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

mpkegley said...

My fav is red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting…Yummy!

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

Lemon with cream cheese frosting! Mmmm…

May 19, 2009 06:20 PM
Vern & Amber Arnold said...

I love straberry cupcakes with lemon frosting… yummmmyyyy

Amber A

May 19, 2009 06:20 PM
Kate said...

Chocolate Chocolate chip with chocolate ganache frosting.

Your tower of cupcakes was beautiful.

May 19, 2009 06:21 PM
Megan said...

hmmm i absolutely love funfetti with the rainbow chip frosting. but i recently had ones that were chocolate chip with chocolate chips in the white buttercream and batter. mmmmm

megan.nadalet at gmail dot com

May 19, 2009 06:23 PM
Megan said...

hmmm i absolutely love funfetti with the rainbow chip frosting. but i recently had ones that were chocolate chip with chocolate chips in the white buttercream and batter. mmmmm

megan.nadalet at gmail dot com

May 19, 2009 06:24 PM
maya said...

red velvet with cream cheese frosting!

geminidrama64 at aol dot com

May 19, 2009 06:25 PM
The Huntley 6 said...

I have to have chocolate with white icing. And I love that tower!

May 19, 2009 06:26 PM
Courtney de Craen said...

Favorite cupcake flavor….snickerdoodle…cinnamon cupcakes with cinamon homemade icing. Yum!

P.S. I had a dream about those giant chocolate sprinkles last night. That can’t be a good thing!

May 19, 2009 06:29 PM
Quyen said...

I love red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting! My favorite!!

May 19, 2009 06:29 PM
mrs. q. said...

AHHH! Soooo cute!

Right now my favorite flavor is what I’m making for my son’s and daughter’s birthday party this weekend: tie dye vanilla cupcakes with cotton candy buttercream (inspired by cakespy). Sugar Coma!

(kburrowsquinn at mac dot com)

May 19, 2009 06:30 PM
Wise Girl said...

Banana with coconut cream cheese frosting… YUM!! :)

May 19, 2009 06:30 PM
Jodi said...

I love chocolate with cream cheese frosting…

May 19, 2009 06:31 PM
Gail said...

WOW! That could be used for a multitude of things!
I like anything with poppyseed & lemon!

May 19, 2009 06:31 PM
Jacob said...

Chocolate with raspberry!!!

Anna M.

May 19, 2009 06:31 PM
Nicole said...

German Chocolate with Coconut Pecan Frosting! Yummm

May 19, 2009 06:32 PM
Delectable Dining said...

Red velvet with cream cheese frosting. Sounds so good right now!

May 19, 2009 06:32 PM
Karen said...

chocolate, of course! I would love to try the chocolate cream cheese icing – yum!

Karen M

May 19, 2009 06:33 PM
j_mckinnon said...

I haven’t ever seen some of the flavors that have been listed. I’m really wanting to make cupcakes now!

I love chocolate and mint or lemon and berry.

Pretty basic.

May 19, 2009 06:33 PM
waakeupcall said...

I love a simple moist yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I know it is kind of boring, but it is awesome tasting.

May 19, 2009 06:34 PM
Keely said...

White cupcake with strawberry frosting…yummy!

May 19, 2009 06:34 PM
Christy said...

Until yesterday, I probably would have said black forest (chocolate cherry), but last night I had the most amazing S’mores cupcake! A bit of graham cracker crust in the bottom, fudgy cake, topped with homemade marshmallow fluff and toasted to a golden, gooey brown. YUM!

May 19, 2009 06:34 PM
Connie K said...

I love Chocolate cupcakes with a banana buttercream !! My fav !

May 19, 2009 06:35 PM
Dawn said...

Red Velvet with Buttercream! Thanks for your inspiring ideas!

May 19, 2009 06:38 PM
Suzette said...

I love chocolate with almond buttercream. Or almond with almond buttercream. Or almond buttercream in a big spoon!

May 19, 2009 06:39 PM
Corinne said...

I have a couple of favorites:
Strawberry cupcake with homemade strawberry frosting and a moist red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting

May 19, 2009 06:40 PM
Anna said...

Chocolate with raspberry!!!

Anna M.


May 19, 2009 06:40 PM
Tiffany said...

OH my gosh. I am obsessed with red velvet and cream cheese frosting. No seriously. I could eat them everyday. Oh so yummy.

And that tower is awesome. Totally could have used that for my daughter’s birthday party a few weeks ago!

May 19, 2009 06:41 PM
Dawn said...

Red Velvet with Buttercream. Thanks for the inspiring ideas!

May 19, 2009 06:41 PM
Himesclan said...

Chocolate Fudge cupcake with THICK buttercream frosting. I’m a sucker for them any day.

May 19, 2009 06:42 PM
Andrea said...

I love chocolate with a chocolate buttercream icing

May 19, 2009 06:42 PM
Adriene Rathbun said...

Just plain vanilla with buttercream frosting. I LOVE wedding cake!

May 19, 2009 06:43 PM
Tanica said...

Pumpkin Spice, no frosting. I don’t like frosting. But I really really do need a cupcake tower…I’m making cupcakes for my friend’s baby shower and I need the display. Please pick me, random picker!

May 19, 2009 06:45 PM
Rachael said...

I just absolutely love everything that you do!!

May 19, 2009 06:45 PM
dannani said...

Can you tell that we really would love to win the tower!?!? ha ha! I am in love with lemon pound cake cupcakes, raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream. HEAVEN!!

May 19, 2009 06:46 PM
jenni6981 said...

I haven’t really tried alot of combo’s but i’ve been really getting into it lately. i think it has to be lemon with cream cheese frosting YUMMY!

May 19, 2009 06:47 PM
Annie McGlaun said...

Oh wow, how nice!!!

carrot cake with cream cheese frosting…yum!

May 19, 2009 06:47 PM
Jen said...

I love banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting :) Yummy, I think I’ll go make some now.

May 19, 2009 06:47 PM
kcd said...

I am always AMAZED by your ingenuity!! The cupcakes turned out beautiful!! I can’t wait to try the chocolate cream cheese frosting. As always, I am in awe…

May 19, 2009 06:49 PM
Winters Family said...

Love plain vanilla cupcake with any pastel colored frosting~ hmmmmmm…. good!

May 19, 2009 06:50 PM
dana said...

I never thought I was much of a baker, but you’ve inspired me to give it a try. I’m going to try cake pops of Memorial Day. I hope to wow my husband’s family.

eckel77 at yahoo dot com

May 19, 2009 06:51 PM
Anonymous said...

OK, even w/ 3700+ entries, I’ll throw my hat in the ring just for kicks!!!!

Anything PEPPERMINT and CHOCOLATE!! mmmmmmmm my faaav!!

May 19, 2009 06:52 PM
Adela said...

Just plain old buttercream on a chocolate cupcake. I’ve never liked chocolate icing on chocolate cake, so the buttercream softens the richness of the chocolate cake for me. Plus, classic 7-layer Smith Island cake is made the same way!

adela_cheng (@) yahoo (.) com

May 19, 2009 06:53 PM
Jennifer said...

Any flavor would do me fine but I love the combination of chocolate with hazelnut. I’ll have to make some soon!

May 19, 2009 06:53 PM
Stellas Sweets Shop said...

My favorite is definitely Red Velvet with Cream Cheese frosting!!! We are opening up a Cupcake Shop (Stella’s) in Winston Salem, NC…and it will be one of our “signiture cupcakes” called Stella’s Red!! Yummm!!!!

Love your Blog!!!!

May 19, 2009 06:54 PM
Nina said...

Mmm. I like plain vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting :)

May 19, 2009 06:55 PM
Julia said...

I love white cake with chocolate frosting, and I’m now gonna try chocolate cream cheese frosting, yum!

May 19, 2009 06:55 PM
carlsondesign said...

Sure love your posts! Yellow cake and chocolate.

May 19, 2009 06:58 PM
Tasha said...

Your presentation is amazing!! Favorite cupcake combo… gosh that’s hard. I’d have to say chocolate cake with Bailey’s buttercream frosting. YUM!

May 19, 2009 07:00 PM
Morgan said...

Pecan cupcakes with maple buttercream… mmmmm.

morganwhalen at hotmail dot com

May 19, 2009 07:01 PM
Anonymous said...

I love yellow cake with chocolate frosting!!

May 19, 2009 07:01 PM
Kate said...

Pound cake with cream cheese frosting….YUMMY!

kate7577 at yahoo dot com

May 19, 2009 07:01 PM
Sharilyn said...

I love a red velvet cupcakes and cream cheese icing — so yummy!!
you did an awesome job with these cupcakes!!

May 19, 2009 07:02 PM
staceyw said...

dh says blueberry cupcakes w/vanilla custard filling topped with vanilla buttercream and 3 fresh blueberries

I like dark chocolate cupcakes w/vanilla bean buttercream. I have intentions of making high hats someday, but i think I’d eat all the marshmallow frosting before I had a chance to get it on the cupcakes… sigh

May 19, 2009 07:03 PM
beaches said...

Mine is EggNog. I just found a new one that I need to test out. Root Beer Float!

May 19, 2009 07:07 PM
Kara said...

Chocolate cake cupcake with chocolate frosting. It’s such a simple combination but it always hits the spot!

Catalitical at hotmail dot com

May 19, 2009 07:08 PM
3657 said...

Chocolate cinnamon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting – sinfully good.

May 19, 2009 07:08 PM
Summer said...

I recently made carrot/pineapple cupcakes with white chocolate frosting! they were delicious!

May 19, 2009 07:10 PM
Janulka said...

really nice pictures, very good job. I love looking at pictures of cupcakes.

May 19, 2009 07:10 PM
'nona said...

please instruct on frosting cupcakes. the swirly ones are so awesome, but I need instructions. Please help!!!!Frosting with buttercreams.

May 19, 2009 07:12 PM
Tammy and Jimmy Dugger said...

I am simple…vanilla cake with chocolate frosting..You are SO creative…I wish you had a store here in Atlanta!!

May 19, 2009 07:12 PM
'nona said...

I need help with frosting cupcakes. I love the look of everyone on this post. I especially like the swirly ones. Please instruct how to do this. Thanks

May 19, 2009 07:15 PM
PeeToo said...

Gee… I think the choco rice is from Netherlands because of the wordings. They love to eat bread with choco sprinkles. Quite challenging, trying to balance the sprinkles on the bread and taking mini bites so that they would fall off!

May 19, 2009 07:15 PM
Katie said...

My favorite is yellow cake with buttercream frosting. Thanks!

May 19, 2009 07:15 PM
Liza said...

Very vanilla-y cupcakes with strawberry buttercream! So cute and so yummy!

May 19, 2009 07:16 PM
Karen said...

Pick me! Pick me! Just did a cupcake tower for my sons’ graduation party on Sunday. Definitely not as cute as yours. I also did the graduation hats that were on the blog last week – yumo! Love your blog!

karen at kuhnkc dot dom

May 19, 2009 07:16 PM
Abby said...

Vanilla cupcake with buttercream…boy am I plain!

May 19, 2009 07:16 PM
Anonymous said...

I just love orange and chocolate. By the way, i just love your blog!!

May 19, 2009 07:17 PM
Sonu said...

My favorite cupcake & Frosting combination…

Funfetti and lemon frosting- if kids love it, so do I! :)

May 19, 2009 07:17 PM
Rizzle said...

Chocolate with buttercream frosting. Yum!

May 19, 2009 07:18 PM
Abby said...

Vanilla cupcake with buttercream…boy am I plain!

May 19, 2009 07:18 PM
Theresa Paraada said...

Strawberry with Chocolate icing!

May 19, 2009 07:20 PM
Tiffanie said...

Red velvet with cream cheese frosting! Yum!!!!

May 19, 2009 07:20 PM
karin said...

WOAH! they’re so pretty! i’d love to have a taste of it! YUMMMMS! :)

May 19, 2009 07:20 PM
Ruth said...

i make s’mores cupcakes for my kids and they are YUMMY!! yellow cake with chocolate frosting filled with marshmellow creme then dipped or sprinkled with crushed graham crackers

May 19, 2009 07:20 PM
shelly said...

vanilla with lime zest frosing. thanks for the giveaway.

May 19, 2009 07:21 PM
Ashley said...

White cake with mocha buttercream frosting…. mmmmMmm!

May 19, 2009 07:22 PM
Tiffanie said...

I forgot to leave my email! oops!

tcharper at gmail dot com (red velvet with cream cheese frosting!)

May 19, 2009 07:22 PM
MrsFallis said...

I love carrot cake and cream cheese frosting

May 19, 2009 07:22 PM
marcie said...

Strawberry and dark chocolate.

May 19, 2009 07:23 PM
karin said...

i love the chocolate with pink frosting best!

May 19, 2009 07:23 PM
Sacha said...

Oooooh! I love dark chocolate cupcakes with orange flavored frosting! YUM!

May 19, 2009 07:23 PM
Anonymous said...

Since I’m from the Buckeye state, I’d love a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting!


May 19, 2009 07:23 PM
Melanie said...

My favorite cupcake combo is good ol’ vanilla with chocolate frosting. I asked my 3 year old her favorite combo and she said Ariel and Sabastian! I guess she still remembers her birthday cupcakes I made her :)

May 19, 2009 07:24 PM
ElainaB said...

I love lemon cupcakes with vanilla frosting. So yummy!

May 19, 2009 07:24 PM
Amy W said...

Pumpkin spice cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Double yum!

May 19, 2009 07:25 PM
Jacqueline said...

this would be perfect for a baby shower i’m hosting next month!!
i love the simple combination of yellow cake and chocolate buttercream….mmmmm….
sweetpea182jd at

May 19, 2009 07:25 PM
Kate said...

There’s nothing better than carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting!

May 19, 2009 07:26 PM
ElainaB said...

An email would help!

May 19, 2009 07:27 PM
annemarie said...

carrot cake with cream chees frosting – yummy.

May 19, 2009 07:27 PM
Abbi said...

Lime Margarita cupcakes with lime/tequila glaze! :)

May 19, 2009 07:28 PM
Beth and Shae said...

Your cupcakes are adorable. I love strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting! Yum.

May 19, 2009 07:29 PM
The Powell's said...

Lemon with strawberry cream cheese frosting! Yummy!

May 19, 2009 07:30 PM
Kristi said...

My favorite was the chocolate cupcakes with the chocolate cream cheese frosting. Anything with cream cheese is my favorite! I love cream cheese!

May 19, 2009 07:31 PM
Hunnybee said...

We did cupcakes for our wedding. and the Vanilla with lemon filling will always top the list for me.

May 19, 2009 07:32 PM
stephanie aydelott said...

vevet with cream cheese frosting is so yum..could eat them all day!

May 19, 2009 07:32 PM
Kirsten said...

It’s a tie between vanilla with vanilla frosting and chocolate and peanut butter. Mmm…. now I’m craving cupcakes!

kirsten at kdck dot com

May 19, 2009 07:32 PM
Mel said...

I love Strawberry and Lemon, Half strawberry with lemon frosting…half lemon with strawberry frosting.

May 19, 2009 07:33 PM
Anonymous said...

The cupcake tower is so fine! What a great way to show off cupcakes!

My favorite is carrot cake with cream cheese frosting!

Pat H. in TX

May 19, 2009 07:35 PM
deemystified said...

Favorite flavor combo:

Devil’s food cake with coffee icing


msdeeders at hotmail dot com

May 19, 2009 07:35 PM
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