I don't ever see frosting overlapping the base of a cupcake so I was trying to make it look realistic. However, it looked horrible seeing the tops of the sticks...I'll explain what I did about that later! :)

After I put the little chocolate sticks on, I rolled my red modeling chocolate out and tried wrapping it around the cake. Even as thin as I rolled it, it was so heavy that it pulled all the sticks off! So, I started over and decided to drape the modeling chocolate over the cake, and that's when it just tore as soon as it touched the chocolate sticks. URGH! So, the third time, I flipped the cake over, rolled the red modeling chocolate into a strip, rolled the strip up and put it on the cake a few inches at a time pressing it into the buttercream as I unrolled it. This worked because it didn't pull the sticks off and it adhered to the buttercream. Whew! - it wasn't as nice as I would have liked it, but after three attempts, this mama was done! D.O.N. Done! :) hehe

Now, the problem was when I flipped it back over, the top looked horrible. You could see the tops of the sticks and I just didn't like that look! So, I made a whole bunch of red modeling chocolate pearls and put a few layers of them along the top of the cake to hide it...as seen here:

But, I didn't really like the look of that after I stared at it for a few hours (yes, I am way TOO much of a perfectionist! - my husband always says, "It looks great...just stop!" hehe). So, I pulled them all off and decided to add another rope of "Buttercream"/fondant to stack my swirl cake on...the final product. Next time, I'll be making my little swirl a bit bigger than the top of the cup, so I won't have those issues again!

Onto the swirl:
I used my circle cutters to cut out three more circles 5", 3.5" and 2" in diameter. I stacked them with some buttecream and shaved/carved the corners off.

I used my piping bag to add more buttercream to the edges of each layer to emphasize the swirl look. I used some wax paper folded up in several layers to smooth the curves out.
I then stuck it in the fridge to firm up. After about 30 min, I got it out, touched up/smoothed out the buttercream even more, rolled out my fondant and laid it over the cake. I realized because of the contours in the cake, air bubbles gathered in those insets and I had to use a needle at the base of each swirl to get the air out so it would sit tight against the buttercream and give me a nice contour.
One new thing I tried that I LOVED was to use a left over piece of fondant (from the scraps after I trimmed the cake) to smooth the cake. I kneaded it up, put it in my fingers, and used the fondant to smooth the fondant on the cake. It gave it this beautiful satiny look and took all the cornstarch off. LOVED it!

And, here's the final product again...with FOUR swirls, not three! I liked the fourth swirl better than the "pearls"...looked more realistic.
So, if you've got some time and want a truly "custom" giant cupcake, I hope these instructions will help you!! :) Thanks for looking!!!

32 comments:

  1. Oh the time and talent you have ... amazing! You are an incredible artist girl!!!!

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  2. Too cute!! Not loving my wilton pan. Need to try the ganache method on that one to keep the ridges. I am especially impressed by the perfect chocolate sticks!! How did you do that???

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  3. that is the cutest cupcake cake i have ever seen!! your works is so neat and polished; great job!

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  4. What a cute cake! You are very talented!

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  5. just wondering how you added the fourth swirl?

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  6. hrob: I just rolled a big rope of white fondant and wrapped it around the top of the cupcake, then laid the frosting top on top of it. :) I cheated! :)

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  7. Great tutorial! How many servings would this be? Thanks.

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  8. Hi Jessica! loved the giant cupcake ! and the fact that you're sooo meticulous! just wanted to ask you.. is there a reason you prefer this method to the wilton giant cupcake pan?

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  9. Unknown: Thanks! :) There is no reason other than I don't own that pan and if you wanted another size...bigger/smaller...then this would be how to do it! :) I was goofing around and wanted to try it without the pan so I could determine the look. But, you'd save yourself some time by getting the Wilton pan! :)

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    1. Heyy thanks a ton for replying back! you're right about the size variation! :) I guess to save time the wilton pan would be a good buy! Take care :)

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  10. I just loved your tutorial!! I've been searcing for it on the net for couple of days, and you just made my day!! I know it's easy to buy the pan, but why buy something you going to use 1-2ce, rather make it yourself and save some bucks! thanks again for sharing!!!! <3

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  11. wow, you are such a talented artist! A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!

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  12. this is amazing, thanks for the tutorial, you are an artist

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  13. I hate those cupcake pans. Your method is much better and looks superb! I can relate to that staring at it for ages then deciding to alter it! Well done you.

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  14. Great job! I was inspired by your cupcake cake and going to do it for my sister on BD. Thanks a lot for your tutorial and comments!

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  15. You are just one incredible cake maker! I'm just about to try mine with the pan and I just hope it looks as good as yours!! God bless you for taking time out to write the tutorial in such depth. You have inspired me to write a blog ;-)

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  16. soo generous of you to share all your knowledge about decorating.. God bless!

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  17. Nice!!
    If I may ask how many cakes in all did you use??

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  18. Aah,! You also pray for those friends and clients as you bake for them? Me too :). I love the cleanliness of your work. I'll definitely take up your class on craftsy :). Bless you Jessica.

    Grace, Nairobi Kenya

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  19. Nice blog. You are so talented and so kind to share the tutorial too.
    I don't make fancy cakes, just like to see them. Came across your page through a link someone shared. :-)

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    1. Well thanks for stopping by!! :) - and for your sweet encouragement!! Blessings!

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  20. What size sheet did you bake the cake in? How thick was each cake layer and what what the finished height?

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    1. It was a half sheet pan. The bottom part was about 4.5" tall but can't remember the finished height sorry!!

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  21. I made it today but it doesn't good as yours. but my husband said it was pretty good. thanks for the tutorial. i'm a baker but not professional. i do bake for other pople. i'm a big fan.

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  22. Great idea! I love finding ways to avoid buying more tools and pans xx

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  23. what recipe did you use for the icing? (frosting if you're American)

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