Pokémon Cupcake Cake
We recently celebrated my oldest’s seventh birthday with a Pokémon birthday party. Much like his Mom, he gets very engrossed in the party planning process, and had all sorts of ideas about the Pokémon cupcakes he wanted me to make.
He wanted cupcakes – not a cake – and the cupcakes had to fit the theme. He couldn’t be persuaded to go with Pokémon cupcake toppers, and although individual pokeball or pikachu cupcakes looked cool, I knew they were well beyond my skill and patience levels.
Instead, I decided to try my hand at one of the cupcake pull-apart cakes I keep seeing everywhere. For added effect, we decided to make the pokeball cupcake cake 3D. You guys, this ended up being incredibly easy, and the end result was way better than I could have imagined. If you have a Pokémon fan in your life, here’s everything you need to know to make a 3D pokeball cupcake cake!
How to Make a 3D Pokeball Cupcake Cake
Tools & Supplies
To make the 3D pokeball cupcake cake, you’ll need:
- square cake board (I went with the biggest one I could find, which was 18″)
- styrofoam half ball (this is the one I used)
- Wilton red (no taste) concentrated icing colour
- red powder food colouring (optional – this helped make my red icing extra red)
- Wilton Decorator Preferred black fondant
- Wilton Decorator Preferred white fondant
- offset spatula
- rolling pin
- hot glue gun (optional)
Cupcake & Buttercream Recipes
Before we get to the assembly of the cupcake cake, we need to make the cupcakes. This is my favourite cupcake recipe. I use lemon juice and milk instead of buttermilk (1/2 Tbsp lemon juice mixed with 1/2 cup less 1/2 Tbsp milk – let sit for a few minutes before adding to the recipe), and the substitution works just fine. For the Pokémon cupcake cake, I doubled the recipe.
This is my go-to vanilla buttercream icing recipe (I always use homo milk in place of heavy cream). Don’t skimp on the mix time – it makes all the difference! For the cupcake cake, I doubled the recipe, and kept the icing on the thicker side.
Red icing is notoriously difficult to achieve. I’d recommend making your red buttercream the day before you plan to assemble your cupcake cake, to give the colour a chance to develop. Overnight, mine went from barely red to super concentrated. Just let it come to room temperature, and whip it in the mixer one more time before you ice the cupcake cake.
Related: Sports Cupcakes
Cupcake Cake Assembly
To start, I covered my cake board with yellow wrapping paper, and used a hot glue gun to affix the half ball to the middle of the board. This isn’t necessary, but I had to transport the cupcake cake to a nearby park, so I wanted it to be as secure and stable as possible.
Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, you can begin assembling the Pokémon cupcake cake. I started with a row of 6 cupcakes right across the middle. Use one toothpick for each cupcake, with half of the toothpick in your sphere, and the other half through the cupcake (make sure they don’t stick out the top of the cupcake!). Occasionally, I used two toothpicks in a cupcake, for extra stability.
Continue building up your cupcake ball, placing your cupcakes as close together as possible. For cupcakes in the bottom two rows, I found angling the toothpicks upward gave the cupcakes more stability.
Once all your cupcakes are secured, it’s time to start icing. A quick note on icing – you could absolutely cover this cake with fondant for a smoother look. I’m a fondant rookie, and neither my son or I like the taste, so we decided to stick with buttercream, with the exception of the black and white accents on the pokeball.
Apply the frosting generously, making sure to fill in all the cracks between the cupcakes. This will be easier to do if your icing is on the thicker side. I was worried that I would end up with holes where the frosting sunk into the spaces between the cupcakes, but surprisingly this was not an issue.
Finally, roll out, cut and place your black fondant on the cupcake cake, followed by two circles of white fondant. This was my very first time working with fondant, so I won’t pretend that I’m qualified to give any advice. I found that dusting my work surface with icing sugar was key (to minimize sticking), as was kneading the fondant to make it pliable before I attempted to roll it out.
That’s it! This pull-apart cupcake cake is relatively quick and easy to assemble – even if cake decorating is not your forte.