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Sunflower Cupcake Cake

Sunshine-hued cupcakes come into full bloom around a central cake covered in berries that mimic sunflowers' familiar seeds. You'll need about 75 mini cupcakes to pull off the incredible design, so bake them in batches and then frost them together once they have cooled.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 25
  • Yield: Makes one 5-inch cake and about 75 mini cupcakes
Sunflower Cupcake Cake

Source: Martha Stewart Living, March 2011


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Easy Buttercream
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Gel-paste food coloring (
  • 3/4 cup blackberries or blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flours, baking powder, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt into a bowl.

  2. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat in vanilla.

  3. Butter a 5-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, dust with all-purpose flour, and tap out excess. Line mini-muffin tins with mini baking cups (you'll need 75 cupcakes total).

  4. Fill tart pan halfway with batter (about 1/2 cup), then fill each baking cup halfway with batter (a generous tablespoon each). Bake until tops spring back when lightly touched, about 12 minutes for the cupcakes and 14 minutes for the cake. Transfer pans to wire racks, and let cake and cupcakes cool completely.

  5. Transfer 1/4 cup buttercream to a bowl, and stir in cocoa powder. Divide remaining buttercream among 3 bowls, and tint each batch a different shade of yellow or orange with gel-paste food coloring. Frost tops of cupcakes using the 3 colors. Frost top of cake with chocolate buttercream. Arrange berries over top of cake to cover and create "seeds." Arrange cupcakes around cake to create "petals," forming a sunflower shape.

Cook's Note

Unfrosted cake and cupcakes can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Reviews (4)

  • CRK9 27 May, 2013

    You would need a tray that is at least 19-20" wide. The center cake is 5" and the mini cupcakes are 1-3/4". They didn't use a tray in the photo and that's probably why.

  • drmathkat 19 Apr, 2013

    This is not a review but a question. Does anyone know how large this sunflower is? I am trying to figure out if I have a pan/plate large enough to put it on. Thanks.

  • patri2430 10 Mar, 2013

    for the mini muffin pans is it the 1 inch or the 3 quater one those are tiny tiny cupcakes.-

  • kiltfire 28 Jul, 2012

    "cupcake cake" sounds like a typo....

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