Superhero Cupcakes

Intensive Cake Unit
by Intensive Cake Unit
24 cupcakes
1 hr 5 min

A coworker of mine recently showed me a couple of pictures from Pinterest and asked if I could make a similar cake/cupcake combo for her twin grandsons’ upcoming birthday.

Won’t lie…I get real nervous when anyone shows me a picture and asks if I can copy what's in it! ><

Fortunately, this cake and cupcake set went probably about 90% to plan, and I was really happy with the way it turned out! If you’re looking to do the same thing, 100% of the knowledge I have to pass on to you is below!

For brevity, I've just included the cupcake recipe / instructions below; the cake recipe's in my last post!

(Of note – if you’re reading this with a plan to make the cake AND you want to make your own fondant for decorating, make sure you make it about 24 hours ahead of the time! You’ll save yourself SO much frustration; marshmallow fondant handles MUCH better after enough resting time. Also - many of my in-post links don't copy correctly into FoodTalk posts - will have functional supply links for anything you need!)

Recipe details
  • 24  cupcakes
  • Prep time: 45 Minutes Cook time: 20 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 5 min
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  • 350g all purpose flour (roughly 2 ¼ c)
  • 450g caster sugar (roughly 2 ¼ c)
  • 100g cocoa powder (roughly 1 ¼ c)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c /250g /16 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 350ml milk (about 1 ½ ; I used a 2c pyrex liquid measuring cup with mL marks on the back)
  • 2 t vanilla extract
Frosting / Decorations
  • 8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
  • 16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
  • 6-7 c powdered sugar
  • 2-4 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 T clear vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter) 
  • (Save and add later: Americolor gel food colorings – I used red and purple for the cupcakes in the pictures, but you could change up the colors if you want to theme with different superheroes! More options below.)
  • - Green fondant / black candy melts for decorations- you can buy fondant or make your own! Marshmallow fondants are my favorite so far, and Pinterest and Google both have 50+ great recipes available.
  • Large piping bag & tip – I use this set of reusable large bags & tips more than almost any of my others!
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180C) or 320 FC (160C) for a fan forced oven. Line a cupcake tin with 24 cupcake liners.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cocoa powder, plain flour, salt, bicarb soda and sugar. Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to mix for a couple minutes to help everything combine well (or sift the ingredients together). Add in the softened butter until no lumps of butter are visible and it’s well incorporated into the dry ingredients.
Next, add milk, eggs, and vanilla together and whisk until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in a slow and steady stream until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
Fill each paper 3/4 of the way (using an ice cream scoop to transfer the batter into the cupcake liners makes this a quick and easy process otherwise you can use two tablespoons). You may find that you have some batter left over, but I don't recommend over-filling the cupcake tins as they’re likely to overflow.
Bake for 20-25 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting. If you insert a skewer and it comes out with wet batter, bake for another few minutes at a time until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely. 
Frosting / Decorations
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt and beat until well combined.
Divide frosting in half, and color half purple and half green (unless you've chosen different superheroes! ;) ) and frost cupcakes with large swirls.
Decorations -
Spiderman: (red frosting) Black candy melts are a perfect way to pipe on spider webs – they set quickly especially if your cupcakes are chilled, and make a pretty convincing web!
The Hulk: (purple frosting) I used about a thumb-sized amount of fondant to make the cupcake Hulk fists, shaping them with a toothpick and the blunt end of a metal skewer. You can use green fondant or use white fondant and paint it green – I’ve found it easier to get bright colors by painting white fondant, but the color’s not quite as even. Up to you!
Top with fondant Hulk fists or candy melt spider webs….or whatever decorations you’re theming your cupcakes with!
More options -
Iron Man: (red frosting) I bought cupcake toppers to to decorate this section of the cake, and used small bits of silver leaf to add a bit of extra shine to that part of the cake - in hindsight I wish I'd have used gold; you can buy a set with both here! 
Batman: (black frosting) I printed a batman logo and cut out an oval and then the batman logo shape and used them as templates to cut the same shapes out of fondant. A bit of gel food color later we were good to go!
Captain America: (blue frosting) This one took a little more time – I cut out a small fondant star and a large, medium/large, medium/small, small fondant circle. The largest and medium/small circles I painted red, and the small circle was blue – the layers as you stack them should be red, white, red, blue, and then the fondant star. I know, a lot – but it looks super cool when you’re done!
  • Make this recipe? Let me know how it went - or find me on Pinterest or Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!
Intensive Cake Unit
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