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

Amy said...

Red velvet & cream cheese! Yummy!!!

May 19, 2009 05:17 PM
Elsie said...

Chocolate with strawberry buttercream!

May 19, 2009 05:17 PM
lunchbucket said...

I enjoy this post so much. But you’re freaking insane! Printing off the pattern from the invite to make a cupcake tier!

I mean that in a good way. I don’t do a heck of a lot of baking, but I’m interested in trying your recipes without the help of Wilton.

These are cupcakes, which though I haven’t tried, I presume must be a delicious combo:
Chocolate, beer, whiskey, and bailey’s frosting. They’d probably make an amazing cake, too.

May 19, 2009 05:17 PM
Dianna said...

The cupcakes look beautiful…I’m sure they were delicious too! YUM!!


May 19, 2009 05:18 PM
Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

You are now officially the queen of cuteness. I love your little crosses :)
Chocolate with chocolate cream cheese sounds great :)

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

This looks really great!

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

lemon cupcake with strawberry filling and frosting is my favorite at the moment. kind of a strawberry lemonade vibe.

May 19, 2009 05:20 PM
jolie fatale said...

red velvet with cream cheese frosting!

May 19, 2009 05:21 PM
bella said...

chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting :)

May 19, 2009 05:21 PM
abbiejsmith said...

opps, Red velvet with cream cheese of course!

May 19, 2009 05:22 PM
Aimée said...

Super cool post- love the colors.

Right now I’m turning into my mother because I love vanilla. A perfect vanilla-vanilla cupcake with an expertly executed vanilla bean buttercream makes me VERY happy.

May 19, 2009 05:22 PM
Anonymous said...

red velvet and cream cheese frosting – delish!

etrebits at

May 19, 2009 05:22 PM
anna said...

My favorite combination is French vanilla cupcakes with Peppermint buttercream frosting.

May 19, 2009 05:24 PM
Aislinn said...

omigosh i’m a cupcake fiend lately. i love any with a good creamy cream cheese icing, but especially a good dark chocolate one, they’re so rich it’s wonderful!

May 19, 2009 05:24 PM
angela said...

Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, of course! I love you Bakerella!!!!

May 19, 2009 05:24 PM
Samantha said...

i love the one bowl chocolate cupcakes with chocolate swiss buttercream. and i just made 60 for my own birthday party! vanilla/vanilla, chocolate/chocolate, lemon/lemon… and the swiss buttercream was amazing. but VERY stressful to make that many! i transported in bakery boxes, which made it very easy to transport them and assemble “on location.” (

May 19, 2009 05:25 PM
Dee said...

Milk Choc cupcakes w/ Peanut butter frosting. A family Fav! LOVE the site. Im new to it and so glad I found it! My 1st post to a yummy blog! TY for all the insperation, you are amazing!

May 19, 2009 05:26 PM
josh & eva said...

Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter chocolate icing!

May 19, 2009 05:26 PM
Jessica said...

I haven’t ever had a cupcake as good as Barefoot Contessa’s Coconut Cupcakes!

May 19, 2009 05:28 PM
Sally said...

I’m a basics kind a gal… chocolate (homemade of course not a cake mix) and buttercream icing…. mmmm my favorite.

May 19, 2009 05:28 PM
graphics_girl said...

You know, I’m boring, but I like white or yellow with buttercream. Thanks for the opportunity, I’ve been really wanting to get one of these!

May 19, 2009 05:30 PM
aly3kids said...

Honestly, I’d eat any cupcake (or 3) put in front of me, but my favorite… at least what pops into my head right now… is chocolate with buttercream icing.

May 19, 2009 05:30 PM
Demingglobal said...

What about cappaccino cupcakes – can’t you make those???? With coffee/mocha icing. Yes please!

May 19, 2009 05:33 PM
Evan said...

yellow with fudge icing. mmmmmm

May 19, 2009 05:35 PM
Jennifer said...

My daughter made a Barefoot Contessa chocolate cake that had coffee in it with a peanut butter frosting. So yummy!

May 19, 2009 05:36 PM
Ashli said...

Cream filled chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting. Yum! You could also add some raspberry filling to the cream for a little surprise!

May 19, 2009 05:37 PM
Anonymous said...

chocolate with buttercream!! yum!
love your work.. amazing!

May 19, 2009 05:38 PM
Anonymous said...

I love red velvet with yummy cream cheese frosting! Your cupcakes look beautiful!
samiam214 at yahoo dot com
www dot brokenroadfarm dot com

May 19, 2009 05:39 PM
DanceMotion is... said...

I’m kind of boring – I love vanilla cupcakes with buttercream icing!

May 19, 2009 05:40 PM
Maryann said...

i’m pretty basic. Vanilla cake with a cream cheese crosting.

May 19, 2009 05:43 PM
Anonymous said...

Spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting! YUM!

May 19, 2009 05:43 PM
Josie said...

Love that you went to so much trouble for the second batch! They turned out super in the hat box! My fav is a carrot cake with gooey cream cheese frosting and snippits of carrot pre-dipped in syrup!

May 19, 2009 05:43 PM
Jen said...

Chocolate all the way!

May 19, 2009 05:43 PM
Taylor said...

A sweet Potato cupcake with cream cheese frosting is to die for!

May 19, 2009 05:44 PM
Anonymous said...

Your’s are always beautiful! My all time favorite is strawberry cupcake with fluffy strawberry icing.

Enjoy your site

May 19, 2009 05:44 PM
Hillary said...

Banana Bread with a cream cheese frosting! Way to yummy!

May 19, 2009 05:44 PM
Elise said...

mmm moist chocolate cupcakes with mint frosting!!!!

May 19, 2009 05:45 PM
Maria said...

I love lime coconut or chocolate coconut!

May 19, 2009 05:46 PM
Sharon L said...

chocolate cupcake with strawberry whipped frosting!! Yum

May 19, 2009 05:46 PM
Lori Stamz said...

Peanut Butter & Jelly

May 19, 2009 05:47 PM
amybyrd said...

chocolate with chocolate frosting!!

May 19, 2009 05:47 PM
Sarah said...

i love chocolate so my favorite is choc/choc and of coarse some chocolate sprinkles on top. yum.

May 19, 2009 05:47 PM
Jane said...

I’m a simple girl, my favorite is white with good old buttercream

May 19, 2009 05:48 PM
Nicole said...

Red velvet with vanilla frosting. YUM!

May 19, 2009 05:48 PM
tab said...

Definitely chocolate and chocolate. And chocolate.

May 19, 2009 05:48 PM
Ashley said...

Love chocoloate with a layer of raspberry jam and then topped with chocolate ganache!!!

May 19, 2009 05:49 PM
Trista said...

I’m a plain jane gal. Vanilla cake with Chocolate Buttercream icing. That or Strawberry.

May 19, 2009 05:51 PM
Quynh-An said...

Chocolate with cherry buttercream

daisyq_126 at yahoo dotcom

May 19, 2009 05:51 PM
Shawnel said...

What’s your secret/recipe to the pink frosting piled high on the cupcakes? I just have a difficult time making the right consistency to give them that heavenly look. I think the frosting swirled up high makes the cup cake!

May 19, 2009 05:51 PM
twopartssugar said...

HOLY COW…look at all these comments! My all time favorite is our Raspberry Red Velvet cupcake with Raspberry cream Cheese frosting…YUMMY!

May 19, 2009 05:52 PM
Maria said...

Chocolate cake with cream cheese! I’m brand new to making cupcakes but I love to eat them!!!!!

May 19, 2009 05:52 PM
Megan said...

If I had to pick (which is super hard), I love red velvet with cream cheese frosting. Yum, yum.

May 19, 2009 05:53 PM
Jessica L. said...

I am a TRUE chocolate lover…dark chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting….pure bliss! Thanks!

May 19, 2009 05:53 PM
TidyMom said...

oooh, my favortie cupcake is Dark Chocolate cake with vanilla icing! YUM!!


May 19, 2009 05:53 PM
Erin said...

coconut with toasted coconut frosting.

May 19, 2009 05:53 PM
Stephanie said...

Great cupcakes!

I love a good, moist yellow cupcake (or carrot-cupcake) with cream cheese/almond buttercream – to die for!

Thanks – hope I win! I need something to transport my kids’ cupcakes to school! ;o)

szahlmann at gmail dot com

May 19, 2009 05:54 PM
Jill said...

red velvet with cream cheese…….yummy

May 19, 2009 05:54 PM
Cats said...

Tangerine & Vanilla cupcakes with the same icing. It's beyond yummy.

My boss hates sweets and she loves these cupcakes when I bring them in.

May 19, 2009 05:54 PM
AmyAnne said...

Key lime poundcake with orange cream cheese frosting. Oh la, la!!

May 19, 2009 05:54 PM
Pamela Kirkpatrick said...

nice work bakerella! pulled of the 50 like a seasoned caterer :)

favorite flavour combo…coconut cake with lime ginger butter cream. very springy…

thanks for being so generous!

May 19, 2009 05:55 PM
Mary Kelly said...

My favorite is stuffed cookies and cream, but I just found a recipe for Creme Soda Cupcakes with toffee icing that I am desperate to try!

May 19, 2009 05:55 PM
meg said...

I like plain old chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting! (megan.shill at gmail dot com)

May 19, 2009 05:56 PM
Christina Ragusin said...

When I was pregnant and craving anything lime, I made the most delicious coconut lime cupcakes. Just white cake with a little lime juice and white frosting tinted green with lime juice and zest and coconut on top. Unbelievable. omg…I think I’m craving them again…

May 19, 2009 05:56 PM
JennS. said...

I love cupcakes! My favorites are chocolate with a classic buttercream, or lemon cupcakes with orange buttercream!

May 19, 2009 05:56 PM
Trish said...

I love these cupcakes! They look amazing! My favourite flavour, for now (cos it changes everytime I try something new) is chocolate banana! I like making strawberry though because they are more fun to decorate! The stand looks awesome, I’d totally love one, but I’m guessing shipping one to Scotland is a bit too much to ask!

Please keep posting brilliant ideas for me to try though, I’ve fallen in love with everything I’ve seen!


May 19, 2009 05:56 PM
Rebecca said...

I’m your traditional Chocolate with chocolate icing.

May 19, 2009 05:57 PM
The Downtown Boutique said...

I’ve made some cupcakes where I put Mexican Hot Cocoa mix in the batter and in the frosting. I also put a whole Oreo cookie in the cupcake before baking. I called them my Cookies and Cocoa Cupcakes.

May 19, 2009 05:57 PM
Debbie said...

Oh my goodness!! HARD choice here! I LOVE red velvet with cream cheese frosting…Also chocolate with choc. frosting…also, cream cheese frosting is the BOMB!! And so is YOUR site!! You are so sweet to give such detailed directions for us to create our own…and links to get everything we need!! You are the Baking ANGEL!!!
We love you!!
Debbie House

May 19, 2009 05:58 PM

My favorite is chocolate with peanut butter frosting! You shoud try it if you haven’t already! :)

May 19, 2009 05:59 PM
casey aubut said...

Red Velvet!!

May 19, 2009 05:59 PM
Line said...

I think my favorite is chocolate mudcake, a bit of lemon curd on top and a big swirl of raspberry Italian merengue buttercreme :) so good. unfortunately cupcakes are not vere common here i Denmark, but i just love making them :D it’s so much fun and they usually look very cute ;) by the way, I love you blog. it’s so creativ and full of great ideas :)
- Line

May 19, 2009 05:59 PM
Alexis (11 y.o. baker wannabe) said...

My favorite is chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting! Can you tell I love chocolate?

May 19, 2009 06:02 PM
Eileen Davis said...

Red velvet w/cream cheese filling & frosting! YUMMY!

May 19, 2009 06:02 PM
Yogi said...

Me!! :) I just made a Root Beer Float Cake yesterday and thought it would be better baked as a cupcake.

May 19, 2009 06:03 PM
Leah said...

Carrot Cake plus cream cheese frosting is definitely my fav!

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

Great Giveaway! My favorite cupcake combination is Sprinkles Dark Chocolate Marshmallow. It is heavenly!

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

I love dark chocolate cupcakes with whipped ganache piped inside the cupcake and on top. YUM! So yeah, I like chocolate with chocolate and chocolate.

May 19, 2009 06:05 PM
Sarah said...

yellow cake with buttercream! Yum!

May 19, 2009 06:05 PM
Deanna and Gary said...

vanilla cake chocolate frosting plain and simple, if we are going fancy key lime mmmmm

May 19, 2009 06:06 PM
Marci said...

Chocolate with coconut frosting.

May 19, 2009 06:07 PM
Devon said...

I love yellow cake with marachino cherry frosting! Yummy! ;)

May 19, 2009 06:08 PM
Sarah said...

A chocolate cupcake with banana icing and an edge of chocolate icing. YUM!

Also, I made your 14 layer cake and mine wouldn’t stand up… what did I do wrong?

May 19, 2009 06:08 PM
March said...

I like cherry chocolate chunk cupcakes with a rich chocolate frosting for special occasions, but I am a vanila cupcake chocolate frosting type of girl!

May 19, 2009 06:09 PM
Michelle said...

Vanilla with lemon cream cheese icing!

michelle. kaler @ gmail. com

May 19, 2009 06:09 PM
Amy S said...

My absolute favorite is a Chocolate Fudge cupcake with chocolate chips or chunks in the batter, topped with Chocolate Buttercream frosting. Make it over the top with shaved chocolate. And, of course, a large glass of milk!

May 19, 2009 06:10 PM
Margie S said...

White cupcakes with Chocolate frosting is my favorite! I would love this stand, pick me!

May 19, 2009 06:10 PM
Kelly said...

Chocolate Cupcakes with peanut butter icing!

May 19, 2009 06:10 PM
Nancy said...

Great Idea! Wonderful! Excellent! Plain old white cake with butter cream icing.

May 19, 2009 06:11 PM
Chelle said...

Ooh! Chocolate with Chocolate! That’s my fave!!

May 19, 2009 06:11 PM
Kelly said...

my favorite lemon cake with a butter cream frosting & topped with fresh strawberries. yum :)

May 19, 2009 06:11 PM
Jayna said...

White cake and dark chocolate frosting!

May 19, 2009 06:12 PM
Sarah said...

I’m a lemon cupcake kind of gal, preferably with buttercream frosting. Makes me hungry just thinking about it.

May 19, 2009 06:13 PM
Lisa said...

strawberry cake with orange/cream cheese filling and vanilla buttercream. yummy!

May 19, 2009 06:15 PM
Leslie said...

I have come across a recipe for mint julep cupcakes…I can not wait to make them! Otherwise my favorite is lemon poppy seed with buttercream icing!

I am crossing my fingers & toes for a win!


May 19, 2009 06:15 PM
Anonymous said...

My mom’s carrot cake recipe with her famous cream cheese frosting, yummo!
Kim Sylvester
9 “0″ St.
Dracut, MA 01826

May 19, 2009 06:15 PM
Jennifer said...

I love ALL cupcakes but my favorite is probably chocolate with chocolate frosting.

Thank you!

May 19, 2009 06:16 PM
Creative Outlet said...

I’m a fan of mixing fruit flavors.. a lemon cupcake with strawberry icing… mmm! :)

May 19, 2009 06:17 PM
April Hunt said...

Vanilla with Vanilla icing!!! I love vanilla!!!!

Fun Contest! I am doing my daughters first birthday with all things cupcakes. Cupcake Cake, cupcakes, and YOUR cakepops! Can’t wait to see everones response to your cakepops. Her birthday is June 7th!!

May 19, 2009 06:17 PM
ginger ivey said...

I am a sucker for white cupcakes with the rainbow chip icing!!!

May 19, 2009 06:17 PM
Carrie said...

beautiful job, as to be expected!

thank you so much for all of the giveaways you do! seriously.. not only are you generous with the recipes, tips and tricks you offer… but the swag rocks, too. :)

my favorite cupcake is an old fashioned carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

May 19, 2009 06:19 PM
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