Are they cheeseburgers or are they cupcakes?
Last week Nick and I were invited to a Barbecue for a friends birthday, so naturally I took it as an opportunity to bake! It took me approximately one million hours to decide what exactly I would bake, when I finally decided to make cupcakes! Everyone likes a good cupcake, right? I really wanted the cupcakes to fit in with a BBQ theme, so I found a recipe on Pinterest from Delicious Fine recipes and I went with it! I think it's fair to say that they were a big hit with quite a few people having more than one.
Essentially, the recipe called for boxed yellow cake mix, boxed brownie mix, icing from the can, and food colouring. I really like the recipe, and added my own twist to it as well!
First I started with the brownie mix. Ordinarily I would prefer to make the brownies from scratch, but from the box was cheaper and faster as I was crunched for time. One thing I have noticed with boxed brownies here is they they are not NEARLY as good as the ones made in America. I have tried different brands here and not one of them are nearly as chewy or flavourful as back home. So box brownies would fly in America for something like this, but in the future, I would much prefer to make the brownies from scratch while baking anything with brownies while I'm here in Ireland. I didn't have a brand preference, so I went with what was cheapest. It was good enough for me and worked with the recipe.
After popping the brownies into the oven, I jumped into the cake mix! If I were to make this recipe again, I would probably bake the white cake first because it would have more time to cool when in a time crunch. Finding a white cake mix here was also a struggle that got me really frustrated and home sick as I ran from store to store trying to find what I was looking for. The velvety vanilla mix was the closest I could find to that classic white cake box mix back home. There were also mixes for Victoria sponge cake, but I didn't think that would go well with the brownie.
I poured the white cake mix evenly as I could into cupcake tins, then popped them in the oven. Mean while, I worked on separating the buttercream frosting into three bowls. One bowl would be dyed red, acting as the 'ketchup' of the burger. Another would be the 'lettuce', and the third would look like the 'cheese'. In order to dye the frosting the appropriate colours, I used red, green, and yellow food colouring gels. These gels were the most expensive thing I bought for the recipe, but I definitely think they were worth it as the colour was far more concentrated than it would be with liquid drops! I barely had to use any to get amazing results.
Once the brownies and cakes were cooled, it was cutting time! The brownies would act as the meat in our cupcakes. The recipe said to use a round cookie cutter, but I am broke as heck and couldn't bring myself to search for one in the stores, especially after spending €10.50 on the food colouring gels. Instead, I waited until they were cool and cut the small circles the best I could. They didn't come out nearly as neat as if I had uses a cookie cutter, but it was good enough. I then cut each cupcake in half to create the 'buns'. I then placed the patty onto the bottom bun, and piped the three colours all around.
Instead of having the yellow represent 'mustard' on these cupcakes, I dropped some red into the yellow icing mix to give it a more golden colour that resembled cheese! I piped the 'cheese' on in the best square shape I could, followed by green squiggles for the 'lettuce' and the red for the 'ketchup'.
It was a very warm day and I was in a rush, trying not to be late to the party, and I think this contributed to the icing coming out a bit sloppy as the cakes probably were not as cool as they could have been. Still, the concept of the cheeseburger emerged nonetheless.
The recipe then called for lightly brushing some water on top of the buns and sprinkling sesame seeds on top, but I had a different idea. I wanted another opportunity to add some sweetness as I was concerned that the buns didn't have enough flavour (which I later realised was untrue as I caught Nick eating all the brownie scraps).
Instead, I had Nick melt a bar of white chocolate, then use a wooden skewer to draw on some chocolate sesame seeds. He made them HUGE but they actually turned out amazing. I think the big sesame seeds really animate the burgers in a way, bringing together the idea that they look like cheeseburgers but are actually delicious treats!
Overall, they were a huge hit at the BBQ and I was really proud of how they came out in the end! In the future, I would definitely make the brownies from scratch, and perhaps I will put graduated circle cutters on my baking wish list! The recipe itself involved affordable ingredients which I appreciated. Even the expensive food colouring gel will go a long way, so it's actually a value. I really liked how I put my own little twist on them. In the end they definitely came to life!
Again the recipe can be found at Delicious Fine Recipes! Also, if anyone has any recipe suggestions, feel free to send them on in to my email at firstname.lastname@example.org.