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.
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.
These brownie cake sliders need the moisture of the icing so be generous when filling in the middle of the cheese.
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.
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.
Secure the sliders with toothpicks- any kind you want. I had some fun multi-colored picks.
They even look real when cut in half!
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 🙂