Studio 5 Party, Holiday and Ideas Contributor Alisa Bangerter explains how to make “Cupcake Cakes.”
Cakes made entirely from cupcakes are all the rage right now. Individual cupcakes can be decorated and placed together to make a complete design or can even be stacked on tiers to become a gorgeous wedding cake. Another fun trend is a pull-apart cupcake cake where unfrosted cupcakes are placed right next to each other making a certain shape. Icing is then spread over the entire grouping of cupcakes and frosted like a regular cake instead of individually. Serving a cupcake cake like this is easy, with no mess or utensils needed and each piece is the same proportion. Simply have guests grab a cupcake along the edge of the cake and pull off. So next time you need a cake, consider making a cupcake cake – it will impress your friends and family you may be surprised how easy and fun it is to create.
GENERAL TIPS FOR MAKING PULL-APART CAKES:
Bake cupcakes. Make sure to measure batter carefully in each paper liner so cupcakes are all the same level after baking. Freeze the cupcakes before icing to prevent tearing or crumbling of cake and to give a stable base when icing (the cupcakes with thaw quickly). It might be fun to put a filling in the cupcakes for an extra surprise. A good filling is: 8 oz. cream cheese, 1 egg, ¼ c. sugar and dash of salt. Mix in tiny chocolate chips if desired. Place a dollop onto cake batter in each cup and filling will go to center of cake when baked.
Decide on a design for your cake. You can make cupcake cakes large or small depending on how many servings you wish to have. Cakes can be only a few cupcakes or very large using many. You can also draw a shape on a large paper and then fill in with cupcakes to get desired shape (simply slide paper used as pattern out from under cupcakes before icing). Simple shapes work best. Try shapes such as a heart, triangle, diamond, flower, circle (great when decorating sports balls), butterfly, fish, bear, etc. Squares and rectangles work really great as well and will look like a regular cake with scalloped edges. Cupcakes can be lined up to create numbers, letters (or even a snake!) and frosted together instead of individually. Another option would be to place cupcakes around a larger center cake such as cupcakes around the edges of a square or round cake. This allows cupcakes to be pulled off the sides while still leaving a larger cake in the center. The possibilities are endless!
Assemble cupcakes. Place cupcakes on a cake board or strong piece of cardboard covered with foil or a paper liner. Make sure board is sturdy because cupcake cakes can be wobbly and you want it to be stable for moving. Place the cupcakes touching and as close as you can together. Cupcakes are best left in their paper liners and a bit of icing can be put on the bottom of each if needed to help stick to the board.
Frost the cupcake cake. There are several different ways to frost a cupcake cake, and it will depend on what style you wish to have. If you wish the cake to be individual cupcakes placed together to form a cake then frost each cupcake separately and then place them next to each other in a design (an example of this would be like making red, white and blue frosted cupcakes and placing them next to each other to create a flag.) Pull-apart cupcake cakes are frosted as one unit and will look like a regular cake except for the sides of the cake which are obviously cupcakes. To frost this type of cake, make sure cupcakes are right next to each other and sweep frosting over all the cupcakes at once making sure to fill in all of the spaces between the cupcakes. Decorate as you would a regular cake. Make sure to use frosting that is not too thin so it can hold up between the spaces.
Serve. Serving a cupcake cake is easy. Just have guests pull off a cupcake and there is no slicing or cutting needed and the portions are already set.
Have fun and be creative!