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

Andrea said...

Yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

May 18, 2009 12:52 PM
Chelsea Coker said...

I love a red velvet cupcake w/ vanilla cream cheese icing!

May 18, 2009 12:52 PM
Cameron said...

Red velvet and cream cheese icing. Is there any other way? I didn’t think so…

May 18, 2009 12:52 PM
Stefanie said...

I still love the classic Red Velvet and Cream cheese frosting!

steffie100 at hotmail dot com

May 18, 2009 12:53 PM
melanie said...

red velvet with cream cheese frosting or buttercream. YUMMMM!

May 18, 2009 12:53 PM
sara said...

carrot cake (w/pineapple!) and cream cheese frosting


sjloud at hotmail dot com

May 18, 2009 12:53 PM
Valerie said...

I’m a simple girl–give me a vanilla cupcake with plenty of chocolate frosting and I’m a happy camper!

valeriemarino at gmail dot com

May 18, 2009 12:53 PM
Paige said...

Oh those are so beautiful and I love that Cupcake Tower. Convenience!

I am a red velvet girl through and through, with buttercream frosting. Oooh yeah.

May 18, 2009 12:53 PM
Lisa said...

Chocolate with butter cream is my favorite; however a local bakery makes a strawberry cake with strawberry icing and I would love to have a cupcake version.

May 18, 2009 12:53 PM
Tootall said...

Strawberry cupcake, strawberry filling w/ vanilla BC icing. YUM! Strawberry overload! =D

May 18, 2009 12:53 PM
TRACY said...

Chocolate with cream cheese! I need to make some tonight!!!

May 18, 2009 12:53 PM
Life At Camellia Cottage said...

Oh, defiitely – chocolate fudge cake with vanilla buttercream icing! Thanks, Becky G.

May 18, 2009 12:54 PM
Emily said...

I like white cupcakes with white buttercream frosting…LOTS of frosting. Actually, I could do without the cupcake part. Sorry. And I LOVE THAT TOWER! I have three kids and many, many years of cupcake baking ahead of me and would love having one of those!

May 18, 2009 12:54 PM
Courtney said...

I haven’t gotten too experimental with my cake (or cupcake) flavors because I’m always afraid people won’t like them. So far, my favorite has been a red velvet with vanilla cream filling and cream cheese frosting. Now that I’ve read some other peoples’ responses though, I’m going to start giving more daring flavors a spin in my oven!

May 18, 2009 12:54 PM
Sarah said...

Yellow cake and chocolate frosting! Thanks for the giveaway your stuff is amazing.

May 18, 2009 12:54 PM
Erika said...

Loved this post. Thank you! My fave is lemon cupcake with cream cheese frosting.

May 18, 2009 12:55 PM
superduper elle said...

nobody noticed the stack design? :O

i love marble! butter and chocolate FTW!! :D

May 18, 2009 12:55 PM
L said...

Maybe I’m boring, but I love Devil’s Food with vanilla buttercream.

Though I consider a yellow cake with chocolate frosting to be a very close, classic second


May 18, 2009 12:55 PM
neilnjes said...

Chocolate with a pumpkin creme frosting. I had it a few years ago at a Fall fair and it is….AMAZING!

durboraw j at missouri dot edu

May 18, 2009 12:56 PM
Tonya said...

Devil’s Food with my plain jane white icing – YUM!!!

May 18, 2009 12:56 PM
ButterYum said...

Wow, what a generous offer.

I love chocolate so these S’Mores Cupcakes I made recently are wonderful.

May 18, 2009 12:56 PM
Angi said...

I’ve come to love devil’s food with chocolate cream cheese frosting with crunched up Oreo cookie on top. We made it for my son’s birthday party and found little construction trucks to use as toppers. It was super cute and super delicious!

May 18, 2009 12:56 PM
LadySnow said...

One of my favorites is a yellow cake with dark chocolate icing..oh…or…chocolate cupcakes with mocha icing. Yummy!

May 18, 2009 12:56 PM
Emily said...

I really love strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Yum!

May 18, 2009 12:57 PM
AVinNYC said...

First of all, your homemade tower was wonderful- I love the added detail of the scanned paper! As for my favorite cupcake combination, I’m partial to ‘wacky cake’ (it’s a chocolate cake recipe my mom makes) with cream cheese frosting… YUM! Thanks for the give-away!

May 18, 2009 12:57 PM
Krissa said...

How fun…I love Chocolate with cream cheese frosting!

May 18, 2009 12:57 PM
chocolate and chanel said...

chocolate with chocolate

May 18, 2009 12:58 PM
Molly said...

Spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Though I love lemon with boiled lemon frosting like my Grandma used to make, I just can’t seem to find the right frosting recipe!
That tower looks terribly handy! Count me in!

May 18, 2009 12:58 PM
EG said...

Wow, you are a hard-working cupcake-making lady!

I’m OBSESSED with Martha’s merangue buttercream frosting recipe. I don’t even care what you put it on, but if it’s going to be chocolate it better be very chocolatey. I’ve used Martha’s chocolate brownie recipe before and it’s been a hit. But it’s all about the merangue buttercream, really.

Although now I want to try your chocolate cream cheese!

May 18, 2009 12:58 PM
dlb said...

Pina Colada! sooo good!

May 18, 2009 12:58 PM
Tracy said...

Pumpkin muffins with chunks of brown sugar sprinkled on top. :-)

May 18, 2009 12:58 PM
jeanne mostly wilson said...

I’m a peanut butter nut so my favorite is to make a really rich chocolate cupcake and then stir in some creamy peanut butter to the vanilla buttercream. So Good!

jeannerlopez (at) gmail (dot) com

May 18, 2009 12:58 PM
bzy1 said...

Mojito! Lime cake with a lime frosting and a but of real mint that has been sugared.

May 18, 2009 12:58 PM
Alice said...

Strawberry shortcake cupcakes with whipped cream and berries on top. Delish :)

May 18, 2009 12:59 PM
jjk said...

Dark Chocolate and Coconut!

May 18, 2009 12:59 PM
KRISTIE said...

lemon cupcake with vanilla buttercream thats my fav! but really anything with buttercream :)

May 18, 2009 12:59 PM
The McRee's said...

white cake chocolate frosting – Yum!

May 18, 2009 12:59 PM
Aersi said...

Ooooh! I’d love one! I’m always wanting to make cupcakes for my friends, but I almost never do because of the transportation issue.

I love almost any kind of cupcake, but I have a recipe for green tea cupcakes with sparkling sake frosting that I’m just dying to try!

May 18, 2009 12:59 PM
tabitha said...

strawberry with cream cheese frosting

May 18, 2009 12:59 PM
Mara said...

I have to say you always seem to amaze me. I had the same issue not too long ago and I actually made my own. Or at least that was how it was supposed to be. But it was a job for hubby and dad. I tell you it took all day though. But you can see what it came out like on my blog there is a picture of it in action. Will be posting process soon. Lot of work but well worth it in the end. The only thing is it’s solid wood so yeah one like yours would be great 8).

But I am a simple gal. My favorite is marble cupcake with BC icing.

May 18, 2009 01:00 PM
Loydene said...

White cake, white icing. Plain ole’ white!!

May 18, 2009 01:00 PM
aimee said...

What a timely post! I have to make “bridal shower” cupcakes for 50 and have been doing a lot of planning! This would be perfect. My favorite combo is yellow butter with choclate frosting.

May 18, 2009 01:00 PM
Mariana Bicalho said...

My favourite is chocolate!!
Mariana Bicalho

P.S.: I’m from Brasil. Can I participate?

May 18, 2009 01:01 PM
Amanda said...

My sister made lemon with cream cheese frosting once. They were too eggy, but the flavor was wonderfull.

May 18, 2009 01:01 PM
Melanie said...

chocolate on chocolate

May 18, 2009 01:01 PM
tarryn said...

chocolate chocolate. I know, boring. But why mess with perfection.

tscolson at gmail dot com

May 18, 2009 01:03 PM
Suzy said...

I’m a little boring, but I love vanilla with flavored icing- OR red velvet with cream cheese frosting. Yummy!

May 18, 2009 01:03 PM
Rachel said...

Hi Bakerella! Oh, yum! Those look fantastic! You are so creative! (BTW, I get nervous when right before dong cakes too!) =;)

My fav. combination is lemon cake with a lemon cream cheese frosting with lemon zest in the frosting! Oh to die for! Almost better than chocolate! =;) Thanks for the giveaway! =:D

~Miss Rachel~

May 18, 2009 01:03 PM
Anonymous said...

My favorite is Devil’s food with minty buttercream frosting! Like an Andie’s candy in a cupcake!!!

I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 18, 2009 01:04 PM
Andrea said...

Funfetti Cake and Funfetti frosting. I know, SO original. But I looooove it.

May 18, 2009 01:04 PM
sweet pea TREATS said...

That’s easy…chocolate with chocolate fudge!!! The cupcakes look great. Everything you bake turns to gold I swear!

May 18, 2009 01:04 PM
Jessica said...

I can’t get enough of plain yellow cake with chocolate fudge frosting. It’s basic, but it just is the perfect combo for me.

May 18, 2009 01:04 PM
Robin said...

Chocolate with chocolate icing, I know that is boring, but oh I lobe them!

May 18, 2009 01:04 PM
Jenn Greeley said...

Oh, how awesome! Ummm, chocolate and chocolate….what else? Beautiful cupcakes. Thanks!

May 18, 2009 01:04 PM
Mary said...

i love cupcakes, all cupcakes, but my favorite is red velvet with cream cheese frosting. Yummm!

May 18, 2009 01:04 PM
Mommo said...

I am going with chocolate and a white buttercream icing. You would never catch me turning down any kind of cupcake though.

May 18, 2009 01:04 PM
Jackie said...

I love all cupcakes but recently fell in love with a recipe for Chai tea cupcakes with buttercream frosting. Delicious!

May 18, 2009 01:05 PM
Sarah said...

I JUST made cupcakes for my son’s birthday, so this would have been handy. I’m a traditionalist when it come to cupcakes and love a chocolate with chocolate buttercream, although as I sit here daydreaming of cupcakes at 9 in the morning, I think a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting (with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg in the frosting too) would be yummy.

May 18, 2009 01:05 PM
hardygirl said...

Chocolate with buttercream frosting. my taste buds are satisfied with anything mixed with chocolate. lol

May 18, 2009 01:05 PM
Anonymous said...

chocolate with chocolate or mint frosting mmmm. I actually hate choc and mint together but mint frosting has a really good flavor not too minty and sooo good!

I heart Bakerella!

May 18, 2009 01:06 PM
Lisa said...

I have to say I’m a chocoholic and like the dark chocoate cake with a ganache filling with vanilla buttercream icing!!

May 18, 2009 01:06 PM
Ruth White said...

My favorite is a simple yellow cupcake with chopped rollos (the bits of caramel and chocolate melted into the cake are heavenly) with milk chocolate ganache buttercream.

I have done cupcakes for a couple weddings and after stressing out transporting 275 cupcakes to the first wedding (I just used regular cake boxes and worried about everything until they were out on the table – the survived the transport and a minor mishap just fine) I found these cupcake boxes with inserts. I had to buy 100 but now I always have a box and insert at hand to give away a dozen cupcakes. I love not having to worry about retrieving my tupperware and has a very professional presentation. The boxes store flat. They can now be custom ordered in a variety of colors as well. I have greatly enjoyed reading your blog. Ruth (

May 18, 2009 01:07 PM
Melinda said...

My favorite is Red Velvet with cream cheese on top. I love this.

May 18, 2009 01:07 PM
Leslie said...

yellow cupcakes with a good chocolate frosting

May 18, 2009 01:07 PM
Anonymous said...

Chocolate with chocolate!

May 18, 2009 01:07 PM
Ashley Webb said...

I actually don’t like cupcakes (or cake or pie). But I DO like to look at them!! Especially yours!


May 18, 2009 01:07 PM
terry said...

A big fan of lemon cupcakes. I don't even care what kind of icing! :)

This tower is a great! My sister is doing a wine & dessert party for her reception and this would work great for her 'cake' (she is doing cupcakes with polka dots). I love that it tilts!

May 18, 2009 01:08 PM
cantwait30 said...

I love white with vanilla … the traditional birthday cake flavor!


May 18, 2009 01:08 PM
Shaybaybobay said...

I’m a pretty plain cupcake person =) Vanilla or Chocolate will do me just fine.
Beautiful cupcakes btw

May 18, 2009 01:08 PM
Helen said...

I guess I’m pretty boring but I like the good ‘ol vanilla with buttercream icing!

May 18, 2009 01:08 PM
chern said...

vanilla with a blueberry jam centre and lemon buttercream!! yes yes yes!!

.. would you ship that cake stand to the UK? ohh please say you would.

May 18, 2009 01:08 PM
Kayla said...

I absolutely LOVE Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

Thanks for giving us such great ideas. I can’t wait to make some fancy cupcakes!

May 18, 2009 01:09 PM
Tiercy said...

You do such an amazing job! I bet your friend loved these cupcakes!! I am a chocolate girl all the way, so I am going chocolate with chocolate frosting! Please keep posting! I love your blog.

May 18, 2009 01:09 PM
Kirsten said...

yellow cake with chocolate icing…yummy

May 18, 2009 01:09 PM
The Adventure of Linds and Lyds! said...

Your cupcakes were beatiful!

My fav cupcake flavor is probably dark chocolate with cherry filling and cream cheese icing!

May 18, 2009 01:09 PM
Oops Creations said...

dark chocolate with italian buttercream, a twist on the classic

May 18, 2009 01:09 PM
Brittany said...


May 18, 2009 01:10 PM
Becky said...

Oh, how fun!! My favorite is the the kind with the cake and frosting. :) I do love a good yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Yum!

wildbeckers at gmail dot com

May 18, 2009 01:10 PM
Miss Belle said...

Carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting…yum!!

May 18, 2009 01:10 PM
Kelly said...

Red velvet! Traditional I know, but so yummy!!!

May 18, 2009 01:10 PM
Christine said...

My favorite cupcake is chocolate with chocolate frosting and then chocolate sprinkles. I admit I have an addiction, but I am okay with that!


May 18, 2009 01:10 PM
Anonymous said...

Italian cream cake with cream cheese frosting. No calories there, huh?

Thanks for a chance to win more cool stuff.

Randa, aka

May 18, 2009 01:10 PM
Cathie, said...

yellow batter with chocolate buttercream frosting

May 18, 2009 01:11 PM
Susan said...

I love yellow cupcakes with fudge frosting.

Sue (

May 18, 2009 01:11 PM
adrienne... said...

Oooooh… We just had cupcakes at our wedding, and my fave was a white cake with blackberry filling and almond frosting. Yum!

May 18, 2009 01:12 PM
Ali said...

yellow cake, with strawberry filling and buttercream frosting, yummy

May 18, 2009 01:12 PM
Nerdy Jess said...

Oh goodness, red velvet with cream cheese icing. Oh those are the best. You can contact me @

May 18, 2009 01:12 PM
jennypilgrim said...

I have two favorite cupcakes–Red Velvet and just a plain white cake with buttercream icing. I usually make cupcakes instead of a cake to bring to work. People can just grab one and go, they don’t need forks or plates.

May 18, 2009 01:13 PM
Barb said...

chocolate on chocolate can’t be beat – tried and true

May 18, 2009 01:13 PM
Leanna said...

Lemon poppyseed with lemon curd filling and cream cheese icing. I could go for one right now.

May 18, 2009 01:13 PM
Glimmer said...

what a beautiful cupcake design! My favourite cupcakes are moist chocolate with a bit of cayenne pepper and chocolate chunks filled with vanilla curd :) mmmm..yummy!

May 18, 2009 01:13 PM
Marly said...

Plain and simple…white cake with vanilla buttercream! Yum!

May 18, 2009 01:14 PM
tara said...

woooow soOOOO wonderful! thanks for the contest!!! never seen this in France!!!
my favorite cupcake flavor would be chocolat/almond!!!
bisous***thank you***

May 18, 2009 01:14 PM
The Besecker's said...

I had a pumpkin with a spicy cream cheese icing that was absolutely awesome.

May 18, 2009 01:14 PM
Trish Hicks said...

Peppermint with vanilla buttercream

May 18, 2009 01:14 PM
JT's Momma said...

I am pretty simple I guess, I like a moist yellow cupcake with a good buttercream frosting. I really like sprinkles on top too.

May 18, 2009 01:14 PM
craigandstacy said...

White cake with any kind of frosting (I’m not picky!)

May 18, 2009 01:15 PM
Sarah said...

oh I love chocolate with cream cheese frosting!!

sarah8914 at gmail dot com

May 18, 2009 01:15 PM
katy said...

Definitely strawberry cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting. I’m salivating!

May 18, 2009 01:15 PM
Missy Lund said...

I love red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting! Yummy!

May 18, 2009 01:15 PM
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