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

lizlaughs said...

My favorite cupcake flavor combination is chocolate cupcakes, with whipped cream frosting, sprinkled with crushed peppermint candy canes.

May 19, 2009 03:56 PM
betsy said...

anything chocolate wins in my book!

betsylynn3 at yahoo dot com

May 19, 2009 03:58 PM
T. Delaurier ( said...

I just love the combination of lemon and lavender…I have this awesome edible lavender and it’s so delicious!

May 19, 2009 03:58 PM
Anonymous said...

I’d have to say something with lemon would be my favorite. Thanks for the giveaway.

mdeardorff at windstream dot net


May 19, 2009 03:59 PM
wingsfan said...

Very nice! Love the hatbox idea!

May 19, 2009 04:00 PM
Anonymous said...

red velvet with cream cheese icing! :)

May 19, 2009 04:00 PM
Jenni said...

I love chocolate/mint and chocolate/almond! :)
I can’t wait to try making the tower! Thanks for the inspiration!

May 19, 2009 04:03 PM
Megan said...

Any cupcake, as long as it has the cream cheese frosting…Yum…

May 19, 2009 04:03 PM
Niamh said...

I’m a total chocaholic, so i love chocolate cupcakes with chocolate fugde buttercream. Heaven!

Your communion cupcakes look amazing! Great idea! Pity the Communion Day in my hometown was last weekend! I would have loved to have had this in mind to bring to the party I was at!


May 19, 2009 04:04 PM
corrinesan said...

My fave is a deep chocolate/coffee cupcake with a white vanilla hint of almond buttercream… mmmmm

May 19, 2009 04:06 PM
Cat said...

Red Velvet and cream cheese icing is my favorite. It’s very elegant looking too. People just love them.

May 19, 2009 04:07 PM
Kat said...

I would have to say Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting!

Bakerella, you are so amazing!!!

May 19, 2009 04:08 PM
Alisha said...

yeah, chocolate on chocolate will have to try your recipe

May 19, 2009 04:08 PM
Anonymous said...

I love making pineapple upside down cup cakes! nobody expects a treat at the BOTTOM! leslee

May 19, 2009 04:09 PM
Rosanne said...

I love chocolate with peanut butter frosting!

May 19, 2009 04:09 PM
Don't Start None...There Won't be None said...

Chocolate chocolate chip cupcakes….right out of the oven when the chips are still melty (not sure that’s a word :o) ) no icing. But if I have to choose an icing, then vanilla buttercream!

May 19, 2009 04:11 PM
melissa gargalis said...

yellow cake with chocolate frosting, not quite original, but I’m pretty sure I could eat at least one pan full!!! You do such cute stuff, I love seeing your newest inspirations.

May 19, 2009 04:11 PM
Anonymous said...

chocolate ganache filled vanilla cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting yum!

May 19, 2009 04:11 PM
Artemisa said...

Hola!! Me encanta este Blog, y mi sabor preferido de cupcake es el chocolate con cobertura de chocolate!!

Saludos desde México

May 19, 2009 04:12 PM
Rachelle said...

Man! I have to pick ONE fav??? Hmmm….carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. simply divine.

May 19, 2009 04:12 PM
Maria said...

Wish they had this when my son was little. Oh, well, my nieces and nephews are having kids. They would love it!

May 19, 2009 04:14 PM
Marnie said...

Chocolate with cherry cream cheese frosting! YUM!

marn lars ben at live dot ca

May 19, 2009 04:14 PM
Pauline said...

Those cupcakes are adorable! I love chai tea cupcakes with cream cheese frosting!

May 19, 2009 04:15 PM
Krystal said...

My FAVORITE type of cupcake is just yellow cake with buttercream frosting. I then fill the yellow cake mix with a raspberry or strawberry filling….yum…yum…yum
Cupcakes are fun!!

May 19, 2009 04:15 PM
Smiley Grace said...

well… usually red velvet and cream cheese but I also love just classic vanilla and chocolate!!!

May 19, 2009 04:15 PM
Shea said...

Chocolate with chocolate frosting and some toasted coconut flakes on the top!

May 19, 2009 04:15 PM
itsmereginalee said...

Chocolate with chocolate and some more chocolate :)

that chocolate sprinkle cookie looked delicious!

May 19, 2009 04:16 PM
kosherspice said...

I am going to pull a PW here, but I love cupcakes with two different colors. Fudgey chocolate icing with a light fluffy white cake, not to mention the cold glass of milk!

kosherspice at hotmail dot com

May 19, 2009 04:17 PM
Yazmin said...

I love red velvet with creamcheese forsting.

May 19, 2009 04:17 PM
bethasd said...

I saw a s’mores flavor that I’m sure I would love but have never had – graham cracker bottom, chocolate cake, meringue frosting toasted with a torch (on Martha of course). Here’s a good tutorial for homemade cupcake stands Thanks for raising the bar…AGAIN!

May 19, 2009 04:18 PM
Teresa said...

I am the cupcake queen amongst my friends! My fav is chocolate w/peanut butter cups inside.

May 19, 2009 04:19 PM
Carrie said...

I love those cupcakes, a-dorable! That tower would be perfect for my two daughter’s upcoming birthdays. My fav cupcake flavor is red velvet with cream cheese frosting!! I only tried that combo recently due to your blog.

May 19, 2009 04:19 PM
Wendy said...

Strawberry with Lime… like a margarita! The cupcake tower turned out so pretty!! For my husbands reunion a few weeks ago I did a tower of sorts alternating cupcake pops and cupcakes! I won best overall in their dessert contest! Whoo Hoo! Thanks for all the great inspiration!

aggiewrk at hotmail dot com

May 19, 2009 04:19 PM
Lacey said...

I love love love yellow cake with chocolate frosting. SO good.

May 19, 2009 04:19 PM
xtina said...

Lemon cupcake with lemon frosting.
My sister is having this combo for her wedding cake.

christina yun

May 19, 2009 04:19 PM
Anonymous said...

I love Lemon with Lemone buttercream! I think I will make some this weekend. Thanks,

May 19, 2009 04:20 PM
Jannah said...

Carrot cake and cream cheese frosting

jannahswink at gmail dot com

May 19, 2009 04:21 PM
Muddykins said...

here’s one i doubt anyone else will post! :D Ube cake with Buko Pandan filling/frosting. it’s a very filipino combination, and what’s great about it aside from the taste is that the Ube cake is bright purple, and the Buko Pandan is bright green – the look of the two together in a cupcake is awesome!

May 19, 2009 04:21 PM
alicia - said...

I love chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting.

May 19, 2009 04:23 PM
Mona said...

I love devils food with butter flavored buttercream….tastes like Oreos! Ummmm…..

May 19, 2009 04:23 PM
Anonymous said...

A butter yellow cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting! Yummy!

K. C.

May 19, 2009 04:24 PM
Jeff and Jen said...

Cream Cheese and Chocolate…yum!

May 19, 2009 04:24 PM
3443 said...

I love white cake with a coconut buttercream icing.

May 19, 2009 04:24 PM
Anonymous said...

All chocolate, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting!

klnlovesmickey AT yahoo DOT com

May 19, 2009 04:25 PM
Heidi said...

chocolate is a classic, but lately i’m a sucker for ginger with lemon cream-cheese icing… preferably with bits of candied ginger mixed into the batter :D

May 19, 2009 04:25 PM
Alison said...

so out of 3500 comments I know there is no way I can win, but here’s to trying…
As far as favorite cupcakes.. Mmmm…. my birthday’s tomorrow – but instead of cupcakes, I think I’ll take an angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream! That’s my absolute favorite.

May 19, 2009 04:25 PM
Barbara said...

Yummy yellow cake with a deep, dark chocolate icing!! MMMM!!

May 19, 2009 04:26 PM
Sarah Yang said...

Yellow cake with crushed pineapple and mandarin oranges topped with whipped cream.

May 19, 2009 04:27 PM
Maddie said...

I love Banana Split cupcakes! Just in time for the summer cupcake picnics!


May 19, 2009 04:27 PM
Melissa said...

I love all cupcakes, but I have to admit there is nothing like a yellow cupcake with chocolate icing!

May 19, 2009 04:27 PM
Heather said...

I had a friend substitute coconut cream for the liquid in both the cupcake and the frosting. YUM. It made them taste healthy, so I ate 3 to get my daily intake.

May 19, 2009 04:28 PM
Jessica said...

My favorite cupcakes hands down are my brother’s – coffee cupcakes with espresso buttercream (he is a baker for Teacake Bakeshop). Tasty AND darling with the little coffee bean on top!

May 19, 2009 04:28 PM
Jenni said...

I love chocolate/mint and chocolate/almond. I can’t wait to try the cupcake tower!

May 19, 2009 04:30 PM
Katie K. said...

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting..simple yumminess every time :)

May 19, 2009 04:31 PM
Jen said...

My absolute favorite cupcake combo is dark chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. YUMMY!!

May 19, 2009 04:33 PM
CandlebyNight said...

Love your blog. Can’t wait to try the chocolate cream cheese frosting recipe.

May 19, 2009 04:35 PM
Sarah W said...

Gueiness Chocolate Cake with Irish Cream frosting.

May 19, 2009 04:35 PM
Fabi Yvette said...

Simple! Lemon cupcake with buttercream…yummy!

May 19, 2009 04:36 PM
Anonymous said...

I’ve got to go with red velvet and cream cheese frosting, but lemon with lemon buttercream sounds yummy, too. I’d love to fill up the cupcake tower with both, thanks for the blog candy!

Rachel in Sacramento

May 19, 2009 04:37 PM
missMaegan said...

carot cake with rasberry creamcheese frosting – yum

May 19, 2009 04:38 PM
Schwabs said...

I like good ole chocolate with creme cheese frosting. Mmm….

May 19, 2009 04:41 PM
Jennifer said...

Strawberry with strawberry buttercream icing! YUM!

jenniferlbarron at gmail dot com

May 19, 2009 04:41 PM
tanya said...

I love making cupcakes. They are my favourite thing to bake.
My favourite is marble with mint flavoured buttercream frosting.

May 19, 2009 04:42 PM
Rachel said...

Vanilla with chocolate frosting! YUM!!!

May 19, 2009 04:46 PM
AmandaCakes said...

I love everything you do on here!!
My fav flavors would be swiss meringue butter cream with REAL vanilla and dark chocolate cake…simple, but when its done right tastes like vanilla ice cream and chocolate cake!

I also like blackberry butter cream with a vanilla cake as well…different but soo good!!

Thanks Bakerella!!


May 19, 2009 04:46 PM
Lacey said...

hmm, anything chocolately satisfies me!


May 19, 2009 04:47 PM
Miss Viola said...

how cute! My favorite cupcake is Green Velvet Cake for St. Patrick’s Day! Yum yum.

May 19, 2009 04:47 PM
Cat R Waul said...

I’m boring I guess – red velvet with cream cheese frosting! Yum!

May 19, 2009 04:49 PM
teresa said...

lemon! with lemon! yum!!!!

May 19, 2009 04:49 PM
SmiLe said...

Hersey’s Chocolate Cupcake + Strawberry Icing!

May 19, 2009 04:50 PM
Vanessa Contessa said...

I’m a sucker for red velvet and cream cheese! It’s the only flavor I never make myself so it’s a real treat when I get it.

Thanks for all your great ideas!

May 19, 2009 04:50 PM
My Life & Running said...

Pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting is my fave!

Beautiful job!

May 19, 2009 04:50 PM
The Amazing Olsen Family said...

Chocolate and Chocolate…although if you add peanut butter in anywhere there, that is great too.

May 19, 2009 04:51 PM
Laura said...

Key lime anything is my favorite. I REALLY hope I get that cupcake stand because I love making your fun cupcakes!

May 19, 2009 04:52 PM
Nichole said...

Chocolate, Chocolate, and Rainbow Sprinkles!


May 19, 2009 04:52 PM
stephie said...

My most favorite of all the cupcakes in my life are the basics…Yellow cake and white buttercream frosting, and LOTS OF IT. Piled as high as I can get. Thanks for the givaway chances!

May 19, 2009 04:52 PM
Becky said...

I like the classic chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing..and sprinkles.
Those chocolate sprinkles are from Holland, you can buy them at any Dutch Store!! We eat it on bread!! Yumm.. ( yes I have a dutch background!)
beckychart at gmail dot com

May 19, 2009 04:53 PM
Cara said...

Yellow cake with chocolate. Oh – and lots of sprinkles! :)

May 19, 2009 04:53 PM
deer757 said...

Spice cupcakes with cinnamon buttercream frosting!


May 19, 2009 04:54 PM
Lindsey Empie said...

I love carrot cake and cream cheese frosting. I like to justify the carrots in the cakes being a vegetable.

May 19, 2009 04:54 PM
Natalie said...

I’m a sucker for chocolate and peanut butter!

This cupcake tower would be absolutely perfect for the wedding I’m baking cupcakes for on June 6th!

May 19, 2009 04:55 PM
amariaf2000 said...

White on White. Classic. LOVE IT!
~angela @ peonypatch

May 19, 2009 04:55 PM
mandy said...

chocolate cake, cream cheese frosting! so good!
mandydow at gmail dot com

May 19, 2009 04:55 PM
Ky Mom said...

I really love your website, such inspiration! Thanks for sharing!

May 19, 2009 05:00 PM
Cinna said...

My fave has got to be red velvet with cream cheese frosting. It’s what I use to compare different cupcakeries. =o)

May 19, 2009 05:01 PM
Tricia said...

I love chocolate cake with mousse filling and buttercream frosting…I need a glass of milk just thinking about it.

May 19, 2009 05:01 PM
Tiffany said...

Milk chocolate with cream cheese frosting. Yum! But I always love the buttercream frosting from the Wilton cake classes too.

May 19, 2009 05:01 PM
Amy said...

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate-any color, any combination!

May 19, 2009 05:03 PM
Lisa F said...

I’m very simple. I like white cake with chocolate fudge frosting. Heaven!

May 19, 2009 05:03 PM
Rian said...

My favorite cupcake is the classic marble cake and white buttercream OR red velvet and cream cheese frosting.

I am getting into baking cupcakes more and more and have been researching and looking out for cool displays. I love your martha stewart ones, but WIlton products are also fun and easy too!

May 19, 2009 05:04 PM
mangia cake said...

Easy peasie lemon squeezy!!! Best combo…especially this time of year…lemon yogurt cuppies with freshly made strawberry cream cheese icing on top. DELISH!

May 19, 2009 05:05 PM
Anonymous said...

White cake with white whipped frosting…and maybe a few sprinkles for some extra sugar!

Jamie F. –

May 19, 2009 05:05 PM
Donna said...

Chocolate on chocolate or, my friend made cheescake cupcakes…they were to die for. And, last year, my friend made Carrot cake cupcakes….OK, put a cup cake in front of me and I’ll eat it, who am I kidding?

Send me an e-mail when I win. (can you send me a cupcake as well?)

May 19, 2009 05:08 PM
Tamis said...

Anything tropical works…toasted coconut–yummers!

May 19, 2009 05:09 PM
Angie said...

Chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing! YUMMY!

May 19, 2009 05:09 PM
S.u.s.a.n said...

Chocolate, Chocolate & more Chocolate!

Awesome cupcakes, btw!

May 19, 2009 05:11 PM
Teresa said...

chocolate with butter cream frosting.

May 19, 2009 05:11 PM
Jeske said...


Your giant chocolate sprinkles are hagelslag. I live in the Netherlands and we eat it with bread and butter. It’s delicious.
I’ve never used buttercream, but i love banana cupcakes. Just banana or with chocolat or nuts.

May 19, 2009 05:13 PM
MaggieM said...

Chocolate Fudge! I’m a total chocoholic! I would LOVE to win the cupcake tower. It would make my life so much easier when I transport my cupcakes to my granddaughters, who live four hours away from me! And, I love how your cupcakes turned out – you are so talented!

May 19, 2009 05:15 PM
Anonymous said...

Vanilla and Buttercream icing is my favorite! You can contact me to send it on it’s way at:
Tina McDaniel

May 19, 2009 05:15 PM
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