When life gives you muffins, make a muffin cake! So what do you do when the last brunch guest has gone home and you are left with a surplus of Costco muffins, strawberry jelly, and a pound of cream cheese? Well, if you're me, you build a cake. The following instructions have been tweaked quite a bit since the first go round (which used random muffins and strawberry jelly for filling). The final cake is a real crowd pleaser (seriously, it can feed a village). Be careful who you serve it to because you will start getting requests for more (I've probably made about 50 of these things for friends and family).
Step 1: Ingredients
- 12 Costco muffins - chocolate-chocolate chip work best. You can use any of the flavors except the blueberry. They seem to be to soft to hold up a cake.
- Cream cheese frosting - whatever recipe you want use. Make enough recipes so that you use 3 packages of cream cheese. Make sure it is room temp (or so) when you frost the cake.
- Nutella ganache
- 1 large tub of nutella (or two small tubs)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 large candy bars (optional). I used Butterfingers. Any crushable candy bar would work.
- Chocolate covered coffee beans (optional)
Step 2: Make the Filling (Nutella Ganache)
- Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and heat in the microwave until warm (don't boil it - or even get close). My microwave takes one minute but they are all different so do 15 seconds at a time if you aren't sure.
- Scoop all the Nutella into the bowl and whisk together until smooth and one consistent color (brown). It is going to look like a runny mess for a while and then it suddenly it all melts together.
Step 3: Making the Layers
- Cut the tops of 6 muffins (not right where the top starts but about 1.5 inches up - make them all the same height).
- Cut each muffin in half horizontally so you have 2 equal layers.
Note: Eating the leftover muffin tops while making the cake is encouraged, nay, required.
Step 5: Cutting the Muffins
To make the muffins into a cake shape you need to trim them. Each layer uses 6 muffins (from now on, when I refer to a muffin, I mean 1/2 of the muffin which have been cut horizontally.)
Note: Now that Costco muffins come in flats of 6, you could make this cake as many layers as you want. At a certain point, gravity will smack you upside the head but I've done more than double this size)
Cut the muffins into the following shapes for each layer:
- 1 square
- 4 with one edge off
- 1 into quarters
Note: You will end up with lots of extra little muffin slices. They contain no calories (they all stay in the big part) so eat up.
Step 6: Building the Cake
Arrange 1 layer of the cut muffins on a plate or platter according to the diagram.
Note: This cake cannot be moved once it is started so make sure to build it on the plate it will be served on. I use a mirrored plate thing (I think it is actually for candles) I got at Hobby Lobby. They are really cheap (for some reason, they are always 50% off) so you can give them away with the cake (if you are making it for someone else).
Step 7: Adding Filling
Spread with 1/3 of the Nutella ganache. If the ganache is still warm it will be runny but that way it gets in all the crevices. It will firm up as it cools.
Step 8: Adding Candy (optional)
Sprinkle with 1/3 of the crushed candy bar.
Step 9: Adding the Next Layer
- Arrange the next layer of muffins 45 degrees to the preceding layer (see diagram). This helps hold everything together (like a brick wall).
- Continue adding filling, candy, and muffins until you have used all the muffins. There should be four complete layers.
Important: Do not put Nutella on top of the last (top) layer of the cake (you can use the rest to dip the cut off part of the muffins in - to reiterate, no calories in scraps).
Step 10: Frosting the Cake
- Put the whole thing in the fridge to harden up (about 30 minutes for the ganache to harden and for everything to become solid). Remember to lift with your legs, this thing weighs a ton.
- Make the frosting.
- After the cake has hardened, put a thin layer of frosting on the cake. Cover all the muffin and try to even things out (the cake is lumpy and has a fluted shape - you can hide this with frosting or show it).
- Put the cake back in the fridge for the frosting to set (about 15 minutes).
- Put on a final layer of frosting.
Step 11: Finishing the Cake
The edge between the plate and cake is usually pretty messy so I clean up the plate and then push in a ring of chocolate covered coffee beans where the cake meets the plate. You can also pipe some frosting around the edge.
Step 12: Next Steps
After you have mastered the basic steps you can go crazy adding layers or using different flavors. The poppy seed muffins with a filling of orange marmalade is really good. Or you can just make a muffin wedding cake.