Hamburger Cake

Make your next gathering extra-cute with this fun Hamburger Cake! Layers of French savarin cake are stacked with ganache-glazed chocolate cakes for a cheeseburger lookalike.

It’s been a while since I’ve made a fun cake, and since it’s still cookout season I decided to make a hamburger cake. I wanted it to be truly delicious, and something that doesn’t require a lot of frosting or complicated decorating. The ‘bun’ needed to look naturally hamburger bun-shaped straight from the pan. However, unfrosted cakes dry out quickly. So I really had to put my thinking cap on. I found the answer in a classic pastries book. The French savarin cake – which is yeast-risen, syrup soaked delicacy. And something with yeast in it makes sense for a ‘burger bun’ cake, right? The citrusy simple syrup keeps it tender and moist.

A classic French cake.

It’s true that anything described as ‘French’ in baking or pastry could also be described as complex. But this savarin cake is not hard to make. Because it has a little yeast in the batter, it must rise for about an hour. Then you’ll bake it to golden brown. After the cake is done, drench the cakes with citrusy simple syrup right in their pans.

Speaking of pans, you’ll need an for the top burger bun. And an (or two 8×2 inch cake pans).

Faux finishing.

Next, work on the ‘hamburger patties’. This is a simple one bowl chocolate cake recipe that makes two 8-inch rounds. Glaze them with a simple ganache with chopped almonds mixed in. This is a delicious combination and the end result looks bumpy like a fried meat patty. Make room in your refrigerator, because these layers need to set up before you layer up the cakes.

Double decker with cheese.

Cut the round 8-inch cake into two layers. Use one for the bottom ‘bun’ layer. Then add a ‘hamburger patty’ layer on top.

Continue to build the cake, adding slices of fondant ‘cheese’ buttercream ‘lettuce’ and some fondant tomato slices. Now, I know I’m not fooling anyone with that ‘lettuce’, but it makes the cake really cute and almost cartoon-y! Use a large rose petal tip ( with the small end pointed toward the edge of the cake. Then pipe an undulating ribbon of buttercream around the top edge.

Add on more layers of savarin, chocolate cake, more buttercream, and some fondant ‘tomatoes’. If you absolutely can’t abide fondant on your cake, then use tinted or

Place the bowl-shaped savarin on top and dowel all the layers together with a 12″ skewer. Add some red gift tissue with tape on top and you’ll have an extra-large fancy-looking ‘toothpick’.

Toss on some toasted sesame seeds for a cute finishing touch. They stick naturally because of the savarin syrup. The only thing left to do is slice and enjoy. Wouldn’t this be a fun birthday cake? Just add candles!

Related recipe:

Hamburger Cake

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  • 8 inch round half ball cake pan for savarin cake
  • 8×3 inch round cake pan (two 8×2 inch pans) for savarin cake
  • 8×2 inch cake pans (2) for chocolate cake layers
  • Large rose petal decorator piping tip #128
  • Disposable rubber gloves



Savarin cakes (Hamburger bun)

Savarin syrup

Chocolate cakes (meat patties)

Chocolate ganache glaze

Garnishes (lettuce, tomato, cheese)


Savarin cakes

Savarin syrup

  • In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, water and lemon juice. Stir to combine.

Chocolate cakes (meat patties)

Chocolate ganache glaze

  • Place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 1 minute at 100% power. Let the mixture stand for 1 minute. Use a whisk to stir the two ingredients together until a thick consistent chocolate ganache forms. Stir in the corn syrup. Fold in the almonds with a rubber spatula.
  • Place the chocolate cakes on the wire rack over a large baking sheet. Pour the glaze over the cakes, allowing the chocolate ganache to spill over the sides of the cake. Use an offset spatula to place chocolate in bare spots. Refrigerate the cakes on the rack until the ganache is set, about 1 hour.

Assemble and decorate

  • Knead the white fondant well on a lightly confectioners’ sugar dusted work surface. Add a drop of orange food color and two drops of the yellow food color on the fondant. With gloved hands, knead the color into the fondant. Add more food color as needed to achieve the hue of sliced American cheese. Roll the fondant flat to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into two 4-inch squares. Cut each square in half to create two triangle shaped pieces of ‘cheese”. You should have a total of four ‘cheese’ triangles. Transfer to a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside.
  • Mix the buttercream frosting as directed in the linked recipe. Tint the buttercream with neon green food color to create a bright green hue. Transfer to a disposable piping bag fitted with the large petal tip. Set aside.
  • Carefully cut (torte) the 8-inch round savarin cake horizontally in two. Do this while the cake is chilled so the cake is firm and holds together well. These two pieces will be the bottom and middle buns. Place one piece on an 8-inch cake board. Run a small sharp knife around the bottom edges of the chocolate glazed cakes. Lift one from the wire rack and onto the first layer of savarin. Place two ‘cheese’ triangles overhanging the edges of the chocolate cake to the front and back of the cake. Pipe a thick undulating ribbon of green buttercream around the top edge of the chocolate cake and over the ‘cheese’. Do this with the small end of the piping tip pointed toward you, with the large open end pointing toward the middle of the cake. Top the chocolate cake ‘meat patty’ with the second savarin round.
  • Place the remaining two cheese slices to the left and right side of the chocolate cake, overhanging the edges as before. Pipe two rows of ‘lettuce around the top edge of the cake. Place ‘tomato’ wedges well-spaced, over the lettuce.
  • Finally, place the dome savarin on top. Sprinkle on toasted sesame seeds. Dowell the cake all the way through the top middle down to the bottom with the 12” skewer.
  • Refrigerate the cake until about one hour before serving. Bring to room temperature or serve slightly chilled.




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