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Monday, April 23, 2012


Cindy's Birthday Giant Cupcake, Cake!

This is an old post that some how never got posted and I never realized it! Please excuse it since it has been almost 1 year since I made this item but it is still very delicious!

     I wanted to make Cindy's Birthday Dessert for her Birthday present. I was wondering why I was paying $30.00 on proflower/Sharie Berries plus another $20.00 to ship people baked goods that I could make. My mother-in-law also lives down the road so it is not like it would be an issue to send over the dessert. I probably spent more than that amount on the final results of Cindy's Birthday gift since I baked from scratch but it was an experiment that went well.

  I was originally only going to make her a cake, then it became a request for chocolate cupcakes and then there was another request. After tasting the Penny Love Pop-Pop cookies which were the ones I sent to my father and froze the other half for Cindy's cook out. I was not expecting them to go over well since Cindy has declared that she does not like dark chocolate. But guess what she loved them! In fact she really like them/was drooling for them. After a long thank you phone call about the cookies I asked her "Do you want cookies or cupcakes?" Cindy said "Could I have both?"

  Now normally if someone requested a cake from scratch AND cookies from scratch I would turn to them and say "you get one and that is it." However my mother-in-law Cindy always is being generous to me and my husband Jonathan. Cindy is an entertainer. Cindy is always taking us out to dinner, making dinner at her place, or we go get our nails done. She has three dogs and since Penny does not have a fenced in/ safe backyard she is the fourth dog of her house. Cindy was the one who gave Jonathan the idea and connections to even get Penny-- which is the BEST present I have ever gotten from Jonathan. Because of Cindy I got the first pick of the female dogs from the Kennel we got Penny (aka "pink" after her pink collar she wore) and that is something I will always be grateful regarding. Penny is just a happy face to see after a really long ride from work and after a really, really hard day. Look below and try to say no!

When Penny was just Pink at Deanna's Puppy Farm

Penny at like maybe 4 or 5 months with a bucket of clams at Cindy's house
   Cindy's doors have been open for Jonathan still at any time and also all of his stuff hunting/fishing/boat is still at her house. That in itself is beyond generous since Jonathan is not neat and he likes to go fishing at 5 am and picks up the boat at her house. I cannot imagine living with all of Jonathan's hunting and fishing gear in our 600 square foot condo! I was very lucky to get a mother-in-law like Cindy who raised my husband to be a good man (a well organized or man who can clean..no). So when Cindy said that she wanted both cookies and cup cakes I said "okay no problem!" Then all of the plans for her cake and cookies were Top Secret! I arranged for her cake and cookies to be held at her friend/neighbors house so that they would not be damaged (since I could not be at the party since I was working-- that is a theme to my life because I have rotating hours/day part time job which is not convenient).  

  I have never made a cake from scratch and I chose because of her request for cupcakes a Giant cupcake pan. As you might know from my other postings I am NOT a good froster. In fact I am not a neat and pretty baker. I make things that taste good but are not that pretty. They are no ugly dog contest but they at least look edible but are no Martha Stewart final results. This cake I was up late baking and then I spent a long time of the next day working on as well.

 To make the following Giant Cupcake, Cake with Cannoli Filling and Ganache make sure the night before to prepare the ricotta. Line a sieve with a layer of cheesecloth, and set over a bowl. Spoon the 22 oz of ricotta into sieve. Cover, and let drain in the refrigerator overnight.

  The Devil's food cake recipe I got from William Sonoma's Collection:Cake (book) page 100.

Makes 2 9-inch (23 cm) round cakes


2.25 cups (9 oz) cake (soft-wheat) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
0.25 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 oz/250 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (7 oz/220 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
0.75 (6 oz/185 g) granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (essence)
4 oz (125 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped and melted (page 40)
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 mil) low-fat or nonfat Buttermilk, at room temperature

 The mix when it first comes out is very pale but when it bakes it is a reddish brown. According to Elinor Klivans the cake gets it's color from the interaction of the unsweetened chocolate and the alkaline baking  soda in the batter.

 1.) The cookbook suggests buttering the two 9 inch pans. But I decided to do my first cake in the Giant Cupcake and instead of butter I used Pam's Baking spray with flour. The book suggests preheating the oven to 350 degrees F.

Giant Cupcake Pan from William Sonoma

2.) Lightly tap the rim of  a fine-mesh sieve over a small bowl while adding the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

The flour, baking soda and salt that was lightly tapped out of a fine mesh sieve
3.) Using the paddle attachment in a stand mixer combine the butter and the sugar (aka creaming the butter) . Beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and airy and lightens in color (refer to page 38 about creaming the butter if you have more questions).

Creaming the butter

Another view of creaming the butter

4.) Add the eggs one at a time and beat on medium for one minute after each addition. Occasionally stop/scrape down the mixer.  

Creamed butter and eggs added

Close up of the eggs added to the creamed butter

Creamed butter while the eggs are being beat on medium

5.) After all of the eggs have been added add the vanilla extract and beat for 1 minute longer.

Close up of the batter.

6.) Put the batter to the side and melt the chocolate over the double boiler on medium to low. Be careful not to burn the chocolate. Takes about 2 to 5 minutes after the water boils and make sure to stir it until it all melts.

Chocolate melting on a double boiler.

Close up of the melted chocolate!

7.) Add the melted chocolate to the batter and beat the mixture on medium speed until the batter is uniform in color.

The melted chocolate added to the mixture

Mixing of the batter on medium speed

The batter is mixed enough so it is uniform.
8.) Reduce the mixer to low. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches alternatively with the buttermilk so that you begin and end with the dry ingredients. Before adding the ingredients make sure to well incorporate the batter before adding the alternative ingredient.

9.) Pour the batter into the prepare Giant Cup Cake pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes (for 9 inch pans but for this one was more like 60 minutes. So I would test with  tooth pick at 45 minute then evaluate. If it comes out dry it is ready. If it is wet or comes out with crumbs continue to bake until the cakes come out dry).

The batter in the giant cupcake pan seems light now but it bakes a dark reddish brown.
10.) Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes then let cool. Then run a thin knife carefully along the inside edge of the pan. Invert a wire rack on top of the cake and invert the cake pan. Lift off the pan it should slide out nicely. Let cool at least 45 minutes. This cupcake after being cooled it can be stored in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

The cupcakes are waiting to be cooled for 15 minutes.

Close up of the bottom of the cupcake on the Giant cupcake

Close up of the top of the cupcake on the Giant cupcake

Another view of the baked cake in the Giant Cupcake pan

Ta-Da! inverted and cooling on a rack.

How the cake looks cooled and not cut/decorated

Another view of the Giant Cupcake

Yet another view of this masterpiece of a Giant cupcake

11.) Cut the cake so to get the excess off so that it will sit evenly like above picture. Then slice the cake in layer to add the filling and to add the syrup (so that it will be more moist). I made sure to keep it in order so I know how to assemble the cake.

Cakes sliced and in order so it can be put back together correctly.

12.) Next make the Coffee Syrup:

Instant coffee, water and granulated sugar = coffee syrup

Coffee Syrup (page 110 in William Sonoma's Collection:Cake book)

0.25 cup /2 fl oz/ 60 ml water
0.25 cup /2 fl oz/ 60 ml granulated sugar
0.5 tablespoon instant coffee powder

1.) In a small saucepan stir together the water and the granulate sugar over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot

Water and granulate sugar over low heat

Water and granulate sugar over low heat being stirred.

2.) Stir in instant coffee powder and let cool.

Instant coffee powder being added to the mixture

The final result of the coffee syrup 13.)

13.) Brush the coffee syrup onto both sides of the pieces of cake with a pastry brush. I suggest getting a jelly roll pan line it with parchment paper and then put the cooling rack on top of it. I got two from Sur la Table that were a jelly roll and cooling rack set on sale.

Brushing on with a pastry brush the coffee syrup onto both sides of the cakes.

14.) Put the cake aside to make the Cannoli Filling. Hopefully you drained the ricotta cheese overnight as it says in the following recipes.

The first Cannoli Filling Recipe that I got was HORRIBLE! It did not have confectioners sugar in it but rather granulated sugar and it did not set up right. I no longer trust cooks.com or where ever I got that recipe. I had to go to the woman who knows it all and if she does not she has someone find it out: Martha Stewart. I however used grated lemons instead of orange for a more subtle taste. I also did not have access to mini chocolate chips and I felt that the cannoli filling needed more chocolate bits!

Martha Stewart's Classic Cannoli Filling
Copyright of Marthastewart.com


2 3/4 cups (22 ounces) fresh ricotta cheese
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons mini semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  1.  Line a sieve with a layer of cheesecloth, and set over a bowl. Spoon ricotta into sieve. Cover, and let drain in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat ricotta and confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Beat in chocolate chips, vanilla, zest, and lemon juice. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

Cindy's Cupcake Cake Cannoli Filling (based on the Cannoli Filing by Martha Stewart)


2.75 cups (22 ounces) fresh ricotta cheese
0.75 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cups chopped roughly milk chocolate or 2 cups mini chocolate morsels
0.75 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
0.75 teaspoon finely grated lemons (about 4 or 5 lemons)
0.25 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  1. Spoon ricotta over a sieve and drain overnight ( or 4 to 8 hours) over a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap.
  2. Using Stand mixer on medium speed, beat ricotta and confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Then beat in each item: chocolate/chocolate chips, vanilla, zest and then lemon juice. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour so that it can firm.
15.) When the Cannoli filling is cooled assemble the cake back together layer the filling. I would suggest putting it on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Then put the cooling rack over the lined cookie sheet and put the cake on top of that cooling rack. 

The bottom layer of the Giant Cupcake

The Giant Cupcake reassembled with cannoli filling in between the layers
16.) Put the cake aside and chill. Make the Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Ganache (page 28 & 29 in William Sonoma's Collection:Cake book)

8 oz/ 250 g semisweet (plain) or bittersweet chocolate (I used Hershey Chocolate because Cindy loves it)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 oz / 160 ml heavy cream plus more as needed to adjust the consistency
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)

1.) Chop the chocolate into small pieces so that they will melt quickly without burning. Make sure when you chop the chocolate not to touch it with your hands otherwise the chocolate will melt on your hands. Set the chocolate aside.

The butter and the cream in the heavy saucepan.

2.) Heat the butter and cream. Cut the butter into 2 equal pieces. In a heavy saucepan on medium-low heat combine the cream and the butter. Heat until the butter is melted and tiny bubbles have formed along the side of the pan which takes about 2 minutes. The mixture should be 160 F on an instant read thermometer. Do not allow the mixture to boil or it will scorch and give the finished ganache a burned tastes.

Hershey Chocolate chopped

The chocolate added to the butter/cream mixture

3.) Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the chopped chocolate. Let the chocolate sit in the hot cream mixture for about 30 seconds to soften.

4.) Add the vanilla extract to the chocolate-cream mixture. Using the whisk, blend the mixture in a circular motion until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

5.) At this point, the mixture will be smooth and pourable. I waited 1-2 hours for it to cool and it was still like a thick glaze for the whole cake. I poured it over the cake and it was a mess. I let it sit for 30 minutes. Then I had a great idea to hide the mess. Also after 30 minutes it started to look better and glossy. I wrapped Hershey chocolate around the cupcake to make it look like a cupcake liner.

It eventually looks great.

First coating of the ganche

I added a Hershey chocolate to make a chocolate Cupcake liner. It also hides imperfections plus tastes good!

Different view of the cupcake from a different side and angle

Another angle again and look how gloss that cake looks!

Then I added the fun confetti sprinkles.

Another view of the cake with confetti sprinkles

Another view of the cake with confetti sprinkles

Another view of the cake with confetti sprinkles

Close up of the cake with confetti sprinkles
17.) Add the Happy Birthday Candles. Hint: I got Wilton version for less than the one I got at the supermarket by another brand and it is a difference of $2 or $3! I took a lot of pictures of the final product because I was afraid that it was not going to make it to the Dottas.

Final product:Happy Birthday Cindy!

Magazine view of the cake.

More of an top view of the Giant Cupcake

Last view of the cake which went fast at the party!

Penny Loves Pop-Pop Cookies (please see my Father's day post 2011 for the recipe):

1.) One that spells her name. I was going to have her name on the cake but the cookies grew too big when they were in the oven. But at least no one could take her name cookies because they have her name on it.

The cookie pops that went to Cindy's party

Cindy's name in cookies X 2

2.) To make cookie pops:

I used Wilton's circle cookie pop molds which I got at Michaels.

1.) Spray Baking Pam with flour on the mold.

Pans sprayed with Baking Pam's with flour

2.) Fill cavity with cookie dough 1/8 below top edge, insert sticks into dough covering 2 inch of end or up to stick line shown on pan. Tip get many of these pans because they need a long time to cook otherwise the cookie sticks come out of the cookie and I recommend a shorter pop than a longer one. It can lead to much distress otherwise and yelling. Also put the cookies one pan at a time like the below. Not the other way. Try also not to let the cookie sticks touch the sides of the oven.

Cookies with cookie sticks ready for the oven

 3.) Bake on middle rack for 10 to15 minutes

Be careful taking the cookie pops out of the oven because they are awkward.

 4.) Cook in pan for 5 minutes gently loosening with a spatula. The cookie sticks do not stay white after baking. Perhaps if you have time paint them or add ribbons going up the pop or just keep them as is. People eat them and sometimes do not even look at the cookie sticks.

The cookies up close in the cookie pan.

Close up of Penny Loves Pop-Pop Cookie Pops.

Penny Loves Pop-Pop Cookies on a stick. My first attempt to make these.


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