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

Jen said...

Thank you for sharing your recipes! I made MS’s one bowl choc. cupcakes along w/your chocolate cream cheese buttercream frosting and they were yummy!!! I will definitely keep these recipes. I even bought a lovely tower to display them. Everything was a hit. Guests totally thought they were done professionally! Thank you and I love reading your website. You totally inspired me do try baking my own cupcakes rather than using box mixes!

September 26, 2010 11:32 AM
Vicki said...

This would work well for the edges, bulletin board scalloped edges. It comes in all colors and sizes. Seasonal things would be perfect for all holidays. No more wasting time printing…Go to a teacher store in your area and purchase. Big chain stores may carry this also and check out craft stores. Use it over and over again.
Check it out.

I am so sorry I missed the drawing, I would love to have one of these cupcake towers.

September 29, 2010 07:40 PM
nigel said...

Maybe you can find it here?

September 30, 2010 07:49 PM
Cindy said...

I think by the looks of it they turned out wonderful !

October 6, 2010 10:39 PM
Beatrijs said...

really good idea to use the chocolate sprinkles; easy to find here in the Netherlands, as we are used to have them on our bread (breakfast for example). My kids can’t do without them. (it’s called: ‘hagelslag’)

October 22, 2010 10:22 AM
Willeke said...


I live in Holland where the chocolate sprinkles u used for the cupcakes are used by breakfast. We put them on bread. We also have them in white chocolate or mixed.
Funny to see a dutch product in your cupcakes!


November 25, 2010 02:18 PM
r.uae said...

what is the recipe of the pink frosting ????

January 7, 2011 01:52 PM
Campbell said...

Need ideas for animal print themed party!! Please

January 8, 2011 09:35 PM
Leah said...

how do you get those BEA-UTIFUL swirls of pink frosting? I have a decorators bag and a large tip with serrated edges but it just doesn’t look the same :( is there a special secret?

March 5, 2011 05:05 PM
Zoraida said...

God Bless you ! First Communion of my daughter will be inspired in these delicious ideas !!
Carrot Cake with icing but cream cheese icing a lot….hmmm so good.

March 23, 2011 11:45 PM
Deanna Yorke said...

I love this!!! I have to do the same thing for my god sons first birthday…April 17! I could really use a cupcake tower!!!

March 29, 2011 05:28 PM
Lucy said...

What a wonderful friend you are !

March 30, 2011 06:16 AM
Fleur said...

The chocolate sprinkles are from Holland, not from Belgium! It’s an old-Dutch recipe, but we – Dutchmans – usually eat it with a slice of bread and butter, instead of using it for decorating sweets. You should try it, it’s delicious!
P.S. what a lovely cakes!

April 20, 2011 06:11 PM
Sheba said...

Hi, Just wanted to point out that hagelslag is very very Dutch ;) love your website!

May 22, 2011 04:46 AM
Me said...

Wow! I love it :)
Funny that you used ”Hagelslag”. That’s a quite normal thing to put on you bread in Holland (where I live) and Belgium :)
So it’ s very cheap here. I neve

June 8, 2011 07:20 AM
Me said...

r realised that you can’t buy it in other countries ;)

June 8, 2011 07:21 AM
Caroline said...

OMG! u are a genius!

June 8, 2011 12:35 PM
kaleigh said...

sooo coool i have a stand simalar but it always falls apart i should have gotten dis one

August 23, 2011 10:54 PM
Silvia Galama said...

Hummmm! Lekker hagelslag!

November 15, 2011 01:09 PM
Georgia said...

Loveee these! I’ve been looking for an icing tip everywhere that would give me the same effect as you got on the cakes iced in pink- could you please tell me what it is?
Thank you!

February 19, 2012 01:30 PM
Fabi said...

Bakerella the chocolate cream cheese cupcakes and the buttercream cupcakes look frosted, are they dipped in regular sugar? They look fabulous!

March 27, 2012 12:30 AM
Shelly williams said...

my daughter love to make desserts this was perfect for her and they taste great!!!

July 30, 2012 01:43 PM
ona said...

help,, why is my cream cheese icing so runny/soft? i use two sticks of butter, 2 tsp. vanilla, 2 cups powder sugar – beat.

September 7, 2012 08:58 PM
Anonymous said...

This is fantastic a littke bite difficult so beautifull creative I congratulate you

September 30, 2012 09:40 AM
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