The Great Cupcake Cake Debate

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By Randee Dawn,

packaging for cupcake cakeWho doesn’t like cupcakes? All the great taste of cake without the guilt of eating a whole slice!

That is, until now. With Cupcake Cake pans proliferating in recent years, the question arises, just what kind of fool will buy one?

Hello! Waving over here!

I bought mine a few years ago at Williams-Sonoma. The logic being: Small cupcake good, big cupcake better! (Cookie Monster is my superego.) But while making it was fun, as was beholding the behemoth, there are plenty of drawbacks. Dust that flour off your hands and let’s talk cupcake cakes.

First: Mine was expensive. You probably don’t need one from W-S, though it’s always a treat to wander around that store and think about all the ways you might use orange marmalade or rosemary-infused olive oil. So unless you’re baking for the Queen, spend less.

pan for cupcake cakeNext: Use whatever cake recipe you want; don’t be intimidated by the one that comes with the pan. The contents of what you’re about to make work out to roughly two layers of cake, so just prepare as usual. That said, the recipe that came with this one was not particularly wonderful: The cake was extremely dense and not all that moist. So be ready to play around a bit.

Then, once you’ve cooked the whole thing, you may need to smooth off the top and bottom, as they probably won’t cook in a perfect little flat plane. Use a sharp, non-serrated knife for the right flatness of the layers so they can properly sit on one another. Otherwise, the top part could start to tip if it isn’t sitting on a flat surface.

Frost, sprinkle, add a cherry if you so desire, and voila! You have a two-layer, oversized two halves of cupcake cakecupcake to wow your friends!

Here’s the buyer beware part: I am a cupcake fiend, and I’ve only ever used this thing once. A better tasting cake recipe might woo me back, but for now it sits fairly ignored. Why is that?

I have a theory. Cupcakes are best when they perfectly balance frosting and cake. You want a certain amount of frosting with every bite of cake; too much frosting feels terrible in the mouth, while too little means you’re just eating cake – plain cake! With the giant cupcake cake, the problems are magnified, because it’s frosted like a regular cake, but you have the anticipatory desire of a cupcake. So that’s not working. And then it’s not really even frosted like a slice of cake, because the proportions are off even for typical cake.

That said, I would not discourage anyone from trying it out. You might find the perfect combination and finished cupcake cakerecipe, and if so — let us know! Meanwhile, I’ll just have to dream about giant cupcakes, rather than make them.

What’s your favorite cupcake gizmo? Have you used a cupcake cake? Tell us on our Facebook page!