Cupcakes for a Picnic

This weekend, I put together a picnic for myself, the Mr. , and his family for us to enjoy before a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Obviously, if I’m planning a meal, there needs to be dessert. One of the easiest ways to transport cupcakes is to pack them neatly into jars and put on the lids. This way they can roll around in the bottom of a tote bag until intermission and still be pretty and delicious.

To make cupcakes in jars you will need: jars with lids (these are Bonne Maman jam jars), cake (I baked a devils food cake in a 9×13 pan), frosting (I used swiss meringue buttercream – tinted pink) and a piping bag with tips (optional).

Even though these are “cupcakes” I baked the cake in a 9×13 layer. I pressed the top of the jar into the cooled cake and then cut through to get a jar sized round of cake. I split that into 2 layers and pressed one layer into the bottom of the jar. Pipe (or spoon) a layer of frosting. I used a 1M (large open star) tip to make the swirl. Then press the other layer of cake on top. Pipe or spoon more frosting on top. I’m still practicing my buttercream roses, so I topped them off with a pretty flower. I loved the look of the cake by Miette bakery featured on Bakerella HERE so that was the style I was going for in cupcake form.

Tie them up with bakers twine and forks, and you will be all ready to head out on your picnic without worrying about cupcakes sliding around and losing all their frosting! This method works with any combo of cake and frosting you like!

Here is my recipe for swiss meringue buttercream:


4 egg whites

1 cup granulated sugar

1/8t cream of tartar (optional)

1 cup softened unsalted butter

1 cup softened salted butter

1t vanilla extract (or flavor of your choice)

Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the top of a double boiler (or heatproof bowl). Set this on top of a pan of simmering water and whisk until the mixture reaches 160F (use a candy thermometer – this will take around 5 minutes, maybe less). Pour the syrup into a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and begin beating. Add the cream of tartar if you have it – this acts as meringue insurance and can make it more stable, but is not absolutely necessary. Whisk until the meringue is completely cool and forms stiff peaks. Switch to the paddle attachement. Throw the soft butter in one tablespoon at a time. I like to use a mixture of salted and unsalted butter, but you could use all unsalted then add salt to taste. Add the flavoring of your choice and coloring, if desired. If at any point your frosting looks nasty and curdled, fear not! Just turn the mixer on high and beat it into submission. Yes, it will work. If your frosting looks soupy, you probably did not let the meringue cool enough. Just put it into the fridge for a few minutes then resume beating. This frosting is creamy and delicious and freezes beautifully if you don’t need the whole batch right away. Store cakes frosted with this in the refrigerator overnight, but take out and let it warm to room temperature for several hours before serving. Enjoy!



  1. Thankfully, I am part of “the family” ;o) so I was able to enjoy these beautifully prepared and very yummy cupcakes! (along with the rest of the delightful picnic you prepared, Jillian!) You make it look soooo easy! The roses are so pretty too!

    Thank you so much – we had so much fun and the cupcakes were deeeeelish!!

    Auntie 🙂

  2. This is an awesome idea. I need to plan a picnic day now!!


  1. […] this cake, I filled chocolate cake with dense fudgy filling, and enrobed it in baby pink Swiss Merinue Buttercream.  For the flowers, I used Basic Buttercream, as it’s much sturdier for piping intricate […]

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