This week I had the tremendous privilege of making the topper for a wedding tower. The bride and groom wanted a giant cupcake, so that’s what they got. I tested out several buttercream recipes and absolutely loved this one. It tastes delicious and crusts up beautifully but is still soft enough to cut thru.
I used The Great Cupcake Pan from Williams Sonoma to create this beautiful cupcake. I’d never used a fancy pants shaped pan before, but once I got the hang of it, I liked it a lot. One thing I will say, don’t follow the directions on the packaging. I made a test cake before the “real” wedding topper and filled up the pan with batter per the instructions (full to 1/2 inch from the top). I thought that seemed too high and should have gone with my gut. Let’s just say I had MAJOR batter spillage all over my oven.
The second time, I filled it about and inch/inch-and-a-half from the top and it worked exactly right. The pan releases incredibly well too. No sticking! It does take almost two batches of most cake recipes to fill it up though. I used my strawberry dream cake times 2. There was a little left for a few cupcakes afterward, but not much. This pan is a whopper. Also, depending on your oven, you may need to put a cookie sheet under it when baking with this pan. The tip of the top of the cupcake may slip between the rack of your oven, making the cake pan tilt and not come out straight. But that’s easily fixed by just setting it on a cookie sheet in the oven.
Last tip and then I’ll get back to the buttercream. The bottom part of this pan is slightly larger than the top. The first time, I just filled up both sides and baked them for the same length of time. But I thought the top was just a little dry by the time the bottom was done. This could be ok since you are only frosting the top part. It will have luscious frosting to make it less on the dry side and those who want super moist cake can just eat the bottom. But that didn’t seem like a good plan to me. Who doesn’t like super rich cake? I don’t know of anyone who asks for the slightly dried out part. I fixed this problem by simply filling the bottom and baking it for about 10 minutes before opening up the oven and filling up the other side. Gasp! I broke baking rule #17 “never open the oven the first 20 minutes of a cake baking”? Why yes. Yes I did. And it was glorious. On that bit of baking craziness, I’ll return to the buttercream. It makes perfect flowers and designs as well. So if you are looking for a recipe for great cake decor, look no more. This is the one! I haven’t used it as a smooth frosting, but there are hundreds of reviews on Cake Central that say it works fantastically well. And I trust those amazing cake people. They are insanely talented.
from Cake Central
2 lbs. sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup or 1 stick butter, softened.
1-1/2 cups solid vegetable shortening (Crisco)
2 tbsp. clear vanilla extract
1/3 cup water for icing cake -OR- 1/4 cup for stiff consistency.
1/4 tsp. almond extract
Cream butter, shortening, and extracts until creamy and smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and water. Mix thoroughly on medium speed for hand mixers, low speed for stand mixers, until smooth and creamy. Do not overmix or mix on high speed.
For stiffer icing, use 1/4 cup of water instead of 1/3 cup.
If you live where it is humid, you can add 1-2 tbsp. meringue powder.
Let set for 15 minutes before smoothing with a VIVA paper towel.
Icing can be refrigerated for 2 weeks in an airtight container. Iced cake can sit at room temp. for 2-3 days.
*Any flowers made with this recipe remain soft enough to be cut with a knife.