Red, White and Barbecue!

Many of us kick off summer by grilling burgers, hot dogs and corn on Memorial Day. We wanted to add a bit of fun to this year's menu with CUPCAKE burgers and POUND CAKE fries. With just a little bit of effort and a lot of creativity, we transformed ordinary cupcakes, brownies and pound cake into a spectacular dessert! We brought these adorable treats to a barbecue, hosted by our older sister, and we were excited to assemble them with our nephew, Dylan.
These days, Archana only bakes from scratch. But you can definitely use boxed mix if you are short on time. Archana's go-to vanilla cake and buttercream recipes come from Toba Garrett. Toba's moist vanilla cupcakes make for delicious "burger buns." Thomas Joseph's fudgy brownie recipe can be used to create the "meat patties," and Martha Stewart's pound cake recipe can be transformed into fries with a crinkle cutter.
Some Baked by Archana Tips:
  • Bake and assemble over two days! This dessert involves a lot of baking: cupcakes, brownies and pound cake
  • Use cupcake liners to get perfectly shaped burger buns (liners also make cleanup easier)
  • Line the brownie and loaf pans with parchment paper
  • Make sure to spread the brownie mixture evenly around the edges of the pan (otherwise you will end up with fudgy, soft brownies on the inside and crispy, crunchy along the edge of the pan)
  • Make the "meat" patties after the brownies have cooled with a 2 inch circle cookie cutter 
  • To make the ketchup, add a tiny bit of violet food coloring to make the frosting a deeper shade of red
  • Green shredded coconut makes for great lettuce (or you can pipe green frosting in a squiggly design)
  • Use a crinkle cutter to make pound cake fries
  • You can print the paper box tray here or buy them from Amazon
  • We made regular sized cupcakes and they looked fabulous, but we think mini cupcakes might be better since this is a lot of dessert (we'll make sliders for our next barbecue, and let you know then how they turn out)
The children (and adults) had so much fun eating the cupcake burgers and pound cake fries. Some ate the cupcakes like a real burger, others in parts and some just wanted to lick the frosting. One child even ended up using the frosting as hair gel! Our niece, aka Little Miss Memorial Day, was even grilling on her mini grill alongside our brother-in-law. We had a fantastic Memorial Day weekend, and we hope you did too!
XOXO Archana & Kanchana

"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."––Mark Twain

Vanilla Cupcakes
Adapted From Toba Garrett 
Yield: ~30 regular cupcakes
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Place liners inside cupcake pan 
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt
  4. Cut up the butter into 1-inch pieces and place them in the large bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment or beaters
  5. Beat for 3 minutes on medium high speed until the butter is light and creamy in color
  6. Stop and scrape the bowl and then cream the butter for an additional 60 seconds
  7. Add the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition
  8. Add the eggs one at a time
  9. Reduce the mixer speed
  10. Stir vanilla into the buttermilk
  11. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk and mix just until incorporated
  12. Use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin pans
  13. Bake 15 - 20 minutes or until the cupcake is lightly brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
Fudgy Brownies
Thomas Joseph (found on  
Yield: ~30 brownies
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a 10x15 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang on all sides
  3. Melt butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring until smooth
  4. Remove from heat, and whisk in sugar
  5. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until combined
  6. Whisk in cocoa and salt
  7. Fold in flour until combined
  8. Pour batter into pan and spread batter along edges
  9. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes
  10. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes
  11. Lift brownies from pan using parchment
  12. Remove parchment and transfer to a wire rack
  13. Let cool completely
If you prefer a more cake-like brownie, you can use Thomas's cake-like brownie recipe.

 Assemble the "Burgers"
  1. Cut the vanilla cupcakes in half using a sharp knife
  2. Use a 2 inch circle cookie cutter to cut the brownies and make "meat patties"
  3. Make Toba Garrett's decorator's buttercream and use yellow, green and red gel colors to create cheese, lettuce and ketchup
  4. Put the frosting in icing bags and use a circle tip to pipe cheese, lettuce and ketchup
  5. Pipe yellow frosting in a hollow square to create "cheese"
  6. Pipe red frosting in a hollow circle to create the "ketchup"
  7. Pipe green frosting in a squiggly design or add green shredded coconut along the edge of the brownie to create the "lettuce"
Pound Cake Fries
Martha Stewart 
Yield: 1 Loaf / ~100 small fries 
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Lightly butter and flour a 5x9 loaf pan
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until very light and fluffy, 7 minutes
  4. Scrape down bowl and beat 1 minute more
  5. Add vanilla, then gradually add eggs, beating well and scraping down bowl as needed
  6. With mixer on low, add salt, then gradually add flour, beating well to combine and scraping down bowl as needed
  7. Transfer batter to pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 65 minutes
  8. Let cool in pan on a wire rack, 1 hour
  9. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely on rack before slicing.
  10. Use a crinkle cutter to make the fries

Shop This Post
Stand Mixer: Kitchen Aid Tilt HeadKitchen Aid Bowl Lift (we prefer the bowl lift model, but it's more expensive)
Bakeware Set: Calphalon 10-PieceCalphalon 5-Piece
Cupcake Carrier: Wilton (includes cupcake and mini-cupcake pans)

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