I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan of the Pimp That Snack website, where people submit their supersized versions of conventionally smaller snack foods, so when a good friend of mine asked me if I could rework my Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Filling into a giant Hostess cupcake lookalike, I didn’t hesitate before agreeing to give it a shot.
The result is the cake you see above, a 5-inch high by 9-inch in diameter tribute to a childhood favorite. It is made up of the equivalent of about three-dozen cupcakes, in terms of the amount of cake batter used, and has as much filling inside as two dozen “normal” cupcakes (as you can imagine, we sliced it up to serve it). In spite of its impressive size, the cake is easy to make. I’ll run through the process I used here and give the recipes down at the bottom of this post so that you can try it yourself.
The first decision I needed to make was to determine what type of pan to use. A tube pan seemed like a possibility, since any cake baked in one will have a ready-made hole in the middle, but I decided that I wanted the cake to be moist and rich, heavier than a sponge or chiffon cake. I opted to make a layer cake and hollow out the center layers to create a cavity for the filling.
I used four, 9-inch layers, using two solid cake rounds as the top and bottom of the cupcake and removing the center of the two middle layers to hold the filling. A five-inch diameter biscuit cutter is the easiest tool to use to remove the middle of the cake, but you can carve out a circle with a paring knife, as well.
You don’t want to make the hole too large, or there won’t be enough vanilla cream to fill it up, but as long as you save some of the cake scraps (as opposed to eating them as you work), you can always close up the edges of the center if you need to by using a thin slice of cake.
Once the cake was filled completely, I put on the final layer of cake and covered the whole thing in a thin layer of chocolate frosting. The frosting was necessary because you could clearly see the four layers of cake when all the pieces were in place. Most Hostess-type cream filled cupcakes only have frosting on the top, but covering the whole cake gave the cake a smooth, finished look.
When we cut into the cake (I wasn’t the one who did the cutting, incidentally) you could really see the resemblance to its smaller counterpart. It tasted amazing. The cake layers were moist and the thin layer of chocolate frosting was just enough to give each piece an extra boost of flavor – not to mention that it made some chocoholics very happy. Because the slices were relatively thin, the amount of filling per slice wasn’t overwhelming, inspite of how large the cake’s center is. This cake is sure to be a hit at parties – for adults and kids alike. I wouldn’t hesitate to make it again to inject a little nostalgia, and a little cream filling, into special event.
Take all four (cooled) chocolate cake layers and level the domed tops using a large, serrated knife. Using a large biscuit cutter, or a paring knife, cut an approx. 5-inch circle from the center of each of two of the cake layers.
Stack one uncut layer on a cake plate or serving tray and place the two center-less layers on top of it. Fill the center of the cake with the vanilla cream filling. Reserve about 1-2 tbsp of filling to make the squiggle on top of the cake.
Place final uncut layer on top of the filling to seal it in.
Frost entire cake with a thin layer of rich chocolate frosting. Using a large offset spatula will give you the smoothest finish.
Place reserved vanilla filling into a plastic bag and cut off the corner. Pipe filling onto top of the cake in a squiggly line to finish.
Cake can be refrigerated or kept at room temperature.
Rich Chocolate Frosting
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped semisweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk (lowfat is fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt together butter and chocolate in a medium-sized, microwave safe bowl. Work in 30 second intervals, stopping to stir frequently, and continuing until the mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly (about 3-5 minutes).
Add in confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
Frost sides and top of Giant Hostess Cupcake (above).