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

? 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
Maria said...

Chocolaye w/ coconut frosting & vanilla cream filling!!

May 19, 2009 09:01 PM
Liberty said...

My favorite is chocolate with chocolate frosting, and chocolate chips if you got ‘em! As much chocolate as you can pack in there :)

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

chocolate cupcake w/ buttercream frosting

May 19, 2009 09:04 PM
DramaPrincess87 said...

Chocolate with buttercream.

Ooh, or vanilla with chocolate.

Really, is there any bad combo for cupcakes?

beatusinscitia at

May 19, 2009 09:05 PM
3807 said...

Definitely vanilla cake with vanilla frosting!

May 19, 2009 09:05 PM
KBK Bakery said...

My favorite cupcake is one I made for Cupcake Hero, Marshmallow Mermaid Cupcakes.(
They are key lime coconut cupcakes with a marshmallow frosting topped with multi-colored mini marshmallows.


May 19, 2009 09:07 PM
konevalt27 said...

I would love this for my daughters 1st birthday party. My favorite cupcake is carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

May 19, 2009 09:08 PM
Jessica said...

I know I am lame but I love vanilla cupcakes with vanilla butter cream! I like to color the icing though and make them pretty!

May 19, 2009 09:08 PM
Jade said...

banana and caramel cupcakes w/ cream cheese frosting..yum

May 19, 2009 09:09 PM
Jenna said...

I love “strawberry champagne” cupcakes from our local bakery with cream cheese frosting. Really, anything with cream cheese frosting wil do ;)

May 19, 2009 09:10 PM
Colleen said...

Honestly! I don’t think I’ve managed to make a single one of your deadlines—how frustrating! Dang

May 19, 2009 09:11 PM
Jenn said...

I just made some chocolate fudge ones with mint chocolate icing that were to die for!

May 19, 2009 09:11 PM
Johnny and Jill Family said...

First of all- I LOVE your blog. You are so creative and inspiring :)

I love dark chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting (with little shavings of chocolate on top. Mmmmmm!) So pretty in fancy cupcake paper!!

May 19, 2009 09:13 PM
Jacie said...

Strawberry with strawberry filling and strawberry buttercream. I Love Strawberries!!!

May 19, 2009 09:13 PM
Josselyn's Mommy said...

My favorite cupcake flavor is red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. So good!

I love your blog, BTW!

May 19, 2009 09:13 PM
Colleen said...

OMG–I just realized…you are in a different time zone and I can still make the deadline–yippee!!

I love lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Yummmmm…. Second favorite would be anything chocolate, but not with cherries.

Love your site Bakerella!

May 19, 2009 09:14 PM
Juliebee said...

As much as I love the exotic varieties.. my favorite is still chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting. :)

May 19, 2009 09:17 PM
Olenslager Family said...

My favorite is the tried and true chocolate with vanilla buttercream, but I also like lemon with lemon cream cheese frosting.

May 19, 2009 09:17 PM
reluctantchef said...

chocolate and cream cheese icing, heck anything with cream cheese icing, I could eat it strait from the bowl!

May 19, 2009 09:18 PM
Luckiest Girl.... said...

key lime with coconut….yummy!!!

May 19, 2009 09:18 PM
Anonymous said...

I’m an old fashioned gal. I like yellow cake with rich chocolate buttercream. Mmmmmmmm…

May 19, 2009 09:22 PM
Crystal Chick said...

I’m a sucker for Chocolate Cupcakes. Although, last week they brought cupcakes from Whole Foods for an office birthday – I kinda fell in love with a berry flavored one (w/berry flavored icing). Yum.

May 19, 2009 09:23 PM
Anonymous said...

I’m an old fashioned gal. I like yellow cake with rich chocolate buttercream. Mmmmmmmm…

oops, here’s the email:

May 19, 2009 09:24 PM
ryan said...

mmm red velvet with cream cheese frosting.

May 19, 2009 09:26 PM
Leslie said...

Milk chocolate with cream cheese frosting! YUM!

May 19, 2009 09:26 PM
melanie said...

Awesome!! Thanks for the great ideas! I love red velvet with cream cheese!

May 19, 2009 09:28 PM
Pamela said...

Chocolate everything. Maybe German Chocolate. Yummy!!

May 19, 2009 09:28 PM
MamabearMills said...

red velvet and vanilla. knotyladee@aol(dot)com

May 19, 2009 09:29 PM
April Van Wagenen said...

I love the super yummy light and fluffy lemon cupcakes ( ya know the recipe made with a can of 7UP!) with lemon frosting!

May 19, 2009 09:30 PM
Laura said...

I love your cupcakes, they are really pretty you are so talented!!! I think I love chocolate and cherry. thanks

May 19, 2009 09:31 PM
Nicole said...

Pumpkin spice with cream cheese

May 19, 2009 09:32 PM
StacyMcCord said...

Yellow cake with chocolate frosting…it’s classic, but oh so good!

May 19, 2009 09:32 PM
chinamomxtwo said...

I’d love to win!! Need to do a bunch for for my nephew’s graduation in a couple of weeks!
Fave combo? White cake, buttercream frosting. MMMMM

May 19, 2009 09:33 PM
Dee said...

I know I’m too late to enter the contest (it’s after 5 where I live), and I’m also kinda boring with what I like for flavors, but Chocolate Fudge Frosting on classic white OR Yellow cake. I like lots of diff flavors, but sometimes the basic is always a good choice. congrats to whom ever gets the AWESOME cupcake tower! Thanks for your awesome website! I LOVE IT!-Dee/Mariko

May 19, 2009 09:33 PM
ella said...

oh man… so tough. either chocolate / mint ORRRR strawberry / mascarpone. but really, i’m a yellow cake and vanilla frosting kind of girl – doesnt take much to make me happy!! (although a cupcake tower would ;) )

ella dot hungerford at gmail dot com

May 19, 2009 09:34 PM
Brenna said...

My favorite would have to be lemon with whipped lemon frosting or lemon with strawberry frosting. Your cupcakes look too cute!


May 19, 2009 09:37 PM
Nicole said...

Chocolate with chocolate frosting!

May 19, 2009 09:38 PM
Jason said...

Definitely going to have to go with lemon cupcakes, they’re a little odd and nobody really expects that sort of flavor! :D

May 19, 2009 09:39 PM
kristi said...

strawberry with strawberry buttercream frosting. yum….

May 19, 2009 09:41 PM
silvertongue said...

French toast with maple frosting.

May 19, 2009 09:42 PM
A Fancher said...

My favorite cupcakes are Cookies N Cream – Choc. Cake with Vanilla Buttercream sprinkled with crushed oreo.

You can contact me on my blog

May 19, 2009 09:42 PM
Connie said...

Is there anything other than Red Velvet?

May 19, 2009 09:42 PM
Tiffany said...

Way cute cupcakes as always! I am a cake stand collector and love a great find. I’ve been eyeing this one for a while but how much more fun to win it! My favorite comboe is a toss up I love chocolate on chocolate but also lemon with raspberry buttercream.

May 19, 2009 09:44 PM
rednckwmn22 said...


May 19, 2009 09:45 PM
Melissa said...

My favorite combo is banana nut bread cupcakes with peanut butter icing.
I love your blog. I’m a new subscriber. I’ll be making the grad cap project for my daughters HS graduation party.

May 19, 2009 09:45 PM
Michelle said...

coconut and lemon are my favorite flavors, I guess something with lemon and coconut together, Yum!!!

May 19, 2009 09:47 PM
shauni said...

I love rasberry with chocolate frosting. Yumm.

May 19, 2009 09:47 PM
cryan1315 said...

I love making cupcakes!

May 19, 2009 09:47 PM
John Hannes said...

Call me old fashioned, but I love a good yellow cake cupcake with chocolate frosting! Add some sprinkles, you’ll have me at “cu..”

May 19, 2009 09:50 PM
JennyMooMeow said...

My fave is good old chocolate cupcake with white buttercream frosting.


May 19, 2009 09:51 PM
Diana said...

Well, my favorite cake is carrot cake, so naturally, it would be my favorite cupcake as well! Top that with cream cheese icing and yummy!

May 19, 2009 09:56 PM

German chocolate with chocolate buttercream. YUM!

May 19, 2009 09:57 PM
McCulloch Family said...

I love coconut with cream cheese coconut frosting mmmmmmm – That four decker looks so cool!

May 19, 2009 09:58 PM
Jenn Jenn said...

My all time favorite cupcake is chocolate with a peanut butter cup filling… or maybe it is a tie with a vanilla cupcake, raspberry filling with buttercream frosting… I just love cupcakes!

May 19, 2009 10:02 PM
jane l said...

lemon syrup cake with marshmallow frosting

May 19, 2009 10:04 PM
Shelly said...

Chocolate chocolate chip of course!!! YUM!!

May 19, 2009 10:04 PM
Kimberly said...

Chocolate cupcakes with reese’s inside and peanut butter frosting!

May 19, 2009 10:05 PM
nancykate said...

chocolate and chocolate, with maybe just a little bit of chocolate.

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

Anything chocolate with a gooey filling!

May 19, 2009 10:06 PM
Jessica Bartlett said...

I love just the simple funfetti cake mix with the same frosting. My siter-in-law and I made with ice cream cones instead of cupcake papers for a church party and they were so cute & delicious!

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

Chocolate with Peanut Butter Frosting!

May 19, 2009 10:09 PM
Patti said...

oops, here is my blog link:

May 19, 2009 10:10 PM
Katie said...

What can I say, I’m a sucker for red velvet!

May 19, 2009 10:11 PM
julia said...

I’m a big fan of anything with cream cheese frosting – maybe strawberry?

May 19, 2009 10:13 PM
Wee said...

My favorite cupcakes are red velvet of course~ with cream cheese icing! Yummm!!!

May 19, 2009 10:13 PM
T.Bone Gal said...

My goodness! Anything (ANYTHING) with chocolate and raspberry. :D

May 19, 2009 10:14 PM
Becky said...

I love Chocolate on Chocolate and vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting….Call me simple!

May 19, 2009 10:14 PM
Mermaid Sweets said...

Um, you are better than Martha! My favorite cupcake flavorings is margarita flavored. Yum

May 19, 2009 10:15 PM
Rachel said...

Chocolate chip with chocolate malt icing! It is amazing!

May 19, 2009 10:15 PM
mamakd said...

I hope I made it in time! I love chocolate so any type of chocolate combination makes me sooo happy! Dontcha’ just love Martha…genius! You are certainly talented. I love seeing what new creations you will come up! Thanks for putting a “sweet” smile on my face

May 19, 2009 10:15 PM
noraolsen said...

Red velvet with cream cheese or white with white buttercream. Simple pleasures. Thanks for the inspiration!.
belladatura at yahoo dot com

May 19, 2009 10:15 PM
Jen said...

What a fabulous tower! I don’t have a special favorite flavor, but I am still regretting missing some Bananas Foster and pecan ones at a local place awhile back.

May 19, 2009 10:19 PM
Diana said...

Strawberry w/ white choc chips & vanilla buttercream frosting.
I love strawberries!

May 19, 2009 10:20 PM
Jennifer said...

Double Chocolate Malt Cupcakes with Cherry Vanilla icing.

They are the best!!

May 19, 2009 10:21 PM
snickerdoodle said...

perfect timing on this as I have been delegated on cupcakes for my sis’s wedding this summer. I adore white cupcakes, white icing and coconut….or anything lemon with raspberry.

May 19, 2009 10:23 PM
Katrina E said...

Chocolate with more chocolate, yum yum!

May 19, 2009 10:24 PM
C Mommy said...

I think I’ll have to go chocolate with chocolate cream cheese frosting!

May 19, 2009 10:25 PM
nani said...

Dense, chocolaty cupcakes with dense, chocolaty frosting :) And lets throw on some of those sprinkles and have a big glass of milk!!!

May 19, 2009 10:31 PM
okanogangirl said...

Chocolate & buttercream frosting!

May 19, 2009 10:32 PM
Alicia Marie said...

Chocolate with Peanut Butter Frosting.

May 19, 2009 10:32 PM
Emily said...

Recently I stumbled upon apple cupcakes with ginger buttercream- they are divine!

May 19, 2009 10:35 PM
Gina said...

Chocolate of course, anything chocolate!

May 19, 2009 10:40 PM
Emily said...

My favorite is chocolate cupcakes with coffee buttercream…they’d be PERFECT with your chocolate sprinkles too!

May 19, 2009 10:40 PM
smashedpotatoe said...

I think my favorite flavor combo is lemon cupcake with vanilla frosting. Altho I haven’t eaten nearly enough cupcakes to decide.


May 19, 2009 10:41 PM
stacy said...

I love anyhting with buttercream icing!

May 19, 2009 10:42 PM
asliceobread said...

Red velvet with Vanilla buttercream is my favorite even though it’s a bit plain in comparison to your awesome flavors (:

May 19, 2009 10:43 PM
ashley said...

Banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting!

Your cupcakes are gorgeous!

May 19, 2009 10:45 PM
Alexis Uhrich said...

Devil’s Food with German Chocolate Frosting…Mmmm….Coconut…(licking my lips!)

May 19, 2009 10:48 PM
momaof4 said...

White with chocolate. a little of both!!!

darrenkarenm at msn dot com

May 19, 2009 10:49 PM
Beks said...

I recently had a raspberry cupcake with marscapone cream and it was delicious. Having said that I always go for a coffee cupcake with coffee, mocha or chocolate frosting. I’m being good and on a diet though at the moment so no cupcakes for a while. I haven’t baked in 4 four weeks and I severly miss my kitchen.


May 19, 2009 10:50 PM
monica said...

I would have to say vanilla cake with lemon cream cheese frosting or chocolate cake with coconut frosting.

May 19, 2009 10:50 PM
Anonymous said...

I am curious….how did you transport the 50 cupcakes? I have lots of display items but always have transportation issues! :)
Thanks, Kimberly (

May 19, 2009 11:01 PM
Anonymous said...

White cupcake with chocolate fudgy frosting – YUM! Love your blog and all the great photos.

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

Red Velvet!!!

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

I am boring and old fashioned. Yellow cake with vanilla buttercream. :)
mollyrogers0 at gmail dot com

May 19, 2009 11:07 PM
Angel said...

I enjoy a blueberry muffin/cupcake with a honey, buttercream frosting. Topped with a fresh blue berry.


I have the recipe and would be more than happy to share.


May 19, 2009 11:09 PM
Leslie said...

Pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate fudge frosting.

May 19, 2009 11:09 PM
Michelle Pilar said...

ohh fav cupcaki is a devils food chocolate cupcake with rainbow chip frosting. oh yeah

May 19, 2009 11:10 PM
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