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Cupcake Cakes and Pull Apart Cakes - the Hot New Trend in Cakes!

Updated on April 11, 2017
All rights reserved
All rights reserved | Source

Cupcake Cakes & Pull Apart Cakes - What is the difference and how to make them

For your next birthday party, baby shower, holiday event, or just sending in cake to school - make something that will WOW the crowd !

Cupcake Cakes always get GREAT attention - They are becoming more popular , and are quite easy to make. This page will tell you everything you need to know, and provide pics and resources to help you along the way ...

Pull Apart cakes - Cupcake cakes are at times mislabeled as pull apart cakes. They are different, but similar. This page will help clarify and give you resources for these cakes as well!

Flowers Pull Apart Cupcake Cake
Flowers Pull Apart Cupcake Cake | Source

What is the difference between a "Pull Apart Cake" and a "Cupcake Cake"?

"Cupcake cakes" are often mislabled as "pull apart cakes"

A Cupcake Cake is made out of regular cupcakes - with liners (can be done without liners as well, but most do have the liner) and are baked as normal cupcakes in your regular cupcake pan. The cupcakes are placed together in a pattern, and frosted as one unit to look like a full cake. The cake is served by pulling apart each cupcake and serving separately - no Knives required.

A "Pull-Apart Cake" is made out of cupcake sized cakes without liners. They are baked in special pans that are designed especially for this purpose. The small cakes fit together like a puzzle to form a shape which is frosted together as a regular cake. The cake is "pulled apart" instead of cut and each piece is served separately.

Cupcake Cakes - by Lisa Turner Anderson

Cupcake Cakes
Cupcake Cakes
If you're new to making cupcake cakes, I recommend this book of ideas. It's great to see a variety of styles that you can copy or use as inspiration for a creation all your own.

Here is a great scoop to make "perfect size every time" cupcakes!

One great tip for making these cupcake cakes a success is to make all of the cupcakes the same size, and the best way to do this is to use a scooper to make the portion even. A level cake looks the best and will be easiest to frost!

Cake Boss Stainless Steel Tools and Gadgets Mechanical Ice Cream Scoop with Red Silicone Grips
Cake Boss Stainless Steel Tools and Gadgets Mechanical Ice Cream Scoop with Red Silicone Grips
This is the one I use because I like the silicon grips for repetitive use.

Simple Cupcake Cake Directions - To get you started on your first Cupcake Cake

  1. Bake your favorite cupcakes - any kind (box is fine) - in liners as usual. Be sure to fill only 3/4 full so that there is not too much of a dome at the top.
  2. Trim the dome of cupcakes if they rose too much. (this is not absolutely necessary, but may be needed if you have very rounded cupcakes - it is best to do your best to make as close to level cupcakes to start with) - I don't trim if there is only a little roundness ... use your judgment - you just want a nice surface at the end.
  3. After cupcakes are cool, place them on a surface that will be your final serving surface (such as a cookie sheet or piece of cardboard covered with tinfoil).
  4. Push them together snugly in the shape that is desired. (you can look at pictures on this page for ideas). To make the shape that I made on the pink cake above with the stroller on it, place them together in a square, but with rows slightly offset from each other so they fit together more snugly. - you want the least amount of space possible between cupcakes.

    (the pink cake above is large - I used 34 cupcakes - they are in rows of 4 and 6 alternating - you can make it similar but smaller by doing 3 and 5, or 2 and 4...)

  5. Frost across all cupcakes as if they were one cake (you may need to hold some in place if they are moving) - if you find there is too much movement, you can also put a small drop of frosting under the cupcake to keep it sticking to the surface a little and avoid slipping.
  6. If you did a shape like the flowers or the Dora face, you would clearly use different colors in different areas....and no border is needed.

    -If you did a simple design like the stroller cake, you will want to add a border. - Add border by putting your accent color into a frosting bag, frosting decorator, ziplock bag with corner trimmed, or use a prepackaged frosting tube. Go around the rounded sections along the edges, so you can accent the cupcakes. By doing this people can see that it is a cupcake cake, and it also shows off a pretty edging that gives it character that sets it apart from the typical square cake.

  7. Add small candies such as M&M's, chocolate chips or mints on any area of the border that you needed to stop and move etc... (any imperfections in border) - then add more around the border to make it look like Confetti etc... (see the Stroller pic)
  8. Add small candies such as M&M's, chocolate chips or mints on any area of the border that you needed to stop and move etc... (any imperfections in border) - then add more around the border to make it look like Confetti etc... (see the Stroller pic)
  9. Serve it up and WOW your guests.

Cupcake Cakes

The cakes can be done in many ways - but most importantly, you can use the shape of the cupcakes to make the full cake outline ! You don't need to buy any special pans, you just use regular cupcake pans and liners.

They pull apart like those pull apart cakes, but are actually made out of regular cupcakes. Cupcakes are snugly placed together in a pattern, and frosted as one.

These cakes are also easier to pull apart as they have liners, and your fingers don't get so much frosting on them (a little cleaner than the pull-aparts).

They do require a little more creativity though, if making a designed shape, but you can also do the simple shape that I did for the baby shower (see pic with the stroller) for any cake and get great results.

I made this onesie cupcake cake for a baby shower and the other complements it for wording

I made this onesie cupcake cake for a baby shower and the other complements it for wording
I made this onesie cupcake cake for a baby shower and the other complements it for wording

Directions to shape the Onesie Cupcake Cake Above

This is how I did it!

To make the Onsie cupcake, it is very simple.

You will vertically place 3 rows of 4 cupcakes each with the middle row being 1/2 cupcake lower than the outer 2 rows.

Then place one more cupcake on each side at the same level as top cupcake in the middle row, to make the arms of the onsie.

You'll need a total of 14 cupcakes. Then frost over the whole group as one and decorate as shown above.

photo by bechand

Directions to shape the TEXT cupcake cake above

It is nice to do the 2, so you have somewhere to write more easily

It is horizontally 3 rows - 3 on top, 4 in middle, 3 on bottom. With the Border as described in main directions below. Add your baby's name on this one to give good effect. Total 10 cupcakes on this one (so 2 doz if you do the onesie and this one - most boxes of cake mix make 24 cupcakes.)

photo by bechand

Do you learn better by watching?

Now that you have seen them... will you give it a try?

I saw one once, and got hooked, I have since made several Cupcake Cakes - I have never done one of those real Pull Apart ones (I think the cupcakes are awesome ... no need to buy separate pan for every cake design ... I just get creative.

Will You Try To Make One Of These Next Time You Are Going To Make A Cake?

See results

I made this simple cupcake cake pattern that for a baby shower - this shape can be used for any cake!

I made this simple cupcake cake pattern that for a baby shower - this shape can be used for any cake!
I made this simple cupcake cake pattern that for a baby shower - this shape can be used for any cake!

Pull Apart Cakes

These are way easy and require less creativity, but do require a special pan purchase.

These are pans that you can buy to make pull apart cakes. They are simple to use. Simply fill pan holes as you would a cupcake (approx. 3/4 full) with no liner (most are made of silicone). Then bake as cupcake recipe indicates. When cooled, assemble the design, and frost all together as one. When serving, there is no knife needed, simply "pull apart"!!!!

They look like regular cakes, so your guests will be so surprised to see no knife is needed. They also come in great designs, so you will look like a professional!

Comments - I'd love to hear what you think of my cupcake page.

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    • MariaMontgomery profile image


      7 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      What a neat idea. I hadn't seen these before this lens. I think I will make a pull-apart cake for a Christmas party.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 

      7 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Such a great idea!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I forgot to add my email to notify me!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love your page and your cakes. I have just started making these and I need some ideas and instructions for fruit shaped cakes! I have to make about 8 different ones since I need 200 cupcakes! Can anyone help me??

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great designs! pretty good lens

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great Lens! nice ideas for cupcake boxes

    • JuneNash profile image

      June Nash 

      7 years ago

      I love your cup cake page. The title intrigued me. I found this lens on my quest for crab cake recipes. I might use your idea for dessert at one of my dinner parties. Thanks for the ideas!

    • Rosaquid profile image


      8 years ago

      Fun lens. Thanks!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Cute cakes! Great idea, thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      andreaberrios lm 

      8 years ago

      What a great idea and so cute!

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 

      8 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      Oh how fun! Sounds like fun for kids and adults!

    • avigarret profile image


      8 years ago

      Those cupcake cakes sure look awesome, thanks for another great lens!

    • LouisaDembul profile image


      8 years ago

      I feel so inspired now to make a cake! Might try the cupcake cake first, since I have the implements.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What a beautiful lens! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This has gotten even cuter, what fun!

    • profile image

      DonD LM 

      8 years ago

      It's so delicious, I will ask my wife to cook this on weekends. Nice lense

    • sorana lm profile image

      sorana lm 

      8 years ago

      Yummy! Can I have some please? :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A deliciously cute cupcake lens.

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 

      9 years ago from Idaho

      I just think these are adorable!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 

      9 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I've been going to so many baby showers lately .. that the baby shower cupcake looks good to me.

    • partydepot lm profile image

      Dawn Archibald 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I amm absolutely making a pull apart cake - thanks!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I love Cupcake Cakes...when my son turned 6 there wasn't a cake I could find with the motif we I purchased cupcakes instead and made a cake with a face on top, etc...that put all the cakes together. This was before this whole trend of making the cupcakes the actual outline of the motif. I love it! It's great for kid's birthdays!

    • ZenandChic profile image


      9 years ago

      I like this idea! It makes it so much easier. Great lens! Blessed!

    • jdwheeler profile image


      9 years ago

      Cupcakes are great, and they are just the right size for little fingers to eat. We often make cupcakes just for fun on Saturdays. Baking is a great way to spend some quality time with your kids. And the end result is very tasty!

    • profile image

      dc64 lm 

      9 years ago

      I love cake decorating, even though I'm not very good with it. Thanks for the inspiration here.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I'm a big cupcake fans. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Love the onesie cake.

    • Chris-H LM profile image

      Chris-H LM 

      9 years ago

      These are really cute! I had never seen or considered doing anything like these, but I may have to try one.

      Even better, maybe I'll get one for my next birthday :p

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Well, I'm impressed! I love the pull apart cake idea, the pink flower got me right off the bat!

    • KennyCasanova profile image


      9 years ago

      The cupcake cakes are really pretty cool.

    • KennyCasanova profile image


      9 years ago

      The cupcake cakes are really pretty cool.

    • Joycevoice profile image


      9 years ago

      Pull apart cakes are new to me and such a fun idea. I will have to try making one for my son's next party. to make a pull apart Star Wars cake.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      These are so cool. Now I want pull apart cake pans! :)

    • bechand profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      @Pip Gerard: You've got to watch out for that ... kids grabbing one before the party starts. That's why I often make some stand-alone cupcakes to put around. Even a little kid knows to grab one of those instead (to avoid getting caught).

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I've never heard of these before. Very yummy looking. I love the Cupcake cakes.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      These look delicious!

    • GonnaFly profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      These look really great. I've seen some of the pull-apart cake tins, but I would really like to be able to make more than one shaped cake. The cupcake cakes look really versatile.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      wow! Such a great cake designs! I feel like I'm hungry. *yum*

    • Pip Gerard profile image

      Pip Gerard 

      9 years ago

      they're such a great idea! Kids especially would love having a cupcake each to grab.

    • kerbev profile image

      Kerri Bee 

      9 years ago from Upstate, NY

      You did a great job on that onesie cake!


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