Cupcake Sliders

Of the two of us, I am certainly NOT the baker. However, when The Kid asked that I make something for a bake-off contest at her school, I knew it needed to be good. The Englishman jokingly sent me a photo of cupcakes that looked like tiny hamburgers. Since I happen to manage a restaurant known for its hamburgers…Challenge accepted!

I happened to have some cake mix, plenty of sugar, butter, etc. I decided I needed to get a brownie mix and fondant maybe. But seeing as it was the day before payday, funds were tight. I’m telling you this because I did this on a budget and it turned out pretty amazing, if I do say so myself.

So I looked up how to make my own buttercream frosting, fondant, “lettuce”, etc. This is the story of how I made Cupcake Sliders that looked better than the picture he sent me.

I won’t go over how to make the cupcakes or brownies. Just prepare and bake according to package directions then let them cool completely. A couple of tips here include to slightly under fill the cupcake cups because you don’t want tall fluffy cupcake and make your brownies as thin or thick as you want your “burger patty” to be. I opted for about 1/2″ thick.

We will go over how to make the fondant and frosting then assembly. I neglected to take photos of the frosting and fondant making because I was too focused on getting it right! Get your patience ready for this step. Most recipes for fondant call for marshmallows, gelatin or corn syrup. I managed to make a buttercream fondant that rolled out and cut just like ant professional fondant I’ve ever seen!

Your basic recipe for buttercream frosting is softened butter, vanilla, powdered sugar and milk. To make it into a rollable fondant, keep adding powdered sugar until it gets to a thick enough consistency that you can shape it. Next, add your food coloring a drop or two at a time until you reach your desired color. For the American cheese look I was going for, I added a touch of red to the yellow. Remember, a little goes a long way when it comes to food coloring. Once you hit your desired color and consistency ball it up and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

For the “ketchup” I made a basic buttercream that was thick enough to pipe but thin enough to look spreadable. And I used A LOT of red to get it to stop looking pink. As I said, patience is key here.

Once the cupcakes and brownies are cool, cut the cupcakes in half. Using a circle cookie cutter as close to the same size as your cupcake halves (or if you don’t have the right size, use a glass like I did) cut out your burger patties.

 

I found it best to assemble each step on all the cupcakes at once. I made 24 total. Take the fondant out of the fridge and roll out to the thickness of a slice of cheese. Using a small knife cut out the squares to be about the size of your sliders. Place them over the brownie patties.

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For the ketchup, I didn’t have a pastry bag so I cut a tiny hole in the corner of a sandwich baggie and pretended it was a fancy piping bag. Try to get the ketchup icing all the way out to the edges of the cheese so it will be seen once the lettuce and top are placed on.

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These brownie cake sliders need the moisture of the icing so be generous when filling in the middle of the cheese.

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For the lettuce, I took some sweetened coconut flakes and mixed some green gel food coloring into it. This required using my hands to properly spread the coloring so if you have gloves handy, I highly recommend using them.

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For the top of the buns, I used a small amount of powdered sugar and water and brushed it on top to make the sesame seeds stick. Plus it gives it a bit of a sheen as if it were fresh baked bread.

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Secure the sliders with toothpicks- any kind you want. I had some fun multi-colored picks.

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They even look real when cut in half!

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These turned out so impressive!Some ideas for future cupcake sliders include using a flavored cake, maybe lemon. And to add some strawberry flavor to the ketchup icing. The possibilities for flavor and fun are endless!

 

The reactions at the bake-off were great! Sadly, we didn’t win because there were only 24 sliders but a couple hundred voters. I’d like to think people still talk about them and wonder what master baker created them 🙂

Print Recipe
Cupcake Sliders
These beauties are a bit time consuming but are actually much easier than the polished finish indicates. Plus, when you step back after finishing and admire your handiwork, you can't help but be proud of these tasty, impressive Cupcake Sliders. The following recipe is for the buttercream icing and fondant.
Course dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1-2 hours
Cook Time 25-35 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Course dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1-2 hours
Cook Time 25-35 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. The above recipe is for the basic buttercream that will become the ketchup. You'll need the same amount of ingredients for the buttercream but double the powdered sugar.
  2. Cream the softened butter until it is smooth and almost fluffy. You can use a hand mixer, stand mixer or a spoon.
  3. Gradually mix in powdered sugar until well incorporated. Add vanilla.
  4. Add the milk a tablespoon at a time until thoroughly mixed. A little bit goes a long way here and adding too much gives you runny icing.
  5. Once desired consistency is reached, add food coloring a bit at a time to get desired color. For ketchup, it took a lot of red plus a tiny touch of blue to deepen the color.
  6. For the fondant, you may have to adjust the amount of powdered sugar, adding more if it isn't thick enough. You can add the food coloring before reaching the desired thickness because it is easier to mix in but be aware that adding more powdered sugar may lighten or soften the color. For the American Cheese color, I used a lot of yellow with a tiny touch of red.
  7. When your fondant is thick like play-doh, form it into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
Recipe Notes

This really can be played with in so many ways. Enjoy! As always, let us know how your version turned out!!

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