Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Track-and-Field Pull-Apart Cupcakes

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 35 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 23 servings
Celebrate the summer games by making the tastiest track and field—no actual running required. Since this “cake” doesn’t need to be sliced, it’s a great self-serve option for a watch party. Feel free to get creative with additional graham-cracker bear athletes and candy events.



  1. Place 1/2 cup of the buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a small round tip for white piping.
  2. Divide the remaining buttercream into 2 large bowls and remove 1/3 cup of buttercream from each large bowl and place in 2 smaller bowls. Stir 3 to 5 drops of yellow food coloring into one of the small bowls, and 3 to 5 drops of orange food coloring into the other small bowl, adding more coloring to each if needed to make the colors vibrant. Transfer the yellow and orange buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a fluted tip so that the colors are side-by-side in the bag. Refrigerate. 
  3. Stir in 5 to 7 drops of green food coloring into one of the large bowls of buttercream, stirring and adding additional color if needed so the buttercream is grass green. Transfer the green buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a grass tip.
  4. Add 8 drops of red, 4 drops of brown and 4 drops of orange food coloring to the remaining large bowl of buttercream, stirring and adding additional color if needed so you have a shade of rusty brown. Transfer the brown buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large flat tip (you can also use a large round tip).
  5. In the center of a large platter, arrange 6 cupcakes in 2 lines, making a rectangle. Place a cupcake on either end of the rectangle, so that it nestles in between the two lines. Arrange 14 cupcakes around the outside of the original 8 to create an oval. Place the remaining cupcake at the bottom left corner of the oval.
  6. Pipe the brown buttercream over the 14 cupcakes creating the oval plus the additional cupcake on the edge, creating the track (an oval with a square tail). Use a small offset to smooth the track and make it roughly 2 1/2 inches wide all the way around.
  7. Pipe the green buttercream in the center of the track so that it looks like grass. Place the platter of cupcakes in the refrigerator while making the hurdles and medalists.
  8. To make hurdles, use kitchen shears to cut each piece of gum in half lengthwise, and then again widthwise, so that you have 12 tiny strips of gum. Pull apart the strings of the pull-apart red licorice and cut twenty-four 1-inch pieces. Melt the white chocolate chips in 10-second intervals in the microwave, stirring between intervals, until smooth and melted. Dip one end of a piece of licorice string into the white chocolate and place on one end of a gum piece. Repeat with a second licorice string on the other end of the gum piece. Repeat this with the remaining 11 pieces of gum. Set the hurdles aside for the white chocolate to set, about 10 minutes. 
  9. To make the medalists, pipe a V around the neck of 3 graham-cracker bears with the white buttercream. Use kitchen shears or a paring knife to cut 1/3 off the end of the gold, silver and bronze jelly beans. Dip the cut sides of the shorter piece of the jelly beans in the melted white chocolate and press them into the center of the V of each graham-cracker bear to make a medal. Set aside.
  10. Remove the cupcake platter from the refrigerator and carefully pipe a white border along the edges of the track, completing the outer oval as well as outlining the square. Pipe two lines down the center of the track and square, creating 3 lanes. Pipe starting lines and markers along the track. 
  11. To make the podium, cut a quarter off of one marshmallow and cut another marshmallow in half. Place a whole marshmallow in the center of the piped field, place the slighter shorter marshmallow directly to the left, and the shortest marshmallow to the right. Hold the bear with the gold medal on the tallest marshmallow so it is standing upright and pipe a small mound of white buttercream behind the bear to keep it standing. Repeat with the bear with the silver medal to the left, and the bear with the bronze medal to the right.
  12. Gently place the hurdles staggered along the track in the individual lanes. Set the remaining 3 bears as runners along different spots on the track.
  13. To make the torch, stuff the sugar cone with the remaining half and quarter marshmallows. Gently push the cone into a corner of the field so that it stays upright. Pipe upright flames with the orange and yellow buttercream, covering the entire top of the cone. 

Cook’s Note

If you’d like to use homemade buttercream, make two batches of Food Network Kitchen’s Vanilla American Buttercream recipe. [] If you are unable to find metallic jelly beans, you can substitute yellow, blue and orange mini candy-coated chocolates, such as M&M’s Minis.