This is one national day I can get behind. I am a HUGE Parrothead, which is what Jimmy Buffett fans call themselves. I even designed a whole lesson plan around Buffett’s song “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” (When I interviewed for a full-time teaching position, I even presented this lesson plan for my teaching demo and found myself signing “Cheeseburger in Paradise” to the college’s higher ups who were uneducated in the ways of Buffett. Yep, no fear this one….or singing ability!)
The best part about being a Buffett fan is the concerts. Buffett fans know how to attend concerts properly, and each concert starts with tailgating. People dress up in their Parrothead finest, which means the freshest grass skirts and Hawaiian gear, possibly even a coconut bra or a pencil thin mustache. With all this bright, crazy attire, tailgating at a Buffett concert is a feast for the eyes. And Buffett fans know how to tailgate. No cold cuts in this crowd. We steam clams, grill burgers, and gorge ourselves. For one of my first Buffett concerts, I made “Cheeseburger in Paradise” cupcakes, and now they have become a staple at every Buffett concert! Best part about these cupcakes: they are super easy to make and look super impressive!
- 1 yellow cake box mix
- 1 family sized brownie box mix
- 1 bag of coconut flakes
- 1 box of marzipan
- 2 cans of icing (any flavor as long as it is white/ cream in color)
- Food coloring
- Bake your brownies according to the box's directions. These will form the burger patties. After the brownies are done cooking, cut out brownie circles using a cookie cutter. Make sure that your circles aren't bigger than your cupcake! You will get around 15 patties from the brownies. You can make more if you "mush" your scraps together while they are still warm to form patties. (Almost like making a cake ball, but instead you are making a burger patty.)
- The cake box mix will be the buns. When you fill your cupcake tin, do not fill it all the way. Go about two-thirds full. If completely fill the tin, the cupcakes will rise too much causing them to lose their burger bun look. You will still cook the cake according to the box's directions. For the cake box mix, feel free to add extracts for flavor. I add Bavarian cream extract to this latest batch.
- While buns and patties are cooking, prep the lettuce, cheese, ketchup, and mustard. The lettuce is a half bag of coconut flakes. Put the flakes in a ziploc bag with a few drops of green food coloring. Then shake the bag like crazy to spread the food coloring around. If your lettuce is still too light after shaking, add more coloring and shake more.
- For the cheese, use yellow food coloring and mix it into the marzipan. You don't have to use marzipan; you can use fondant. I just think that marzipan taste better and holds it shape more. Let the marzipan rest after mixing in the color. By letting it rest, it will lose some of its stickiness. After about 10 minutes, roll the marzipan out and cut it into rectangular shapes. I like to do rectangles because then the cheese hangs off two sides of the patty.
- The cans of icing will be the ketchup and mustard. Mix red food coloring in one. Yellow in another. Put in a ziploc bag and set in the fridge to cool a bit. If the frosting is cool when you put it on, then you won't have drippy ketchup and mustard. When it is time to frost, cut a small section off the end of the bag so you can pipe the icing.
- Assemble: Cut cupcakes in half. Place a patty on the bottom portion of the cupcake. Next add cheese and bend it to look like it is melting off the sides. Then add enough lettuce to cover the top of the brownie. Pipe on ketchup and mustard. Add the top bun and a toothpick to hold it all together.
- Enjoy and remember, I like mine with Heinz 57, and french fried potatoes, and a big kosher pickle!