If you love cupcakes but prefer the look of a big flat cake, cupcake cake designs are the perfect compromise between the two! A cupcake cake is fun to decorate and easy to serve, since there's no slicing or plating involved.
Making the Cake
Making a cupcake cake is simple. Just bake your cupcakes as you would usually, but instead of frosting them individually, arrange them together in the pattern you want. For example, if you want a big rectangular cake, you could arrange three rows of four cupcakes each. You can also place cupcakes next to one another in a winding or spiral design to make the finished cake look as if it's one long line segment.When you've arranged your cupcakes in the way that you want, frost them generously. Make sure the frosting carries over from one cupcake to the surrounding cupcakes so that the cake looks like a unit and not a bunch of separate cupcakes. If your cupcakes are domed and you would like them to be flatter, you can shave off the domed tops with a serrated knife or add less batter to the cups when you bake the cupcakes so that they will have flatter tops.
Finally, make sure that you frost your cupcake cake where you plan to serve it or on a transferable, flat surface, since it won't be possible to move the cake around after you decorate it.
Cupcake Cake Designs
These cupcake cake designs are relatively simple to make, but you can use your own creativity to design more complex cakes that correspond to your decorating level. You may even want to try making a stacked cupcake cake or forming small figures from fondant or gum paste to adorn your finished cake.
To make a turtle cupcake cake, prepare and bake 12 cupcakes. One will be left over and can be served individually or saved for later.
- Let the cupcakes cool, and arrange six of them in a hexagon (a row of two, a row of three, and another row of two) to form the turtle's shell.
- Spread tinted buttercream frosting over the shell with a flat spatula. Smooth out the frosting.
- In a contrasting color, frost five more of the cupcakes individually. Place three cupcakes on one side of the turtle to form the head and legs, and place two cupcakes on the opposite side to form the rear legs.
- Use a pastry bag and round piping tip to pipe a pattern onto the turtle's shell.
- Decorate the turtle's head with small round candies, or pipe on a face with frosting.
For a large butterfly cupcake cake, you'll need about four dozen cupcakes.
- Arrange five or six cupcakes in a vertical line to form the butterfly's body.
- Frost the line of cupcakes in the color you'd like the body to be. Smooth out the frosting with a flat spatula.
- Arrange about 10 cupcakes in four separate wing segments, two segments on each side. Make the wings pointed or keep them rounded.
- When you've arranged the wings as you like them, frost over the wings in a base color of buttercream, and smooth out the frosting with a flat spatula.
- Use a pastry bag and frosting tip to pipe over the wings in an outline with a contrasting color of icing.
- Continue using the pastry bag and tip to form a pattern on the wings and decorate the butterfly before serving.
Bake any even number of cupcakes to prepare this large rectangular cake.
- Arrange your cupcakes in several rows to form a square or rectangular shape.
- Use a spatula to place several large dollops of buttercream frosting on the cupcakes. Smooth out the frosting, distributing it evenly on top of all the cupcakes.
- Create sharp, straight edges for the cake by smoothing out extra frosting on the corners and sides of the cake instead of following the cupcakes' curved contours.
- When you've smoothed out all the frosting, use it as a canvas to pipe on a more intricate design.