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

The Anknersons said...

Dark chocolate cake with passion fruit buttercream. I love that combo. YUM!

May 19, 2009 07:36 PM
Mary said...

My favorite is white cake cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting.


May 19, 2009 07:37 PM
Liz Fosdick said...

Mint and chocolate (yum!) or vanilla with plain buttercream (classic and tasty!).

May 19, 2009 07:38 PM
Rachel said...

I’m boring! Vanilla w/vanilla is my absolute favorite! =)

You are such an inspiration! Thank you!!


May 19, 2009 07:38 PM
The Anknersons said...

Dark chocolate with passion fruit buttercream. I love that combo. Delicious! Love your blog.

May 19, 2009 07:39 PM
Judy said...

My favorite is chocolate with chocolate icing. I have wanted one of these forever and am too cheap to buy one! Oh please pick me!

May 19, 2009 07:39 PM
jen and ben said...

my favorite cupcakes are chocolate with cream cheese frosting, or lemon with lemon glaze. love the cupcake tower! Can’t wait to try it.

May 19, 2009 07:40 PM
Catherine said...

Chocolate with cherry meringue buttercream filling and chocolate fudge icing…. with a cherry on top.

May 19, 2009 07:40 PM
Melissa and Savannah said...

i am new to your blog and just love it!! i could spend hours on here looking through all your previous posts. i love love love to bake and cupcakes are (of course) my 4 year old daughter’s favorite thing for me to bake. her new favorite ones (and this may sound gross–but its absolutely wonderful) are a regular white cake mix but you add a can of drained manadarin oranges into the batter–with strawberry icing on top–delish!. and i love this cupcake tower!!

May 19, 2009 07:41 PM
David Jennifer and Avery said...

yellow cake with chocolate frosting

May 19, 2009 07:42 PM
Jaana said...

Apologies if this is a duplicate post – I had an error message when trying to comment earlier.

My Dutch co-worker buys Sprinkles by the pound – they eat them on toast!

My favourite cupcake is a dense chocolate cake with peanut butter/cream cheese frosting. To. Die. For!

May 19, 2009 07:42 PM
Jan said...

I like any kind of cupcake with cream cheese icing!!

May 19, 2009 07:43 PM
jamie sanethavong said...

i love the outcome! the cupcakes look yummy and so pretty!

May 19, 2009 07:43 PM
Cheryl said...

I’ve never met a cupcake I didn’t like, but my favorite would have to be chocolate with buttercream frosting. I think I need to bake some right now!

May 19, 2009 07:44 PM
Miri said...

Hagelslag (the big chocolate sprinkles) is actually from the Netherlands. We usually eat them on bread, for breakfast… :).
My favourite cupcake has to be one with ginormous amounts of chocolate, though I love fruity ones too (coconut and lime is a good second to chocolate).

teufelmiri @ hotmail . com

May 19, 2009 07:44 PM
allison and gareth said...

My favourite cupcake combo I've ever eaten was ginger cake with caramel icing & gingerbread cookie heart. Very tasty treat when i lived in New Zealand. I'm drooling on the keyboard now just thinking about them!

May 19, 2009 07:44 PM
SavvyMama said...

Chocolate on chocolate with chocolate sprinkles!

katyvenard at yahoo dot com

May 19, 2009 07:45 PM
Glitter Girl said...

Cinnamon cupcakes with Caramel cream cheese frosting.

and you can see some of my extremely amateur baking and decorating with fondant on my side project blog (it’s remedial, I just discovered fondant in 2009)

Love your blog- I am learning so much from you! Do you know of a place in LA to get good baking supplies? I visited Surfas which was pretty decent but it’s way south of me and they didn’t carry all that I hoped for….

May 19, 2009 07:45 PM
Kathy said...

Those are fantastic. Your friend must have been so pleased.

As far as cupcakes go, I’ve got a huge sweet tooth – the sweeter the better. Not fussy about the flavour although I am partial to chocolate (go figure!) and cream cheese frosting. Yum!

May 19, 2009 07:47 PM
katielisa777 said...

Lemon with cream cheese!

May 19, 2009 07:49 PM
Anonymous said...

Yay, I want a cupcake tier! What beautiful cupcakes you make bakerella <3

May 19, 2009 07:50 PM
3722 said...

lemon with cream cheese frosting mmmmmm…

May 19, 2009 07:52 PM
Chocolate and Whine said...

Chocolate. I love chocolate.

May 19, 2009 07:52 PM
Hermen said...

Such sprinkles originate from the Netherlands, where they’re sometimes eaten on a sandwich:


May 19, 2009 07:52 PM
eunheeeee . said...

ooh these look delicious!
ilove the one with the sprinkles also, they look adorable!!!!
and iwould love the cupcake stand, ialways use those boring old aluminum pans to put my cupcakes in.. and its no fun at all!

May 19, 2009 07:53 PM
Wendy said...

Spice with cream chees frosting! Yum!

May 19, 2009 07:54 PM
Lynn said...

I love any kind of cupcake! But chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting (ala Barefoot Contessa) is especially good.
LNonnemaker at

May 19, 2009 07:54 PM
Emily said...

chocolate chip and cream cheese cupcakes!

May 19, 2009 07:54 PM
Kelly said...

Vanilla on Vanilla.
Plain & Simple.. nothing better!

May 19, 2009 07:54 PM
Chrissy said...

I love simple yellow cupcakes and chocolate butter cream. email is

May 19, 2009 07:55 PM
Anonymous said...

Mojito cupcakes! Use a good ‘white’ cupcake batter recipe and add fresh squeezed lime juice to it (or use a lemon cupcake batter and substitute lime juice). Then ice with a rum-mint flavored buttercream icing (I just take out the vanilla from my favorite recipe and add some good quality rum and some freshly juiliened mint….rum flavoring if this if for kiddies). I usually top with crystalized mint leaves. Sometimes I put a junior mint in the middle of the cupcake by poring in half the batter, sticking in a j/mint and then top with remaining batter. It gets all gooey inside and adds in an extra kick of mint.

May 19, 2009 07:56 PM
Lene said...

Is there a bad cupcake combo?!?

May 19, 2009 07:58 PM
Sue Tompkins said...

I love any kind of chocolate cupcakes, but recently made a chocolate stout cupcake w/cream cheese frosting ~ it was a hit!

May 19, 2009 08:02 PM
Jenn said...

I’m a classic type. White or yellow cake with Chocolate icing.

May 19, 2009 08:02 PM
Anonymous said...

red velvet with cream cheese. omg so yummi!!

saphyra at gmail dot com

May 19, 2009 08:04 PM
CJ &amp; LJ said...

Tough call! I guess I’d have to go with a traditional German chocolate with that yummy caramel coconut frosting. I eat that frosting alone. Thanks for some great ideas!

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

Geez, now you’re just showing off ;) You are amazing! My favorite kind of cupcake is… boston creme actually. Yellow cake, custard-filled, topped with a wonderful chocolate ganache… cherry NOT optional!

May 19, 2009 08:05 PM
The Tieman Family said...

I LOOOOOVE chocolate so something along the lines of Chocolate cupcakes with Dark chocolate icing!

May 19, 2009 08:06 PM
JT42 said...

chocolate is the winner here! chocolate chocolate chip cupcakes with chocolate chocolate chip frosting!! yum!! (I may even have to make some today now that I’ve made myself drool ;)

ttmom42 at yahoo dot com

May 19, 2009 08:06 PM
LeeYen Lobendahn said...

hmmm red velvet cupcake with cream cheese/coconut icing.

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

I loooove chocolate chili cupcakes. But really, almost any flavor is good enough for me :D

Alina (miss_a at bezeqint dot net)

May 19, 2009 08:11 PM
Yessenia said...

carrot with cinnamon cream chese icing.

May 19, 2009 08:11 PM
3743 said...

I love strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting.

May 19, 2009 08:14 PM
Amy said...

I think my favorite cupcake is probably is carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Yum!
my2littlepigges (at) cox (dot) com

May 19, 2009 08:15 PM
Amy said...

Oops, I misspelled my e-mail address. Here it is again:
my2littlepiggies (at) cox (dot) com Thanks again!

May 19, 2009 08:16 PM
Anonymous said...

Chocolate with vanilla buttercream – a classic.


May 19, 2009 08:17 PM
Erin said...

yellow cake with chocolate buttercream!

May 19, 2009 08:17 PM
Crystal said...

ooh! I am pretty basic and love devil’s food with chocolate fudge frosting. Yummy!!

Here’s my blog where you can contact me. :)

May 19, 2009 08:19 PM
C. Wester said...

My husband is in the food industry, beverages specifically, so we have a hundred-bajillion flavors that I LOVE to experiment with. I think my favorite is honeysuckle, but my husband still prefers vanilla :) I love this site and my family loves me copying your recipes!!

May 19, 2009 08:21 PM
andi said...

carrot cake.

May 19, 2009 08:23 PM
Dana said...

My favorite is simple yellow cake with chocolate frosting!

May 19, 2009 08:24 PM
Amy said...

Chocolate with pretty much any frosting. Your cupcakes look great!

May 19, 2009 08:24 PM
Maura C. said...

Devil’s Food cake filled with whipped Peanut Butter ganache topped with rich chocolate fudge icing! (Think Paula Deen yummy recipe) Yummo!


May 19, 2009 08:26 PM
Karen and Joseph said...

Vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream

May 19, 2009 08:26 PM
Frank said...

I like Martha Stewart’s one bowl chocolate cupcake recipe with the white chocolate cream cheese frosting from the Cake Mix Doctor cookbook.

May 19, 2009 08:26 PM
Cassy said...

orange creamsicle!

May 19, 2009 08:27 PM
hawaiian_stardust said...

Boston Creme Cupcakes!

It is just like the pie… only in cupcake form!

May 19, 2009 08:27 PM
Kenzie - Ryan - Livee- Emmeline said...

Chocolate with buttercream. I love anything though. You are amazing.

May 19, 2009 08:27 PM
2boys+mom said...

carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! traditional and yummy!

Thank you!

May 19, 2009 08:27 PM
Chris Schlarbaum said...

I love anything chocolate. So I would say devils food with chocolate frosting or yellow cake with deep dark chocolate ganache!

May 19, 2009 08:28 PM
Rae said...

I think by far my favourite has been grapefruit cupcakes with electric pink grapefruit icing. Veeeeeery delicious.

May 19, 2009 08:28 PM
Smith Family said...

Its pretty plain, but my favorite is yellow cake with chocolate frosting!!

May 19, 2009 08:28 PM
Anonymous said...

Chocolate with chocolate frosting (then again, white frosting is good oh and so is vanilla cupcakes with chocolate LOL – depends on my mood!)
Loved this ariticle, I was recently discussing the merits of this cupcake tower or the wire one with another shopper – I think you won me over!


May 19, 2009 08:29 PM
xoxii said...

Yumm-O!!! Boston Cream cupcakes!!!

May 19, 2009 08:30 PM
cjengotx said...

My favorite is chocolate with peanut butter icing.
I just finished making 250 cupcakes two weeks in a row. I used xerox paper box lids to transport cupcakes. perfect height.
Your cupcakes are gorgeous.

May 19, 2009 08:31 PM
tragidate said...

I made some chocolate fudge cupcakes with earl grey icing recently… nothing’s topped them so far!

May 19, 2009 08:31 PM
Crissy said...

I love love LOVE dark chocolate cupcakes with strawberry icing. Even better with a small spoonful of preserves inside the cupcake YUM!

May 19, 2009 08:33 PM
Desiree said...

Chocolate on chocolate and lemon and vanilla

May 19, 2009 08:34 PM
malerin said...

Chocolate fudge cupcake with Chocolate butter cream frosting! Doesn’t get much better than that!

May 19, 2009 08:34 PM
malerin said...

Chocolate fudge cupcake with Chocolate butter cream frosting! Doesn’t get much better than that!

May 19, 2009 08:35 PM
Anonymous said...

Chocolate with chocolate peanut butter frosting!

jillybean_ at hotmail dot com

May 19, 2009 08:35 PM
Annie said...

Chocoate caramel swirl cupcakes with Caramel Icing.

May 19, 2009 08:36 PM
Hoosier Homemade said...

I have tons of favorites. Right now though, I think I will have to say Butterfinger! My own creation, I love em’!
Thanks for the giveaway!

May 19, 2009 08:38 PM
Charity said...

Chocolate cake with salted caramel frosting!!

May 19, 2009 08:38 PM
dayodestin said...

I’m not sure I’ve met a cupcake I haven’t liked. Maple frosting might be my favorite.

May 19, 2009 08:38 PM
mom2kylonna said...

Gorgeous cupcakes…almost too pretty to eat!

Chocolate with coconut-peacan frosting. YUMMY!

May 19, 2009 08:39 PM
The Shirley's said...

I love banana with burnt butter icing but you can never go wrong with chocolate!


May 19, 2009 08:40 PM
Erin said...

My favorite cake is chocolate with peanut butter frosting. Yum.

May 19, 2009 08:40 PM
Jennifer said...

chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate!

May 19, 2009 08:40 PM
krismurph said...

Chocolate and Vanilla! Boring right but oh so tasty!!!

May 19, 2009 08:40 PM
SmallTownBride said...

I’m totally a Red Velvet, Cream Cheese Icing kinda girl!! Blame it on the South :D

I also melt for Lemon cupcakes with Lemon icing….ooooh yum!

I think I just love CUPCAKES?

May 19, 2009 08:41 PM
Sylvia said...

I like the tried and true — vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream!

May 19, 2009 08:41 PM
Shannon said...

I like classic vanilla with vanilla icing, as long as its cream cheese!

May 19, 2009 08:43 PM
Jennifer H. said...

Without a doubt – red velvet with cream cheese frosting!! Yum!


May 19, 2009 08:44 PM
Ashley McKee said...

Strawberry is my absolute favorite when it comes to cake. I even like to top it with strawberry icing!

May 19, 2009 08:47 PM
jessicawalz said...

chocolate. anything chocolate makes me happy. Especially if you add coconut to it!

May 19, 2009 08:48 PM
Alison said...

I can’t get over the greatness of perfectly moist red velvet cupcakes with decadent cream cheese frosting!

May 19, 2009 08:48 PM
Leilani said...

I’d have to say chocolate and coconut. Thanks!

johnthegirl at hotmail dot com

May 19, 2009 08:49 PM
Jessica said...

White cupcakes with raspberry jello inside (poke cake) with cool whip on top with pink spinkles! My absolute fav!

May 19, 2009 08:49 PM
Emily said...

Lemon with fluffy white frosting and toasted coconut :)

May 19, 2009 08:50 PM
Angela said...

Lemon cupcake with raspberry filling and white chocolate whipped cream frosting!

My son took his first communion this weekend as well. :)

May 19, 2009 08:51 PM
Meredith said...

Coconut cupcakes with a huge heap of cream cheese coconut frosting. Oh man!

May 19, 2009 08:51 PM
Jessi said...

My fav is chocolate with Marshmallow frosting!!!

May 19, 2009 08:52 PM
Kaitlin said...

Just in time!

I’m boring. I like chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing.


May 19, 2009 08:54 PM
Kimba said...

red velvet and cream cheese!

May 19, 2009 08:55 PM
Marj said...

i love red velvet with cream cheese frosting!

May 19, 2009 08:59 PM
Maria said...

Chocolaye w/ coconut frosting & vanilla cream filling!

May 19, 2009 09:00 PM
melanie said...

WOW! You are amazing! I just stumbled across your site and will save it as a favorite! (I love red velvet with cream cheese frosting.) Thanks for GREAT ideas!

May 19, 2009 09:00 PM
? Icing on the Cake ? said...

Carrot or Red Velvet with Cream Cheese frosting or plain Vanilla with Chocolate frosting! Yum!

May 19, 2009 09:00 PM
? Icing on the Cake ? said...

Carrot or Red Velvet with Cream Cheese frosting or plain Vanilla with Chocolate frosting! Yum!

May 19, 2009 09:00 PM
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