How to Make a Hamburger Cake

Hamburger Cake Tutorial
The illusion of the hamburger cake or cheeseburger cake is that it causes people to salivate for a juicy grilled beef patty that turns out to be nutty chocolate cake. I used chocolate buttercream and modeling chocolate with a little fondant for the decorations. The advantage of the modeling chocolate is that it yielded thin and delicate lettuce.

The below cakes were photographed in a frozen state, just after they were carved. To read how I build cakes and freeze them in the pan, follow this link for my cake filling tutorial.

Hamburger Cake Tutorial
Items Needed for a Burger Cake

Hamburger Cake Tutorial
1. Crumb coat the top and bottom tier bun cakes with vanilla buttercream.

2. Combine 50:50 tan fondant and modeling chocolate (or use all fondant) and roll it out to 1/8” inch thickness. Cover each bun cake and trim away the excess.

Hamburger Cake Tutorial
3. Chop up a small handful of dark chocolate and nuts using a knife or food processor. Mix them together in the bowl.

Hamburger Cake Tutorial
4. Frost the middle hamburger patty tier roughly with chocolate buttercream. Leave it looking haphazard and imperfect to convey the nooks and crannies of a ground beef burger.

Sample my modeling chocolate book
Cake Decorating with Modeling Chocolate

Cake Decorating with Modeling Chocolate

5. Press the chocolate/nut mixture into the frosting around the sides of the hamburger tier.

Hamburger Cake Tutorial
6. Add the 6” chunk of cake to the center of burger patty to make space around which the condiments can be piled.

Hamburger Cake Tutorial
7. To create the lettuce, roll green modeling chocolate to 1/16” inch thickness and cut sheets with wavy edges. Atop a foam shaping mat, use the large end of a ball tool to rub the edges of the chocolate until it is as thin as lettuce. Only prepare one side of the chocolate lettuce sheets since only its edges will show out of the sides of the cake.

8. Use a pointed sculpting implement to ruffle the edge like lettuce.

Hamburger Cake Tutorial
9. To make onion rings, roll out ¼” thick white modeling chocolate and cover it with a 1/16” thick sheet of purple modeling chocolate. Roll them gently with a plastic rolling pin to fuse them together.

10. With a roller cutter or long knife, cut strips the long way and turn them sideways to expose the dual colors. Face them so that they are purple-side-out. Wrap four or more strips in a concentric nesting formation like slices of onion.

Hamburger Cake Tutorial
11. To make the tomatoes, roll out red modeling chocolate to ½” thickness and cut circles with large (3” diameter) round cutters. Cut the circles in half to make twice as many tomato slices since only the edges will show anyway.

12. To make pickles, roll out green modeling chocolate to ½” thickness and cut them with 1 ½” diameter fluted round cutters.

13. Add ketchup and mustard in the form of yellow and red buttercream.

You can find my buttercream recipes in this book
Smooth Buttercream Cake Frosting
Smooth Buttercream Frosting Recipes

14. Place the top bun on the cake. Using a blush brush, dust it with cocoa powder to give it a toasted look.

15. To make the sesame seeds, roll a small ball of white modeling chocolate into a 1/16” inch thick rope. Using a sharp knife, cut uniform-sized pieces from the rope. Roll each piece into an oval shape and press it flat into the top of the finished cake. Distribute them evenly.

Hamburger Cake Tutorial
Here is another burger cake design of mine that’s four tiers high: a double double In-N-Out cheeseburger groom’s cake:

How to Make a Burger Cake by Wicked Goodies
Please feel free to share your own unique burger cake in the comment section below. Be sure to check out other people’s versions below for more inspiration!

Hamburger Cake Tutorial

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How to Make a Hamburger Cake — 26 Comments

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for the great tutorial! I made this cake for my son’s birthday 🙂
    I made the jelly coke and French fries from cookie dough..

  2. Than you for your great tutorial. I made this Hamburger cake and Fries for my son’s 21st Birthday. I baked a red velvet cake for the buns and meat layer and used chocolate buttercream in-between and pound cake for the fries lightly toasted under the grill. It was a hit!

    • Sandra,
      What a great idea to use red velvet for the meat! So it was a perfectly rare burger when you cut into it? How cool! Your fries look amazing and it really adds to the presentation that you put them in a fry basket like that. Thanks so much for sharing a photo! Excellent work 🙂

  3. I made this for my son’s 29th birthday. Every year my two kids challenge me with requests for unusual cakes. Your tutorial was really helpful!

    • Debbie,
      That’s awesome! I would love to see a photo of your work. Sounds like your two kids sure know how to keep you on your toes 🙂

  4. It appears you torted and filled your layers. Did you remove cake to maintain the shape?

    • Michele,
      I’m not sure if I follow what you mean by remove cake but I did shave a little off the top and bottom bun domes so that they would look flatter like hamburger buns. I also rounded the patties around the edges to look more like real burgers. I hope this answers your question!

  5. Thanks to your tutorial I made this for my grandsons 10th birthday! Thank you do much. The cake and sugar cookie fries were huge hit!

  6. Love your tutorial honey. I am only a hobby baker but love creating for my children. Here is my version of your burger cake for my youngest son. Thank you again for sharing your awesome talent with us all.

  7. Hi.
    Why do you use a combination of fondant and modeling chocolate for the bun and choose buttercream over perhaps white colored ganache for the ketchup and mustard? I’m trying to understand the characteristics of each for perhaps better choices in the future. Looking forward to your response.

    • I mixed the fondant with modeling chocolate because the buns are rounded and it’s easier to get a clean covering with some fondant mixed in for elasticity. Alternatively, you could use all fondant.

      I don’t use white chocolate ganache often (I find it’s rather unstable and doesn’t tolerate re-heating very well) but if that is something you normally use and you have a recipe that you think will work then go for it. I’m sure any kind of frosting will work for ketchup and mustard.

  8. Thank you SO MUCH for this fabulous tutorial!! I couldn’t have made this cake so well without it! =)

  9. This looks like a FABULOUS tutorial! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! I need to make a chicken sandwich in about a week, & then a hamburger in April, so this will help tremendously! THANKS!! =)

  10. Thank you so much for the tutorial,
    I used your ideas as a base for the way mine turned out.
    here have a look 🙂
    hope you like it … I wouldn’t have known where to start without finding yours on google search

  11. Thank you so much for all your advice and this terrific tutorial. My cake came out great! My nephews were so surprised that you could eat everything on it. Well except the bubble straws I inserted into the bottom bun for support, lol. I waited to assemble the cake just before serving because I was worried with its size and weight. The brownie hamburger alone weighed 5 lbs! I feared that would crush the bottom bun so I used the straw supports and a cake plate for security. It held up really well. This cake is the biggest I’ve ever made and it gave me a boost of confidence to do more. It took almost 20 cups of frosting to fill and decorate. And it could have fed at least 60 people but I brought it to a party with only 30, lol. One word of advice to others eager to attempt this cake – make as much as you can ahead of time. Bake your cakes and freeze them. Whip up your frosting and freeze that too. I spent the day before the party thawing and assembling each layer. You’ll want to make sure you have enough time to let the finished cake pieces chill. I made sure mine chilled overnight and were super firm before transporting. It just gives you extra security because the minute I took them out of the frig I felt like I was rushing the clock. Since I didn’t have a refrigerator at the party I kept the cake (still unassembled) in a very cold room with a/c. I think it worked out better than a frig since the cake was soft enough to serve immediately. All and all – this cake was a lot of fun to make and a huge hit at my nephew’s birthday party. Thanks so much for the inspiration and teachings. Awesome blog!

  12. Yup – you nailed it! I can’t wait to try this out. I’ve never smoothed a domed cake so it’s going to take a lot of added patience. One other question – did you dowel your hamburger cake(s)? Or support them using another other technique? I’ve only tiered cakes a few times and used cake separators and bubble straws. My problem here is that I really want to make the hamburger layer out of brownies. It’s a dense/fudgey recipe so I’m hoping it’s stable enough for stacking. And my cake buns will be a vanilla butter cake great for structure. I feel like there shouldn’t be any issues holding up. But to be safe I won’t stack the top bun until closer to serving. Plus, I won’t be able to fit the total height in my frig, lol. I’ll let you know how it comes out but any advice is greatly appreciated 🙂

    • That’s a great idea, to make the hamburger out of brownie. You will definitely want to put some bubble tea straws or infrastructure in if you do that. The cake in this tutorial was small, so I don’t think I used any infrastructure but the double double cheeseburger had cardboard and dowels between all 4 major layers.

  13. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I know you are a MC queen and I hope to begin working with this medium very soon. For this cake I’d like to frost my buns with a smooth SMBC instead. If I let them chill until completely hard I still want to try your cocoa powder/blush brush technique. I’ve already tinted the BC a tan color but I love your realistic touch. Do you think I would have any trouble doing it on SMBC? Thanks again!

    • Thank you! I have to first ask, what is SMBC? Swiss meringue buttercream? If so, yes, it will work. You might want to blot the surface first with a paper towel to remove any moisture before brushing on the cocoa powder. Good luck! Send me the pic!