Giant Cupcake Disaster

Sometimes in life day-to-day things just go wrong! Whether it's taking a wrong turn while driving, sending an email to the wrong person (we've all done it!) or burning a carefully prepared cake in the oven. It's the little things that go wrong that are really irritating, especially when you could have avoided the disaster in the first place by listening to the sat nav, checking the email address or checking on your cake. No matter how much you prepare for something, unexpected problems can happen and ruin your day.
This weekend I had one of those days. It was father's day and we were having a family meal of lasagne and garlic bread, followed by home-made cake baked by me. I thought this would be a good opportunity to try out my giant cupcake tin which I bought a while ago but haven't had time to try yet. I imagined a beautifully decorated centrepiece with lovely piped roses and butterfly sprinkles. I didn't expect to end up with a leaning tower of broken cake with melting roses slowly sliding down the side.

Here's what happened...

When I bought the giant cupcake tin, there was a label attached with a recipe to use and I kept it so that when I came to use the tin I could make the right amount of cake mix. So before I started baking I searched high and low for this label but I couldn't find it anywhere, even though I remember putting it in our 'safe place' drawer in the kitchen. It's been added to the list of things 'lost in the move' from when we moved house last year. I had to resort to Googling a giant cupcake recipe, one of the top results was a simple vanilla sponge recipe which sounded perfect and I had all the ingredients in so thought I'd give it a go.
Everything was going well until halfway through mixing the recipe, I noticed the self-raising flour was out of date. After a brief panic (Would it be safe to eat? Did I have time to buy more?) I went back to Google and searched 'self-raising flour past its date'. The results brought up horrible stories of insects and bugs found in gone-off flour! Horrified, I tentatively check the half empty bag of flour for movement and was relieved to see it was clear of bugs, I also smelled the flour and it seemed fine. Other search results said that flour lasts for a long time after it's best before date so I thought I'd carry on mixing. I had no time to go and buy new flour as the cake wouldn't be ready in time so I just had to hope for the best.
Once I had mixed the gone-off cake mixture, I consulted the recipe which said to fill both sides of the tin three quarters full but I had so much mixture I could have filled the tin to the top and still have some left. I followed the instructions then poured the rest of the mixture into 11 cupcake cases. At least if my cake didn't work the cupcakes might turn out ok.
I put the cake in the oven, set the timer for fifty minutes and after twenty minutes came back to check on it, hoping that it would have risen with the old flour. I was slightly concerned to see the cake had risen over the top of the tin already and was on the verge of overflowing down the sides. It had certainly had no problems rising! Luckily it didn't spill over the sides and I was just relieved that it had risen.

Unfortunately when I took the cake out of the oven after fifty minutes the middle of one of the cakes spectacularly sank faster than you could say Titanic.
I was left with a big hole in the bottom of the giant cupcake. No problem I thought, all the cake that had risen too high I could slice off and use it to fill in the hole. Perfect solution I thought. I had to salvage something out of this cake wreck.

Once the cakes had cooled I turned the tin upside down to get them out. I tapped the tin expecting the cake to slide out, after all I had greased the tins very well with lots of butter. Nothing. I tapped again a bit harder. Still nothing. I banged the tin hard on the kitchen top, hit it with kitchen utensils and still no cake. In the end, I had to get a knife and scrape the cake out of the tin, in the process breaking the top of the cupcake into three pieces.
Trying to remain calm, I carefully put the cake back together and decided to try and patch it together when I had made the buttercream.

While the cake was cooling I took my Kenwood mixer parts out of the dishwasher ready to mix the buttercream. The freshly washed parts were still quite hot but I needed to get mixing it so the kitchen was clear for my husband to make the lasagne. As I turned the mixer off after a good five minutes beating the buttercream I realised a hot mixer makes sloppy, melted buttercream. How did I not realised this? It's basic science but in my rush to try and get this disastrous cake done it didn't cross my mind.

I thought I might as well carry on as I'd persevered this far. I spread strawberry jam and buttercream on to the hastily filled in cake bottom then placed the broken top of the cupcake on to the prepared bottom. What a mess!
I had left the buttercream to cool for as long as I could before piping the roses onto the cake. It did firm up a little bit but not quite enough to stop gravity doing its thing and I watched sadly as some of the buttercream roses slowly slid down the cake.

The small cupcakes that I had baked with the left over mixture rose more than I expected and they actually turned out fine (hurry!). Unfortunately I didn't have much buttercream left to decorate them with but my son had fun putting sprinkles on them so at least that was a positive!

In the end we ate my giant messy cupcake (after a very delicious lasagne) and do you know what? It was delicious!


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