The Perfect BBQ Dessert: Cupcake Burgers!

Today's my birthday and we're having a bunch of friends and family over to celebrate tonight. In addition to a fantastic menu – details to come post-party – I made a really fun BBQ-themed dessert to share: mini dessert "burgers!" They're adorable and while I didn't have the time to make them from scratch, boxed ingredients worked in a pinch.

These "burgers" couldn't be more adorable (and delicious)!

Here's what you need to make ~24 burgers:
  • One box brownie mix (I used a Super Deluxe Fudge Mix)
  • One box yellow cupcake mix
  • Two cans white frosting (I used Betty Crocker buttercream frosting)
  • Red, yellow and green food coloring
  • Sesame seeds
The instructions really couldn't be more easy. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Make the brownie mix and spread the batter on a 13x9" sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Parchment paper helps to keep the brownies from sticking when you cut them out. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, testing along the way for doneness. You want to take the brownies out before they get too dry, so there should be a nice "spring" back when you touch it. Set aside and let cool. Note: If you want thicker "burgers," use a smaller pan and a longer baking time (up to 40 minutes).

Brownie batter spread on 13x9" sheet pan
Mix the cupcake mix and distribute it evenly among 24 cupcake liners. It's a smart move to use liners otherwise the cupcakes will brown too much and not resemble "burger buns." I only filled the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full, otherwise the "buns" will be too big (for my burgers; if you want bigger burgers, by all means go for it!). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Set aside and let cool.

Cupcake mix distributed among 24 liners (12 shown here)

Set aside and let cupcakes cool.
While the brownies and cupcakes are cooling, work on making the "condiments." Distribute the two cans of frosting into three bowls, one for "lettuce," one for "ketchup" and one for "mustard." Squeeze a few drops of green, yellow and red food colorings into the bowls and mix. You may have to continue to add food coloring until you achieve the right shade of color. When they are done, scoop the frostings into three separate piping bags and cut off the tips. don't have piping bags? A Ziploc baggie works just as well. Just spoon the frosting into a bag, cut off a tony bit of the corner tip and you've got a makeshift piping bag!

"Condiments": Ketchup, mustard and lettuce!
Time to make the burgers! Once the brownies are cool, use a 2 1/2" cookie cutter and cut discs from the brownie pan. Set aside.

Cut out the "burgers"
Remove the cupcakes from their liners and cut each one in half. Line the bottoms of the cupcakes on a sheet pan covered in parchment paper (preventing them from sticking) and top each one with a "burger."

Starting to make the burgers!
You can put the "condiments" on it whatever order you'd like, but I started with the "ketchup" and piped in a ribbon pattern along the edge of the "burger." Then I piped on the mustard, filling the "gaps" left by the ketchup. You can see what I mean in the photo below. Then I added the "lettuce," but piped it in a much more squiggly pattern. Then gently add the top of each cupcake.

Add the condiments

Add the top to each burger
To finish the burgers, brush each top bun with a tiny bit of water. Sprinkle with sesame seeds to get the full look of a burger and you've got yourself dessert! Could they be any cuter? If you want to get crazy, you can also make sugar cookie "fries" but rolling out sugar cookie dough, cutting it into very thin strips, baking it and rolling them in granulated sugar for a "salty" effect. Put them in little fry bags/cones and you've got the perfect dessert for a summer BBQ. Can't wait for everyone to have these tonight! I know they won't taste as great as homemade, but they'll look the part.

Dessert burgers!


  1. So cute and creative! I love it. Hope your birthday is magical!

  2. Happy Birthday! How fabulous are those cupcakes!! So clever, so creative. One of these days I hope to actually try this.

  3. my only concern is it a gimmick...or does it actually taste good...it seems like it would a little rich/sweet

  4. Happy Belated birthday! What a delicious way to celebrate...hope it was great and yummy.

  5. fabulous idea!!! I will be making those this summer for sure...

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma, What's For Dinner?

  6. how do you fill your batter into the trays? do you use a piping bag? I never get mine so flat!

  7. Adorable! But parchment paper idea didn't work. I used a glass pan without parchment paper (after the brownies stuck to it the first time) and had no trouble. Thanks for the fun recipe!

  8. just made them, and I LOVE THEM!! too cute, can't wait to bring them to the BBQ today. Thank you pat

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