I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but some food bloggers are very keen on burgers. Very keen indeed. So when they have a birthday, there is only one possible cake that can be baked for them: a burger cake.
Originally I’d planned on doing a giant burger cake, but after I saw this post on Bakerella I realised sliders (aka mini burgers) were the way to go.
Bakerella used cake mixes and canned frosting, which wouldn’t do for a British food blogger birthday cake at all. Instead, I baked the brownies the night before (using my stem ginger brownie recipe, but ditching the ginger) to give them time to firm up, and vanilla fairy cakes on the day, so they were springy and fresh.
The resulting cakes would’ve looked neater if, at the assembly stage, I hadn’t totally forgotten how to make paper icing bags. My mind went blank and there is still a gaping void in my brain where the memory for paper icing bags used to be. All the instructions on the internet produced things that were feeble imitations of a paper icing bag, so I abandoned it as a bad job and spooned and spread the icing as best as I could.
The resulting cakes are, naturally, a mental sugar hit. But then they are cakes disguised as burgers. If they weren’t extremely bad for you, then something would be terribly wrong.
Mini burger cakes
For the brownie burger:
180g cold butter, chopped into small chunks, plus extra for greasing
200g 70% dark chocolate, broken into small chunks
3 medium eggs
280g caster sugar
85g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
For the fairy cake buns:
150g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
3 medium eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g self raising flour, sifted
For the buttercream icing:
175g butter, softened
350g icing sugar, sifted
4 tbsp milk
Red, green and yellow food colourings
100g caster sugar
Start the day before by making the brownies: place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan quarter filled with simmering water (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl). Keep over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter and chocolate have melted and are smooth. Remove from the heat and leave for about 10 minutes to cool.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/fan oven 160°C. Grease an 18cm x 30cm brownie tin and line the base with baking parchment.
Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk for 3–4 minutes until they are very pale, thick and creamy. Using a flexible, rubber spatula, stir the melted chocolate into the eggs, trying not to knock too much air out of the mixture. Sift in the flour and cocoa. Stir in to combine. Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for about 25 minutes, until a crust has formed (they’re best a bit underbaked). Leave to cool completely in the tin. This is best done the day before so the brownies are completely solid.
Next, make the fairy cakes: preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/fan oven 160°C and line 2 bun tins with 22 cake cases.
Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy and combined. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until combined, then stir in the vanilla extract. Sift in the flour and stir to combine. Divide the mixture between the cake cases and bake for 15–20 minutes or until the cakes are risen and firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack. When completely cold, peel off the cake cases and discard.
Make the buttercream icing: beat the butter until soft and creamy, then sift in the icing sugar and add the milk. Stir to combine. Divide into 3 and colour with the food colourings (you’ll need slightly more green icing, then red and yellow).
Make some sugar syrup: place the caster sugar in a pan with 100ml cold water. Gently heat until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
You’re ready to begin assembling the cakes!
Stamp rounds out of the fairy cakes using a 5cm wide cutter. Using a serrated knife, slice them in half to create 2 buns.
Stamp 11 rounds from the brownie using a 5cm wide cutter. Using a serrated knife, slice them in half horizontally to create 22 burgers.
Brush the cut sides of the buns with the sugar syrup. Spread or pipe the green icing on the bottom of the buns to create lettuce. Place a brownie burger on top of the icing and gently press down.
Brush the top of each brownie with sugar syrup and top with some yellow icing and red icing for mustard and ketchup. Gently press the remaining bun halves on top of the burgers.
Using a clean pastry brush (one free from brownie crumbs), brush the top of the burgers with the remaining sugar syrup and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Leave for an hour or so to dry completely before serving.