Recipe courtesy of Heather Baird

Football Stadium Pull Apart Cupcake Cake

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 20 servings
Score major points on game day with this football stadium pull-apart cupcake cake. It feeds a hungry crowd and makes a fun party centerpiece. Green buttercream frosting sprinkled with green sanding sugar gives the cake a grassy “turf.” Cupcakes topped with large and small nonpareils line the edges of the cake to create crowds of spectators. Candy goalposts are the finishing touch(down!). Assemble this cake right on a kitchen countertop or tabletop, or for a more transportable version, on an 18-inch serving platter.






Special equipment:
a 3 1/2- to 4-tablespoon trigger ice cream scoop; an offset spatula; 2 disposable piping bags; a #3 round decorator piping tip; parchment paper
  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the cavities of 2 cupcake pans with 20 paper liners.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed while adding in the granulated sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time; beat well after each addition. Beat in the oil and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and sea salt. Add the flour mixture and milk alternately to the creamed mixture, beating on low speed until just combined with each addition. Begin and end with the flour mixture.
  4. Divide the batter among the 20 cupcake liners using a 3 1/2- to 4-tablespoon trigger ice cream scoop (or portion by level 1/4 cups).
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center of a cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. For the buttercream: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, add the butter and beat on high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until the mixture is crumbly. Add the vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon milk or cream. Beat until combined. Add more milk or cream 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to bring to spreading consistency. Beat on high speed until the buttercream is light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beat again for 2 minutes.
  7. Transfer 1/2 cup of the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a #3 round piping tip. Close with a rubber band and set aside.
  8. Transfer a third of the remaining buttercream to a bowl and cover with a damp paper towel to prevent it from drying out.
  9. Tint the remaining buttercream with the leaf green gel food color; add it a little at a time until a rich green hue is achieved. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel so the buttercream doesn’t dry out.
  10. For the decorations: To assemble, place 12 cupcakes touching each other in a rectangle in the center of a large serving plate or board (4 rows of 3 cupcakes). Use the trigger ice cream scoop to portion scoops of green buttercream on top of each cupcake. Use an offset spatula to evenly spread the buttercream over the surface of the cupcakes, filling the gaps to create the appearance of a sheet cake. Immediately sprinkle on green sanding sugar.
  11. Place 4 cupcakes on each side of the long ends of the green ‘turf’ cake. Use the (clean) trigger ice cream scoop to portion scoops of white (untinted) buttercream onto each of the cupcakes. Use an offset spatula to spread the buttercream evenly. Place the edge of a bench scraper or large chef’s knife between the green and white part of the cake to create a barrier between the two; use a spoon to evenly sprinkle the rainbow nonpareils over the white cupcakes. Tamp them down with the back of the spoon. Repeat the process on the other side of the cake to create crowds of spectators.
  12. Use a bench scraper or knife to make a line down the center of the green turf cake to create the 50-yard line. Create more lines on either side at approximately 1 1/4-inch intervals. Use the reserved piping bag of white frosting to pipe the yard lines onto the cake.
  13. Put the candy melting wafers in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute at 100% power. Stir well so the residual heat from the bowl melts the candy. If un-melted lumps remain, heat at 30-second intervals until the candy can be stirred smooth. Place the candy in a piping bag with a tiny hole snipped in the end.
  14. Print the Goal Post Template (link below), then place the template on a baking sheet and top with a sheet of white parchment paper. The template should show through the parchment. Pipe yellow melted candy inside the lines on the template; refrigerate for 5 minutes or until firmly set. Peel the parchment paper away from the candy. Do this gently because they are fragile.
  15. Use a small paring knife to make a slit in the center of each end of the green turf cake. Insert a candy goal post into each cut. Gently press the goal posts into the cupcakes so that they stand upright. Present the cake as an edible centerpiece on your game-day snack table.

Cook’s Note

Small nonpareils are easy to find at most grocery stores in the baking aisle. I’ve used a mix of large and small on this cake. If you can’t find the large variety, just use the small ones. It will still provide a wonderful ‘crowd’ effect.