Monday, May 18, 2009

The Cupcake Tower

Cupcake Tower

My bestest friend’s daughter received first communion this past weekend and my friend asked me to make cupcakes for the party afterwards.

I immediately said sure. No problem. How many do you want?

She goes, “How about 50. Yeah, at least 50.”

50? Ummm… okay. Thinking in the back of my mind… How am I going to transport 50 cupcakes and still keep them as fresh as possible because I’ll have to make them the night before? And what am I going to carry them all in and put them on? Now, that may not sound like a lot to you guys, but it is when you’ve never done that many for someone else before and especially for a whole bunch of people you’ll have to look in the face if they don’t like them. I’m not a caterer, you know.… I tend to panic right before I bake. I’m weird like that

… and, then how to decorate them? What do you do for communion cupcakes anyway?


Luckily, I still had the invitation laying around, so I just used it for inspiration.

Fondant Cut Outs

And, after visiting several stores, I finally found a 4-tier Cupcake Tower from Wilton that would hold about 36 cupcakes. That was the biggest I could find, and seeing as how I waited until the last minute… I grabbed it.

I wanted each tier to alternate with the design, so I started planning and put my math skills to work.

12 + 8 + 1 = 21 (Excellent… Martha Stewart’s One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes makes about 22.) Check! These will be chocolate cupcakes with pink tinted vanilla buttercream frosting. YUM!

10 + 6 = 16 (Yay… Half of this moist yellow cake recipe makes about 18) Perfect! These will be vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting. YUM! YUM!

Note: I doubled the buttercream recipe for each of these so I would have enough… especially for the swirly ones (made with the 1M tip).

But wait… that’s 37. Perfect for the cupcake tower, but I need 50. Not enough. (I got As in math, by the way.)

So I made another batch of cupcakes by halving this Easter cupcake recipe from a few weeks ago and a chocolate cream cheese frosting. I could have doubled one of the others, but I decided to make a third kind. That way I could have people choose their favorite chocolate one. I like feedback.

Fondant Cut Outs

The night before I made the cupcakes, I made these cute little toppers. I tinted some fondant pink and used my favorite set of double-sided graduated cutters to make the shapes. These were going on the vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting. They’ll really pop on white.

Fondant Cut Outs

Then, I tinted some more of the fondant a dark brown. To get it this dark, use brown and then add some violet until you get the right shade.

For the crosses, I photocopied the invitation and scaled it down until it was a size that would fit inside of the pink shape when cut out.

Then, all you have to do is roll out the fondant and cut it in rectangular shapes that match the height and width of the cross. Mine are a little uneven, but no worries.

Fondant Cut Outs
Because, you can make adjustments when you finish up the crosses. And all you do for that is remove sections from each of the four corners with a cutter until you are left with the remaining cross shape. Her invitation had edges that varied in width, so I used this tiny triangle cutter to do the job. You can just as easily use a square cutter and end up with evenly shaped sides.

Then, use a tiny dab of water on the underside of the crosses and attach them to the pink fondant cutouts. Easy.

Now I had plenty of toppers, plenty of cupcakes and plenty of frosting. But not plenty of room to showcase them. Remember, the tower only holds 36 and I now had 50 some odd cupcakes.

What to do? What to do?

Ask Martha of course. She always has an answer.


I found this beautiful display in my Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine (Spring 2009). They’re made of graduated hat boxes and wrapped with designs printed on card stock. Cool, huh. I got really excited and even thought about ditching the whole cupcake tower thing. She has very detailed instructions here. But, after reading, I realized they were for mini cupcakes. Nooooooo! And even though I got A’s in math, I didn’t feel like figuring out all the conversions to adjust. Yuck-o-rama.

So, I took her lead and went looking for hat boxes… in any size I could find. Which wasn’t many. I found big and round and that’s about it. So instead of stacking mine, I made two separate displays.

Communion Cupcakes

I think they came out super cute. If you look closely, the design is the same as the background in the invitation, above.

I copied the ornamental design and repeated the pattern on an 11X17 document and printed it out on heavyweight paper.

Then, I cut the paper horizontally in half in a wavy line that went in between two rows of the ornamental pattern. Does that make sense? Hope so.

Then, I trimmed off the outer edges since my printer won’t bleed the image to the edge of the paper and taped two of the pieces together to wrap around the hat box.

If I was Martha Stewart, I would have figured out precise measurements and made sure the patterns matched up at the meeting points, but I’m not and no one noticed that they were off by a hair.

Heck, no one even noticed that I used the pattern from the invitation. Bummer. I think I was more proud about that than the cupcakes.

Communion Cupcakes

And, ooooh, the cupcakes. They were so good. Especially these with the chocolate cream cheese frosting. But so were the other chocolate cupcakes with the pink buttercream… the cake was more chocolatey. It’s a draw, I guess. Notice the second set of fondant toppers I made… smaller and cuter.


Check this one out. After covered in frosting I put these giant chocolate sprinkles on.


A big thanks to my new friend Liz in Greece who sent them to me. I think they’re actually made in Belgium, though. Look how shiny and big they are compared to the normal chocolate sprinkles I usually find. They taste great, they come in a big box and they even have a handy pourable spout. I love ‘em!

Communion Cupcakes

And, so did she. The sprinkle ones were her favorite. She was so sweet. She almost made me tear up when she said they were the very best things I ever made for her.… then she said… except the Halloween Cake Pops … and except the Easter Basket Cupcakes. Cute. I’m just glad I made her smile.

Now… who wants a Cupcake Tower? I know. I know. I usually don’t do two giveaways in a row, but I actually liked this thing a lot!
Cupcake Tower
It’s simple and easy to use.

Cupcake Tower

It stays nested for storage and it even tilts slightly to give a better view of the cupcakes. And best of all, it was only $20 bucks! Score!

I liked it so much, I want someone else to enjoy it with me.

So, I’m gonna give away three of them.

Enter for a chance to win:
A Cupcake Tower
  • Just leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite cupcake flavor combination. I’m curious.
  • Leave your comment with a way for me to contact you if you win (either a blog link or email)
  • Deadline to enter is Tuesday, May 19th at 5:00 p.m. WINNERS BELOW (recorded by the comment time stamp)
  • Three winners will be chosen at random* and announced sometime Tuesday evening on this post.

* One winner will be chosen at random, using’s integer generator.

Good Luck!

Oh my gosh, all the flavors you guys listed are making me crave some cupcakes. I’d take any flavor as long as I can have one right now… even coconut. And, by the way, I’m glad to see so many of you love red velvet as much as I do. And cream cheese frosting. Yum! Okay, let’s see who won from the 3,986 entries.

A big cupcake tower congrats to:
Commenter # 1879 – James-n-Amber
Commenter # 390 – Jessica
Commenter # 1796 – Camille

Cotterman Chaos said...

I’m a simple girl, dark chocolate with white/vanilla/cream cheese/buttercream frosting.

May 18, 2009 09:52 AM
Marilyn said...

Chocolate with cherry! Your creations are wonderful.

May 18, 2009 09:56 AM
Patsy M said...

Oooh… that would come in handy for my niece’s baby shower!
My favorite cupcake combo…I like them all, it’s hard to pick, but I love pineapple flavored yellow cake with a coconut icing. Pina colada cupcakes are delicious :)

May 18, 2009 10:00 AM
Anonymous said...

hi bakerella, i might just borrow the martha idea, so awesome. your cupcakes sound really yummy but you know what my favourite cupcakes are plain chocolate with fudgy choccy icing that my 3 year old daughter and i make for school, most of the time they are little ones, uneven and haphazard but we love them just the same.


May 18, 2009 10:02 AM
Karin said...

I am a huge chocolate fan – chocolate cupcakes, with vanilla flour frosting is my favorite combination!

May 18, 2009 10:07 AM
Dimpy said...

Red velvet and cream cheese, my passion.

May 18, 2009 10:07 AM
jupitermaiden said...

My favorite cupcakes ever are dark chocolate with a caramel center and a rich layer of ganache covered with a sweet chocolate icing on top…. and hot pink sprinkles!!! haha

Some math for you! ;D
my userhandle + = my email address

May 18, 2009 10:09 AM
Ashley B. said...

My fave cupcake combo is and always will be strawberry cake with cream cheese icing. I have it ever birthday!

May 18, 2009 10:14 AM
Ruthanne said...

chocolate with cream cheese frosting :D

Your cupcakes turned out gooorgeous! And I love the hat box idea.

May 18, 2009 10:15 AM
Anonymous said...

I am sucker for German chocolate cupcakes with that addictive coconut-gooey frosting! Yum!


May 18, 2009 10:16 AM
Carrie said...

Another vote for red velvet with cream cheese!

May 18, 2009 10:17 AM
Mary said...

cute! I have a metal cupcake tower, but it looks really cheap. I love yellow cake with chocolate buttercream!

May 18, 2009 10:18 AM
Rebecca said...

I used to always pick chocolate all the time, but now I have to say that I would more likely pick the vanilla cupcake with a buttercream.

May 18, 2009 10:23 AM
Anonymous said...

I just made 48 cupcakes for my son’s graduation – german chocolate with coconut icing and coconut sprinkles. Delish!

May 18, 2009 10:25 AM
Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

The chocoholic in me has to say chocolate cupcakes with some kind of a mocha frosting.

May 18, 2009 10:25 AM
Melanie said...

Chocolate with chocolate…can’t go wrong there…YUM!

May 18, 2009 10:28 AM
Renate said...

I’m not very well versed in the world of cupcakes (yet!), so I’m just going to have to go with chocolate/chocolate.

Your photos are truly inspiring, though, and I will definitely have to experiment with cupcakes once this dratted exam period is over.

May 18, 2009 10:33 AM
Kate said...

I love cherry chip cupcakes with chocolate buttercream icing!

May 18, 2009 10:35 AM
Gali said...

My favorite kind of cupcake is chocolate cake with whipped chocolate ganache :)
Your cupcakes are beautiful.

May 18, 2009 10:36 AM
Grant and Taryn Layton said...

Lemon cupcake with raspberry filling and lemon frosting…with some lemon zest and a fresh raspberry on top of course :)

May 18, 2009 10:39 AM
Jo xoxo said...

oooooh yummy

May 18, 2009 10:39 AM
John and Gigi said...

Yellow cupcake with chocolate frosting!

May 18, 2009 10:41 AM
Kimble-Wood said...

I enjoy strawberry margarita cupcakes with a lime frosting. So refreshing!

May 18, 2009 10:41 AM
Beat said...

Chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting =)

May 18, 2009 10:41 AM
bttrflybabydoll said...

I’m sad, but I just love chocolate with chocolate buttercream! I’m a chocoholic. Although, I’m digging the Lemon that Nina is talking about in comment #2!


May 18, 2009 10:48 AM
Erica said...

I have to do something for a baby shower in June and this would look so cute!

May 18, 2009 10:48 AM
charlotte said...

Red velvet with cream cheese frosting. I could eat the whole tower full! Ha! Ha! Ha!

May 18, 2009 10:49 AM
rhiannon said...

vanilla with dark chocolate icing

May 18, 2009 10:52 AM
Rusha said...

Carrot cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting.. Mmmm

May 18, 2009 10:52 AM
Jess said...

I’m a pretty simple gal–chocolate cake with chocolate frosting!!

May 18, 2009 10:53 AM
Beth said...

carrot cupcakes with cream cheese.. well, really anything with cream cheese frosting!

May 18, 2009 10:53 AM
sharon said...

My favorite is the one bowl chocolate with a swiss buttercream.


May 18, 2009 10:53 AM
Gypsy aka Tam said...

Oh what lovely cupcakes and what great display ideas. I’m a chocolate cupcake person. Double or triple chocolate with chocolate frosting or whipped nutella frosting, yum!
I’d love to be entered into your awesome giveaway, I sooooo need one of these towers since I’ll have my sons graduation party coming up and 75 cupcakes need to be displayed!!
Have a great Monday,

May 18, 2009 10:54 AM
Anonymous said...

yellow with chocolate fudge icing!

May 18, 2009 10:54 AM
magnifique-f8h said...

Aww, do your international readers (not in the US) get to win too? Haha. ;p

I like chocolate cupcakes with Kahlua frosting. :D

May 18, 2009 10:55 AM
Dawn said...

I love peanut butter cupcakes with milk chocolate frosting!

Your cupcakes were beautiful!

May 18, 2009 10:56 AM
Karen said...

Ohhh, what a sweet offer! My favorite is Martha Stewart’s Smores cupcakes! Yum!

May 18, 2009 10:57 AM
Norm said...

How to choose a favourite?!? Maybe Red Velvet with Cream cheese icing? Or perhaps chocolate with pear (chopped and mixed into the batter?).

Any of them would look good on that stand though…

May 18, 2009 10:57 AM
aandara said...

I love tres leches cupcakes, and key lime pie cupcakes, with key lime frosting. thanks again for doing the give away

May 18, 2009 10:58 AM
Angielala said...

My favorite cupcake right now is yellow cupcake with chocolate butter cream frosting. Simple and Yummy!

May 18, 2009 11:00 AM
Beth said...

I made “vampire” cupcakes a couple of halloweens ago…just plain box mix white-white cake stuffed with my homemade red raspberry jam and topped with vanilla frosting. So simple, so good, such great contrast!

May 18, 2009 11:00 AM
JoAnn said...

Beautiful cupcakes!
Cupcake fave – chocolate w/cream cheese frosting

May 18, 2009 11:01 AM
Artsy Aut said...

I know its simple, but I just love chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Especially if I use my special frosting made with Ovaltine! So good!

May 18, 2009 11:01 AM
Alison said...

My favorites are coconut cupcakes with lime buttercream frosting!!

May 18, 2009 11:05 AM
Donna said...

My friend makes these awesome chocolate cupcakes with carmel frosting. Her secret a hint of salt in the frosting. One of the best I have ever eaten.

May 18, 2009 11:06 AM
Browniesmoke said...

Yellow cake with chocolate icing. Yum!

May 18, 2009 11:07 AM
Kacie said...

Rainbow sprinkles cupcakes with rainbow chip icing! YUMMY!

May 18, 2009 11:09 AM
Reb said...

Chocolate with buttercream, I’m easy! Of course that may be my favorite but I’ll eat any cupcake that’s put in front of me!

May 18, 2009 11:09 AM
tracylee said...

I’m a cupcake purist – chocolate with vanilla buttercream frosting. Yum!

May 18, 2009 11:09 AM
Lizzy Borden said...

I am chocolate on chocolate lover. Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing. What could be better.
I love your cupcakes. Your site is inspirational.

May 18, 2009 11:10 AM
Lucie Blue said...

My favourite cupcake flavour is from a gorgeous cupcake shop near me called the Cupcakery (bestest name EVER). It’s called Scarlett O’Hara and is a dark chocolate cupcake with milk chocolate buttercream piping (really thick mmm) and then red edible sparkles and a red heart on top. Mmmm.

May 18, 2009 11:12 AM
Anouk said...

I love chocolate and cream cheese cupcakes. Delicious!!!!

May 18, 2009 11:13 AM
Parker and John said...

Carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting!

May 18, 2009 11:13 AM
Mel said...

Easy – red velvet with cream cheese frosting. Mmmm….

melaniebimson at gmail dot com

May 18, 2009 11:14 AM
stsomewhere said...

Dark chocolate cake with coconut buttercream – yum!

May 18, 2009 11:14 AM
Laura said...

Strawberry with cream cheese icing.

May 18, 2009 11:14 AM
Alexis said...

I love chocolate with cream cheese frosting.

Your cupcakes were beautiful. I’m like you – I panic when baking for others.

May 18, 2009 11:15 AM
Linny said...

For my little sister’s birthday last year, we made strawberry cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting. They were delicious and my little sister loved them because they were pink!


May 18, 2009 11:16 AM
jess1979 said...

My favorite is yellow cake with buttercream…nothing special, but so good!

May 18, 2009 11:16 AM
Adaiha said...

Your cupcakes are beautiful, and I love the way you displayed them! My favorite cupcake combination is peanut butter with chocolate chips and peanut butter cream cheese frosting!

They sell those awesome sprinkles in the “international” section at my huge local Asian grocery store. They come in pretty colors, too!

adaiha at gmail dot com

May 18, 2009 11:16 AM
Loralynn said...

Ooohh…devil’s food with milk chocolate frosting…it doesn’t get any better!

May 18, 2009 11:17 AM
Deana said...

I am a traditional kind of gal. Chocolate and chocolate. I have been hooked on the recipe on the back of the cocoa box. It is so moist. YUM!!! And don’t forget the tall glass of cold milk to go with.

May 18, 2009 11:17 AM
Ann-Charlott said...

I love the white chocolate and raspberry combo. To me that is perfection in a single bite.

May 18, 2009 11:19 AM
Ash said...

Funfetti-straight out of the oven with no icing! Yeah, I’m weird! Haha!

May 18, 2009 11:19 AM
Becca said...

I like red velvet and cheesecake cream. :)

May 18, 2009 11:19 AM
Anonymous said...

chocolate on chocolate. love chocolate.

May 18, 2009 11:20 AM
Joel and Maria said...

Mmmm…tropical carrot with coconut, pineapple and macadamia nuts. Or anything else with cream cheese frosting. Coconut, lemon, vanilla, the possibilities are endless!

May 18, 2009 11:21 AM
natalie said...

i recently tried a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting that was to die for!!!

May 18, 2009 11:21 AM
Jodi said...

Oh how to choose! First to mind is a nice rich chocolate cupcake with cherries and a vanilla buttercream frosting :)

May 18, 2009 11:21 AM
KeL said...

Chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache!!!

May 18, 2009 11:22 AM
Kelli said...

In my book, nothing beats a good red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting. Mmmmmm!
pckrfan [at]

May 18, 2009 11:24 AM
candace said...

chocolate and chocolate icing!!!!
I’m a plain jane kinda girl and love my chocolate!Great job on yours!!

May 18, 2009 11:24 AM
Shoebotmom said...

I am so into cupcakes right now! My favorite is French Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Frosting. Delish!!!!

May 18, 2009 11:25 AM
Gene and Annie said...

I love chocolate cupcakes and I really like whipped cream topping!! Yum!!!

May 18, 2009 11:26 AM
Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

Orange and poppyseed. With cream cheese frosting sprinkled with candied orange peel. Pretty and delicious.

May 18, 2009 11:29 AM
Sarah K said...

Chocolate with almond flavored buttercream!

May 18, 2009 11:30 AM
Jacque said...

Chocolate with cream cheese frosting!!

May 18, 2009 11:31 AM
Columbia Thorndale said...

I love the idea of a cupcake tower, My favourite flavour or dream would be chocolate coated peanut butter flavour. Mmmmm… I am hungry now

May 18, 2009 11:32 AM
Nanna said...

I love chocolate with buttercream frosting….yummmmm!!
These are very pretty!

May 18, 2009 11:32 AM
sweetiepie said...

Chocolate with peanut butter cream cheese frosting.

May 18, 2009 11:33 AM
DawnP said...

I’m pretty new to the cupcake game (just discovered your blog and now I’m addicted), so I haven’t had a chance to come up with any creative combos yet. Right now, my fave is boring (but still totally yummy) yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

May 18, 2009 11:33 AM
Anonymous said...

Plain old yellow with chocolate icing! Love your site.

May 18, 2009 11:34 AM
ansa said...

Martha Stewart had a Maple Brown Sugar cupcake in her magazine a couple of months ago. It was deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelicious.

May 18, 2009 11:34 AM
Meredith said...

It’s these muffins I made up when my children were smaller. Trying to sneak as much veggies into their lives as possible. Then we tried them on friends and got rave reviews. *insert evil laugh* all those veggies and so many nom nom noms. Of course, you have to cover them with something sort of healthy. So it’s got to be cream cheese frosting

May 18, 2009 11:35 AM
Lovey said...

Orange with vanilla buttercream.

May 18, 2009 11:36 AM
Jackie said...

I have been eyeing up that tower, I would just love to win it! My absolute drop dead favorite is Devil’s food with Dark Chocolate frosting… hands down!

May 18, 2009 11:37 AM
Andrew & Laura said...

Carrot cake with cream cheese!

May 18, 2009 11:37 AM
Desirae said...

The Communion Cupcakes are beautiful!

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting have always been my favorite. :)

purplepinkadots at yahoo dot com

May 18, 2009 11:38 AM
Anonymous said...

Chocolate orange! Yummy
lambeez dot com
lambeezart at gmail dot com

May 18, 2009 11:38 AM
TropicGirl said...

Chocolate and peanut butter. It’s the best!

May 18, 2009 11:38 AM
Emily said...

Dark chocolate cake with my mom’s almond buttercream frostimg…mmm!!!

May 18, 2009 11:39 AM
Linda said...

chocolate cupcake with chocolate cream cheese frosting. Yummm

May 18, 2009 11:39 AM
Balancing Act said...

Chocolate and chocolate!

May 18, 2009 11:39 AM
Abbie said...

Red velvet with cream cheese frosting!

May 18, 2009 11:39 AM
Balancing Act said...

Chocolate and chocolate!

May 18, 2009 11:40 AM
caryn said...

MMmmmm……..raspberry and lime, yellow cake!

May 18, 2009 11:40 AM
sarah said...

Oh this cupcake tower would be perfect for my wedding! We are doing a dessert table, so will only have a few cupcakes sitting out. Pick me! Pick me! :)

My favorite flavor is Lemon cake with raspberry filling. YUM!

May 18, 2009 11:40 AM
Andrea said...

I like vanilla cupcakes with coconut frosting.

May 18, 2009 11:40 AM
Natalie Cromer said...

These look wonderful! I like vanilla cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Thanks for the giveaway!

May 18, 2009 11:41 AM
Traci said...

My favorite combination would have to be the ol’stand by…white cake with white frosting complete with sprinkles galore!!

Thanks so much.

May 18, 2009 11:41 AM
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