Let me say this first before the food blogging population banishes me for using boxed mix—this recipe is purely for fun and not meant to be “gourmet” or any of that. Quick & dirty gets the job done sometimes you guys.
That being said, I initially wanted to make an enormous hamburger cake using fondant layers. But realistically, nobody likes the taste of fondant and it was going to take up way more of my time and money than I would have like. So I went with the simpler route (cupcakes) and the result was what you see before you: an epic dessert.
I followed guidelines from here as a backup, but made quite a few of my own alterations. For one, I baked the brownies in muffin tins to avoid the cutting stage afterwards to save time; this also guarantees identical shapes. The less fuss the better. I also used shredded coconut for lettuce instead of icing to give some flavour and a change of texture.
These are great cupcakes for kids and adults alike, not only because of their clever look but also because of the easiness of the recipe. You can do most of the steps in advance too, saving assembly for the night before or day of.
Makes 24 cupcakes
- 1 (648g) yellow cake mix box (I used Duncan Hines)
- 2 (581g) boxes of fudge brownie mix **the measurement on the box doesn’t have to be exact, as long as you can yield 24 small brownies from the batch, you’re good.
- 2 cups royal icing
- 7-9 drops yellow food colouring
- 1/2-1 tsp. red gel food colouring
- 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 tsp. green gel food colouring
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- 24 deli toothpicks
Prepare the yellow cake mix as directed on the back of the box. Using cupcake liners is a must. Once baked and out of the oven, sprinkle with sesame seeds and allow them to fully cool; proceed to remove all of the cupcake liners and discard them. Slice each cupcake in half horizontally to give the look of a “hamburger bun.”
Next, prepare the brownie batter as directed on the box. Using muffin tins, pour roughly an inch or two of batter into each hole and bake for 7-10 minutes at the it gives temperature on the box. Allow brownies to fully cool on a wire cooling rack.
For dying the icing, you will want 1 cup of the yellow icing and 1 cup of the red icing, to act as your mustard and ketchup. Add the yellow dye to one cup of the icing and the red to the other cup in separate bowls until the colours generally match those of the condiments desired.
Lastly before assembling, place the coconut and green gel food colouring in a ziplock bag. Shake it vigorously until the colour is coating all of the coconut—you’re going for the appearance of lettuce. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect because it will be smushed between icing and brownie and cupcake.
Now you’re ready for assembly.
Grab one of the hamburger bun cupcakes and one of the brownies. Spread a generous spoonful of yellow icing on the top part of the bottom half of the cupcake, then spread the same amount of red icing on top of the brownie. Place the brownie icing-side-up on top of the yellow-iced bun. Sprinkle a large pinch of coconut on top of the red icing, then place the top half of the hamurger bun on top. Insert a deli toothpick through the top centre of the cupcake. Repeat with remaining ingredients until you have 24 hamburger-like cupcakes in front of you, ready to be devoured.