The A to Z of Baking: E is for Enormous Chocolate Surprise Cupcake

imageOk, so this one might sound a bit of a tenuous link, ‘e’ for ‘enormous’, but this week I decided to make the enormous chocolate cupcake creation in honour of a friend at work’s birthday. I’d decided a few weeks ago that this was what I was going to do, so once I’d ordered my giant cupcake tin (I went for the Eddingtons 3D Jumbo Giant Cupcake Tin) I began looking for giant cupcake recipes.

Still being a bit of a nervous baker, I wasn’t really comfortable with following a standard cake recipe and then sharing it between the two moulds, because I was worried I would get quantities wrong and that it would be a massive fail. I struggled to find many giant cupcake recipes online that I liked (I was looking specifically for chocolate) and which looked impressively decorated. Luckily, however, I mentioned my quest to a friend and she shared with me a recipe from a friend of hers for a chocolate cake that was dedicated specifically to a giant cupcake mould. There’s nothing better than trying out a personally shared recipe, rather than simply trawling recipe books, so I gave it a go and it worked out really well!

Also, shared with me were the ingredients for a chocolate frosting. Although I intended to pipe the frosting onto the top of the cupcake in a swirly fashion, it was nearly 11pm on Sunday night when I began doing this and after another weekend of rocking out – this time to AC/DC at Wembley (honestly, my life is not always this busy…) – I was tired and concerned that I wouldn’t have enough frosting mixture to pipe, so I pasted the frosting on instead. I chose to decorate with edible glitter, mini chocolate hearts, and top with an edible flower. But, the world is really your oyster when it comes to decorating this bad boy, go crazy!

imageI created a slight variation on the recipe by hollowing out a small hole in the base of the cupcake after it had cooled and filling it with a tube of Smarties for a ‘Surprise!’ effect. Upon cutting into the cake, however, we realised it really needed more Smarties. I also toyed with the idea of sticking chocolate fingers to the outside of the base because I’d spotted this idea on another website and really liked it, but didn’t get round to buying any chocolate fingers in time, so that’s one for next time.

High points

With the right recipe, this is a surprisingly simple cake to bake, with impressive results. It tastes good too, not too dense but it can really hold its own.

Low points

Next time (I’ll definitely want to make this again, it’s a perfect celebration cake), I intend to use more chocolate frosting mixture so I can create more of a gooey layer between the base and the top of the cupcake. I also think it’s definitely worth using two to three tubes of Smarties (or Minstrels, or M&Ms – again, feel free to go crazy…) for the surprise. Cutting into the cake to find a very small drizzle of Smarties limping out was underwhelming to say the least.


  • 225g butter, softened
  • 410g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, large
  • 90g self raising flour
  • 280g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 90g Cocoa powder
  • 300ml milk
  • 45ml (3 tablespoons) vinegar (malt or white wine vinegar)

For the chocolate frosting

  • 80g unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

First, prep up your giant cupcake tin, a really important step in getting the cake out whole. Spray cake  release is recommended as the easiest thing to use but I greased the tin with butter, making sure to grease every nook and cranny.  Place a circle of baking paper in the bottom of the base. Preheat the oven to 140c (fan) / 160c / gas mark 3. A longer, more gentle bake means that the cake doesn’t take on a hard, thick crust.

Measure the milk and vinegar into a jug, give it a quick stir and set it to one side. Cream together the butter and sugar until it’s nice and fluffy, no skimping on this stage. If you don’t get enough volume into it now, you won’t have enough to fill your tin.

Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure the mix goes light and fluffy again after each. Now you need to mix in all the dry ingredients and the milk/vinegar mix until it’s evenly incorporated.

Time to fill up the tin. Fill the top first and fill it to about 2cm short of the rim. Now add the rest of the cake mix to the base section – this one will have slightly more space to the top of the rim but as it contains more mixture, it’s got more oomph to rise. Roughly level them both with the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 1 hour 10 mins – 1 hour 15 mins. Check the centre of the base section with a skewer and bake until it comes out clean.

Once out of the oven, leave the cakes to cool in the tin for 25 minutes before turning out. After 25 minutes are up, place the cooling rack on the top of the tin and then turn both over together. Give the rack and tin a firm tap on the work surface and carefully lift away the tin.

Next, the chocolate frosting. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, for about one minute. Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy, for about two minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on a low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium/high and beat until the frosting is smooth and glossy, for about two to three minutes.

Pipe or spread your chocolate frosting over the top half of the cupcake, remembering to spread some frosting also on the top of the base, so that the top half of the cupcake sticks well to the base. Decorate the cupcake with whatever takes your fancy. I opted for edible glitter, chocolate hearts and edible flowers.

Tasty Tuesdays on


3 thoughts on “The A to Z of Baking: E is for Enormous Chocolate Surprise Cupcake

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