Practically Perfect Party [Cup]Cake in every way

June 30, 2009 at 8:55 AM | Posted in cupcakes | 80 Comments
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Most of my friends know that if they invite me to any party that requires food, I’ll be in charge of dessert. They know me so well that they don’t even bother asking me what I’ll be bringing b/c 99.9% of the time it’s gonna be cupcakes. But I thought I’d do something a little different this time…

What’s better than a cupcake?


My Hubs bought me the Wilton Giant Cupcake pan a couple months ago from Tarjay but I haven’t had a chance to use it. So I decided that since my baking group, Tuesdays with Dorie, was scheduled to make Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake, it would be the “perfect” recipe to christen my pan.

Since the pan didn’t come with instructions (at least mine didn’t *shrugs*) I kinda just winged it. Probably not a good idea if you are baking this for an important event like a friend’s bbq but I’m a daredevil like that so I jumped in head first. Literally! I got cake batter on my face and hair. Advice? Make sure you remember to flip the correct switch on your KA mixer. Left is mix. Right is lock. Not the other way around. Bright side? The cake batter was yummy. Hey! Don’t judge me. How else was I suppose to clean it up? HA!

Perfect Party [Cup]Cake
Recipe adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours, Dorie Greenspan


For cake
2-1/4 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk (I used buttermilk per Dorie’s suggestion)
4 large egg whites
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest (It was about 1 large lemon for me)
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp pure lemon extract

For meringue buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (It was about 2 small lemons for me)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

seedless raspberry preserves, to taste (I used strawberry preserves)
sweetened shredded coconut, to taste

gel food coloring, amt as desired (I used about 4-5 drops of Ateco fuschia)
white dragees, garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray PAM in giant cupcake pan. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

To make cake—
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Combine buttermilk and egg whites in a bowl and set aside. (I think using a large Pyrex measuring cup is much easier to pour later.)

Whisk together the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.

Working with a flat beat or a hand mixer, add butter and beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture. Gradually add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk+egg white mixture in 2 additions, ending with the flour mixture. Give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.

Fill the “bottom” part about 2/3 full and bake for 15 minutes, then filled the “top” about 2/3 full and bake both batters for another 30 minutes. (I read various reviews that recommended doing it this way to prevent over baking the “top” part.)

To make buttercream—
Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the heat. Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one (I just used my whisk and it worked great!), and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate. Don’t worry! Just keep beating and beating until it becomes smooth and silky. Gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla extract.

To assemble cupcake—
Use serrated knife and cut off tops of “bottom” and “top” of cupcake so they are level. Cut the “bottom” into 4 pieces.

Using a Wilton 12A round tip, pipe a barrier and fill with strawberry preserves. Then top with a layer of buttercream. Repeat for other 3 layers. Using an offset spatula create a crumb coat.

Let crumb coat set and then apply a second layer. Immediately after the second layer pressed coconut all over the sides. Then gently put the “top” on the “bottom”. Use gel coloring to tint the rest of the buttercream pink. Using an offset spatula apply a thin coat of buttercream to the “top”. Using a Wilton 1M piping tip, pipe rosettes following the natural curve of the “top”.

(For a little bling I added white dragees at random and topped with a strawberry.)


Husband rating: A+
He’s a red velvet man but I’d say that the Perfect Party Cake is a close second. He loves the meringue buttercream (but not as much as cream cheese frosting).

Wifey rating: A+
It’s not “perfect” for nothing. Love this cake. So moist and yummy esp with the preserves. I’m a big SMBC lover too! I wish I could have taken a picture of the layers but I have a feeling my friends wouldn’t appreciate a chunk of cake missing. HA HA

Other rating: A+
I made this cake for a bbq. Friends raved about the cupcake cuteness factor and loved the flavors of the cake. Definitely a hit. I wish I could have gotten a picture of my godson’s face when he saw the “Giant Cupcake”. Priceless.



  1. You did such a great job with the giant cupcake! It has always seemed a bit daunting to me.

  2. wow, that looks amazing!!

  3. That is THE perfect way to serve this cake! I love it!!!

  4. You did a GREAT job and I finally had a chance to see the “cupcake” before, during, and after its been frosted.

  5. I agree with Stef. I have always been intimidated by that giant cupcake.

    Yours look perfect though! I love the way you layered it!

  6. i’m convinced i must have that pan now! I love the perfect party cake – yum!

  7. Zomg, I SO want one of those huge cupcake pans! I saw them once, I can’t remember where… now I’ll have to hunt it down, for sure! But not all of us are fortunate to have a Target near us :p

    Pity that you couldn’t have a pic of the layers, it must have been pretty!

  8. I’ve been wanting that cake pan for a long time! What a great idea to do layers of yumminess with it! My boys would be drooling over it!

  9. Incredibly cute cuppie!

  10. Wow, what a great twist on this week’s TWD pick. This is beautiful!

  11. That just looks fabulous. Of course it’s A+ material. Now when are you going to come to my house with one of those in hand? ;) My daughters would love you forever! (Another idea for cutting layers from a cake–unflavored dental floss. Pull it around the cake like a lasso, tightening to cut right through. For those who don’t have a giant serrated knife.)


    P.S. There is no chance the photos of this cake will not make the front page of TS, but just in case…you know where to find me.

  12. Wow! That is one awesome looking cupcake! Great job – I bet it was delicious!

  13. I’ve also made Dorie’s perfect party cake in my giant cupcake pan! It turned out delicious, although I ended up over-baking the top part a bit because I didn’t read the tips that you must also have read until AFTER I made the cake. Ahh well, it was still great. Yours looks lovely!

  14. I’m so surprised it baked without any issues in that huge thick pan!! craziness! Love your frosting skills :)

  15. Awesome GIANT cupcake! Love the fluffy pink icing! Kinda puts my little bitty cupcakes that I made to shame. ;)

  16. It’s adorable, as always! Love you and your cuppycakes!

  17. That perfect party cake is such a good recipe! And I absolutely LOVE the giant cupcake!

  18. Leave it to “Clever Clara”! I have this pan but have only used it once….it looks AWESOME!!!! I love that you cut the layers!

  19. Wow, it really is a perfect giant cupcake cake! I love that you added filling to the base part. You did a fantastic job on the frosting!

  20. Wow that is GLORIOUS! I wish I had steadier hands for cake decorating. :)

  21. What a cupcake! This looks fantastic!

  22. I have walked by the giant cupcake pan in Target so many times but haven’t broken down and bought it yet. I think your post convinced me that I need to do it soon! I love it!! It’s absolutely gorgeous and so unique. Glad it was a hit :)

  23. very cute indeed. i looked at the pan the other day and i was too cheap to spend the $35 but you make a great point for how great it is-so I may be digging into that wallet after all!! I just bought the new Martha Stewart weddings mag today and shelled out $6.00-but couldn’t resist the feature she did on cupcakes at weddings. Thanks for another great post!

  24. That is so cute!!!! A job well done!!! I REALLY appreciated the tip about filling the giant cup cake pan 2/3 full first. I did NOT do this the first time I used it (mine didn’t come with instructions either) and yep, you guessed it, over baked cupcake. UGH. Now I might have to whip up another one so that I can see what a difference it makes! Thanks for sharing!!!

    PS.) I love your site!!!

  25. Great job ! The cake pan is just awesone :o)

  26. I hope my buttercream turns out as good as yours! I’m always so nervous to even try making it, but you make it look so easy. I will have to try making it this summer. The cake recipe sounds delicious, I may have to try that as well.

  27. Very cute. :) It sounds delicious!

    You’ll have to check out my latest cake too… it doesn’t have a cupcake cuteness factor, but I was proud of it!

  28. Oh my goodness, you do such a good job!! I am so impressed at your talents

  29. omg i wanna see how you cut that bad boy! personally i would have done it sans knife and just plowed my head right in (yes, i’m classy like that! ;) ) Love your take on this Dori recipe! xo

  30. This cake really is fantastic. It looks great as a cupcake. I still haven’t ventured into shaped pans yet, but this recipe is tasty no matter how you bake it.

  31. Thanks Steph! Honestly I felt the same way but after you do it one time you’ll know how to handle it. Give it a try! You’ll love it.

  32. Thanks!

  33. How perfect is this for me right? haha

  34. Thanks Ingrid! I’m glad you liked the step-by-step pics. Next time I do layers I think I’ll cut into the top too fore MORE layers!

  35. Don’t be intimidated! Have fun with it. I know my friends and family totally got a kick out of it. It was worth the intimidation. ;)

  36. You should! Such a fun pan :)

  37. Order online! You can find it on

  38. Thank you P! The layers were a lot of fun. Next time I might do a filling. So many ways to doll up this “cupcake”.

  39. Thanks Nic!

  40. Thank you Deanna! My favorite part of the cake is the meringue buttercream. It’s like magic how it all comes together!

  41. Hi Casey! Thanks for tip about floss. I think tastespotting is freaking hilarious. I should submit some of my rejections. I think photography can be so subjective so it’s fun to read why TS and FG did or did not accept photos.

  42. Thank you! I won’t lie. It was DEE-licous!

  43. You did? GMTA! I’ll have to check out your blog for pics!

  44. Thankfully I searched online for baking instructions and read reviews about the bottom taking longer to bake or I would have been PISSED! haha

  45. There is no shame in itty bitty cupcakes. The novelty of a giant cupcake is cool but there’s nothing like a bite size portable cupcake.

  46. Thank you Alice!

  47. Did you finally join TWD?? You should. Sorry I’ve been MIA from commenting on your blog. *hangs head in shame*

  48. Loving my new nickname. Clever Clara. Has a nice ring to it. HA HA!

  49. Thanks Jessy!

  50. You can totally do it. Just takes practice. I promise!

  51. Thanks Risa!

  52. I was the same way. I can’t tell you how many times I stood in front of the cupcake pan in the baking aisle at Target trying to decide if it was worth me spending $30 but finally my Hubs just bought it for me. HA!

  53. I just bought the MS mag too! For all 5 pages of cupcakes. Talk about obsessed!

  54. No worries! I know that reading the tips online helped me so I am more than happy to share. I think it really helped both parts of my cake bake evenly. I’m sure that the baking times differ depending on the cake batter recipe you use too so it’s all about experimenting.

  55. Thank you!

  56. I’m sure you’ll do great! Take it slow and be patience with this buttercream. It will be worth it in the end :)

  57. I totally have to check out your cake. I didn’t realize you were taking the Wilton class. Isn’t it fun!?

  58. Thanks Natalie! Ah shucks don’t make me *blush*

  59. I wish I could have taken a picture of the innards too! I forgot my camera and I didn’t think my peeps would appreciate if the cake was missing a huge gap either. To be honest I’d forget the knife and just face plant. I think that’s what my godson was hoping he could do. HA HA

  60. This is my first shape pan and it was fun! I bet you’d have fun too :)

  61. Omg this (cup)cake looks great! I’ve always wondered how it was done! Thanks for the step by step pics!! You did a great job on it, its really cute!!

  62. This is beautiful, the pan looks amazing and I love the fillings in between your cake layers. You could go into business selling these.

  63. WOW!!! That is one big beautiful cupcake. There is nothing better than a jam filled cake. Thank you so much for the wonderful pictures of the process.

  64. I am in lurv with these pans, it looks like everything came out fabulously!!!!!!

  65. That, my dear, is SENSATIONAL stuff. Gorgeous!!

  66. You’re welcome! I’ve always appreciated step-by-step pictures b/c I am such a visual learner. Glad it helped you see the whole process :)

  67. Thank you Maris! I think the filling really makes this “cake” too. Hmm… business you say? ;)

  68. Agreed. There’s something about a filled cake that makes my tummy tingle. YUM!

  69. Oh I think you’d TOTALLY love this pan! I have to admit. It’s ALOT of fun to put together and decorate.

  70. Thank you Deeba! I appreciate all our lovely words.

  71. so after I saw this post, i used my handy 50% off Michaels coupon to get this bad boy (and actually got the one that has 4 smaller ones too). i know someone mentioned how you cut it, or if you just went face first.. :) but how do you actually cut this, just like a regular cake??

  72. Good call on the 50% coupon! I cut it through the top like a cake but it would probably be easier to take apart the top and bottom and slice them separately b/c the center of gravity with both together makes it hard to balance as you start cutting slices out. If you make it and find a better way, let me know, k? :)

  73. Great website and very inspiring. I always want to bake something after scrolling down your blog. Thanks again.

    May I post the butter cream recipe on my web? And of course I would link it back to you ;)

    Coz I couldn’t wait to post my experiment with cake decorating on my blog.. Thank you



  74. […] For the butter cream, I usually used the one with sugar cane syrup, but it is too much hassle as I need to steam the rock sugar which took me ages. So I found this great website about cupcakes and various frosting and decided to try the Meringue Butter Cream as I have an unlimited access to egg whites. So here is the link if you would like to know how exactly the butter cream done step by step ( […]

  75. Sorry I couldn’t wait anymore as I read in your copyright statement that I just link it back to you.. thank you once again for your inspiration and great recipes

  76. No worries! All I need is some linkage and we’re good. Thanks for all the sweet compliments. Glad you enjoyed the swiss meringue buttercream. It’s one of my favorite frostings!

  77. […] Ingredients for Chocolate Ganache (Recipe adapted from […]

  78. […] came across this fabulous website and all about cupcakes ( and decided to try the Orange cupcakes. I was worried when I saw how thick the batter turned out […]

  79. Sorry I ping it back on the wrong page… I change it to the right one already ;)

  80. Sorry I ping it back on the wrong page… I change it to the right one already ;)

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