Take a walk on the wild side with this safari-inspired cupcake cake. Whether you’re 5 or 55, it’s a perfect centerpiece for any celebration. We guarantee your guests will give it two thumbs, er, paws, up!
1 hr 30 min
15 oz yellow cake mix, prepared according to package instructions
6 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 lb powdered sugar (910 g), sifted
¼ teaspoon food coloring, golden yellow
1 cup semisweet chocolate chip (175 g), melted and slightly cooled
¾ cup dark cocoa powder (90 g), sifted
24 cupcake liners, brown
How to Make It
Line 2 12-cup cupcake tins with brown cupcake liners. Divide the cupcake batter between the cups and bake according to the package instructions. Let cool completely.
In a large bowl, use an electric hand mixer on medium speed to cream the butter until smooth, but not fluffy. Add the milk, vanilla, and salt and beat to incorporate.
Sift in the powdered sugar. Beat until incorporated and smooth. Do not overmix, to avoid air pockets in your frosting.
Divide the frosting evenly between 2 medium bowls (you should have a little over 3 cups (345 G) of frosting per bowl).
To one bowl, add the golden yellow food coloring and stir to combine. To the other bowl, add the cooled melted chocolate and cocoa powder. Stir to combine.
On a large tray, arrange the cupcakes in the shape of a lion’s paw: From the bottom, make a small arc with 4 cupcakes. Place 1 cupcake on the top center of the arc. Add 5 more cupcakes in a small arc over the bottom cupcakes. Next, make an arc of 6 cupcakes, and finally arrange the remaining 8 cupcakes in a larger arc over all of the cupcakes.
Dollop the yellow frosting onto each cupcake. Carefully spread the frosting, filling in the spaces between the cupcakes. Try to push the frosting out from the center to make crisp lines on the outer edges. Smooth the top.
Fit a piping bag fitted with a medium star piping tip, then fill with the chocolate frosting. With an up and down motion, pipe the outline of a paw onto the cupcakes, starting with the bottom pad of the paw, then continuing with 4 smaller pads. Fill in each outline.