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

cupcakerator said...

Vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting are the best. No muss no fuss.

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

Mine is chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.

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

I am a huge chocolate fan, so I think my favorites are either chocolate with chocolate icing OR german chocolate cake cupcakes.
Yum! :)

May 18, 2009 01:16 PM
La said...

Chocolate Devils food cake with fluffy white frosting, yum!

May 18, 2009 01:17 PM
sweetpeatreats said...

Chocolate with peppermint icing!!

May 18, 2009 01:17 PM
Mary said...

We made chocolate and red velvet with little monkey faces for a baby shower last summer. They were a big hit!

May 18, 2009 01:18 PM
Momof2boyz said...

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting..

May 18, 2009 01:18 PM
~Nancy~ said...

Yum, chocolate with buttercream frosting! I want one. Now.

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

I am just a fan of chocolate and whipped cream on top. Mmmm….

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

Lemon Cupcakes with lots and lots of lemon, and cream cheese frosting.

May 18, 2009 01:18 PM
hoosiergirl_98 said...

Red Velvet with chocolate chips and Cream Cheese frosting!

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

My favorite is chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting.

May 18, 2009 01:19 PM
Anonymous said...

Wow, I love looking at your planning ideas! My favorite is white cake with white (non-buttercream)icing. Seems so plain, but it’s my fav.


May 18, 2009 01:19 PM
Nicki "H" said...

I love chocolate with white buttercream frosting!

May 18, 2009 01:19 PM
Taiya said...

Mmmm… cupcakes. i am quite sure that I love all of them, but my favorite(I think) are dark chocolate cake with mint buttercream frosting and a draped chocolate sort of topping over the mint that I make. Pretty yummy!

May 18, 2009 01:19 PM
Charlette said...

Chocolate Chocolate! Anything with chocolate is just fine with me. I have looked at this stand a few times so it would be fun to win this! Love your blog, you give us all such great ideas. I haven’t bake this much in years. Thanks for sharing.

May 18, 2009 01:19 PM
Charli said...

Chocolate-chocolate is always my standby, but I really love just trying new things!

May 18, 2009 01:19 PM
Melanie said...

I’d like a chance! My fav flavor is choclate cake with chocolate icing. MMmm!

May 18, 2009 01:19 PM
Amanda Wheeler said...

I like classic chocolate with vanilla buttercream frosting.

May 18, 2009 01:20 PM
Deb said...

Yellow cake with Chocolate Icing has always been my favorite but White cake with a pastel tinted Buttercream icing is a close second! Yummm, now I want cupcakes.

May 18, 2009 01:20 PM
Laura M said...

I like yellow cupcakes with chocolate icing! Or, carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting…or chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting….this question is like asking to pick your favorite child!

May 18, 2009 01:20 PM
Cindy said...

Carrot and cream cheese! My email is on my blog profile. Thanks for doing this giveaway.

May 18, 2009 01:20 PM
Sarah Beth said...

I love a lemon cupcake with a simple vanilla bean frosting.

May 18, 2009 01:20 PM
Kate D. said...

Lemon cupcake with lemon icing.

May 18, 2009 01:21 PM
Maree Jeanne said...

I love chocolate cake with chocolate icing! The more chocolate the better!!

May 18, 2009 01:21 PM
Lori said...

Chocolate all the way!

May 18, 2009 01:21 PM
Heather said...

I like cherry limeade cupcakes with lime buttercream (I think I found this recipe on I would love a cupcake tower! lebonheur76 at

May 18, 2009 01:22 PM
Kristi said...

Chocolate + chocolate. Although, I do enjoy a vanilla cupcake once in awhile too!

yazlow at aol dot com

May 18, 2009 01:22 PM
Young Fam said...

chocolate with chocolate icing

May 18, 2009 01:22 PM
HotHeaded said...

White cupcake with cherry frosting. Mmmmmm…..

May 18, 2009 01:22 PM
Maeghan said...

Chocolate cupcake with Kalhua buttercream :)

May 18, 2009 01:22 PM
Robyn said...

I’m a chocolate and buttercream girl all the way. I like to try other combos but this is always my favorite.

May 18, 2009 01:22 PM
NoBull said...

I just made my favorite on Sunday for a family member’s birthday! Carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. That frosting is the bestest!

May 18, 2009 01:22 PM
Stampin Craze said...

Getting ready for a big graduation party for my daughter I have been testing some different flavors. I found one I really like. A Pina Colada cupcake made with a yellow cake mix and coco lopez coconut milk with a pineapple whipped cream icing. It is very very good.

May 18, 2009 01:23 PM
Lynette said...

I like Chocolate w/ white icing…boring!!

May 18, 2009 01:23 PM
Lori said...

My favorite since I was a little girl is cherry chip cake with vanilla icing, flavored with the juice from jar of cherries.

May 18, 2009 01:23 PM
Rocio said...

My fave is the BlackOut cupcake from Crumb’s bakeshop-chocolate cake with a chocolate custard frosting, topped with chocolate crumbs and drizzled with chocolate…ummmm yummmmmy!!! now i want one!!!

May 18, 2009 01:23 PM
Ally said...

My fav is Chocolate with vanilla butter cream icing. Yum Yum

May 18, 2009 01:24 PM
Misty said...

Pumpkin with cinnamon creamcheese frosting – hello comfort!!

May 18, 2009 01:24 PM
mommy2twindaughters said...

Chocolate with Coconut topping

May 18, 2009 01:24 PM
strawberries&kiwi said...

My favorite flavor is Chocolate cake and Raspberry filling with Chocolate Buttercream! I could eat it for breakfast!

May 18, 2009 01:24 PM
jennie said...

Vanilla with a lemon glaze

May 18, 2009 01:24 PM
kbloems27 said...

I like mine simple. I am a total vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting!!

May 18, 2009 01:25 PM
Kristen said...

Lemon, lemon, with more lemon!

May 18, 2009 01:25 PM
Becs said...

My favorite cupcake flavor is chocolate with chocolate frosting, of course! Not very original, I know.

May 18, 2009 01:25 PM
angela said...

Devil’s food with 7 minute white icing. Yum.

May 18, 2009 01:25 PM
Leila said...

chocolate cupcake with peanut butter icing!!

May 18, 2009 01:25 PM
zekesmom10 said...

That is a great tower. You are so clever with your designs too! Love them.

My favorite flavor combo is chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate with a dash of bittersweet in there somewhere.

May 18, 2009 01:25 PM
Laura D said...

mmmm- i think i need to go make some cuppycakes now…
i’m simple- i like a vanilla cake and chocolate frosting- want to try that chocolate cream cheese frosting though…
though i recently made carrot cupcakes with a cream cheese filling and a cream cheese icing-mmmmm
those HUGE jimmies look great!!!
and love pink cupcakes! they look so pretty!

Laura D
lt624(at)ntelos (dot) com

May 18, 2009 01:25 PM
Laurie said...

Anything with cream cheese frosting… the cupcakes are just a vehicle!

May 18, 2009 01:25 PM
Team Simmons said...

Boring I know… but,I like vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting!

May 18, 2009 01:25 PM
Erika said...

yellow w/ chocolate frosting

May 18, 2009 01:25 PM
suburban prep said...

German Chocolate. YUM!!!

msgb245 at gmail dot com

May 18, 2009 01:25 PM
Paula said...

Carrot cake with buttercream frosting.

May 18, 2009 01:26 PM
Cheryl said...

Those are beautiful!

I like white cake with buttercream frosting… boring, I know but it’s what I like!

May 18, 2009 01:26 PM
Becki said...

My favorite is just a simple chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream icing. But I love trying new ones!!!

You did a fantastic job!! I love your ingenuity! (And Martha is definitely someone to go for for ideas!!!) I love topping cupcakes with the 1M tip – they sure do take a lot of frosting though, don’t they?!

May 18, 2009 01:26 PM
Melissa said...

My favorite is pumpkin with cream cheese frosting. Perfect for the fall and the holidays, but I love them all year long!

May 18, 2009 01:26 PM
*JeM* said...

There’s nothing quite like Funfetti cupcakes with vanilla icing (and of course multicolored sprinkles) for birthdays! I love to bake, but not quite ambitious enough to make everything from scratch…

May 18, 2009 01:26 PM
Andrea said...

Banana nut with cream cheese frosting but my son would prefer Devils food with a chocolate fudge.

May 18, 2009 01:26 PM
Valerie said...

Chocolate with oreo filling and vanilla buttercream icing. Sprinkles are always an added bonus too.

May 18, 2009 01:26 PM
Cindy said...

I have family visiting throughout the summer months and I’m thinking of trying cupcakes for desserts for them…I think chocolate batter with vanilla buttercream frosting would be best (they’re all chocolaholics).

I’m glad everything turned out okay for your event – everything looked so cute!


May 18, 2009 01:26 PM
Lil Missy said...

I found a recipe for Cookies N Cream cupcakes and I think it’s my new favorite!! Ugh, I would love this cupcake stand… it love it love it!

May 18, 2009 01:26 PM
Jill said...

love the adorable cupcakes! i love chocolate peppermint with vanilla buttercream! YUM!

May 18, 2009 01:27 PM
Casey and Jeannie said...

Chocolate on chocolate…is there any other? You put so much thought into things you do Bakerella, amazing!

May 18, 2009 01:27 PM
Cyndi said...

fudge cupcakes w/ mini chips – frosted w/ chocolate ganache and topped w/ chopped reeses. yummy!

May 18, 2009 01:28 PM
Jen S said...

went to a bridal shower this weekend, they had a delish strawberry icing on top of lemon cupcake…delicious!


May 18, 2009 01:28 PM
Lee Ann said...

I love all cupcakes, but if choosing, I would pick vanilla with vanilla buttercream icing.

May 18, 2009 01:28 PM
Joanna said...

My fave is chocolate w/cream cheese icing! Yum!!

jojo17 at gmail dot com

May 18, 2009 01:28 PM
Auntie Jo Jo said...

My favorite combo is yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I know it’s so simple but just sooo delicious. Love your site and your cupcakes. And I love this tower, the one I have is Styrofoam but tends to tilt a bit. Thanks for the post and giveaway!

May 18, 2009 01:28 PM
Amy D. said...

It’s a toss between Red Velvet and Cream Cheese Icing and “yella with buttercream”

May 18, 2009 01:28 PM
Sarah Lenhart said...

Strawberry cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese icing. Delicious!

May 18, 2009 01:28 PM
ajcangel said...

My future aunt-in-law is making cupcakes for my upcoming wedding (August). This would be perfect for displaying them all. We just taste tested some and my favorite is a toss up…texas chocolate sheet cake with raspberry swiss buttercream icing and good ‘ol vanilla with a chocolate swiss buttercream (tastes like a piece of chocolate melting in your mouth!). Yum!

Thanks for the chance to win!

May 18, 2009 01:28 PM
573 said...

Classics are best! White on White! Yellow cake and Choclate frosting! But just recently tried Banana cake with cream cheese frosting Yummy! Adding a little cinnamon to frosting! Amazing!!

May 18, 2009 01:29 PM
kristin and matt said...

if i’m baking, i’m a chocolate cake with buttercream frosting kind of girl. if i’m buying them from sweet mandy b’s (the BEST cupcake store in chicago) then i’m getting a banana cupcake with chocolate frosting. yum!

May 18, 2009 01:29 PM
Anonymous said...

I love strawberry with cream cheese icing !!!!!
Amber Ferguson

May 18, 2009 01:29 PM
Christina said...

Chocolate cupcakes with Peanut Butter frosting is the current fave!

May 18, 2009 01:30 PM
Sheree said...

Chocolate with chocolate cream cheese! I like overkill like that.

May 18, 2009 01:31 PM
Belkycita said...

Vanilla and chocolate frosting :-)

May 18, 2009 01:32 PM
organizenscrap said...

I love the fondant toppers! Gorgeous! I love using french vanilla cake mix & using Sprite Zero instead of the usual egg, oil, & water (out of the box mix) for cupcakes. Just enough fruity flavor & it's nearly fat/sugar free.

May 18, 2009 01:32 PM
Courtney said...

Italian cream with cream cheese icing! My fav cake & cupcakes!

May 18, 2009 01:32 PM
JB said...

Devils Food with choc satin icing, yum!

My friend in the Netherlands and I do care package swaps, she sent me very similar sprinkles, they taste so good! She also sent tiny (choc chip sized) ginger snap cookies that are WONDERFUL!

May 18, 2009 01:33 PM
HPTeach said...

I love chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing. Mmmmmm….

May 18, 2009 01:33 PM
Kristine McKowen said...

They look awesome!

My favorite cupcakes are these Margarita cupcakes. Sweet, but yummy!

kris_mck at hotmail dot com

May 18, 2009 01:33 PM
Mary Kate said...

I’m a classic girl who likes classic cupcakes :-) moist yellow cake with chocolate icing. Mmmmm. These cupcakes are beautiful. I love the idea. It good also work for christening celebrations.

May 18, 2009 01:33 PM
chiapetsrcool said...

Strawberry cake with strawberry buttercream.

May 18, 2009 01:33 PM
Redheaded Mama said...

Strawberry with cream cheese frosting :D

May 18, 2009 01:33 PM
The Alexanders said...

I just love plain white cake with vanilla buttercream. Anything that resembles a wedding cake…mmm.

May 18, 2009 01:34 PM
KatieD said...

I’m a classic kinda girl–I’ll take yellow cupcakes with chocolate icing, please! I take cupcakes to my kids class for birthdays and transport is the hardest part–I love this tower!

May 18, 2009 01:34 PM
Amanda from Bham said...

Red velvet with standard cream cheese frosting! Yummy!

May 18, 2009 01:34 PM
naiad-kitty said...

Oh! Those turned out beautiful!

I will never turn down a cupcake, but my favorite is lemon with lemon curd icing!

May 18, 2009 01:34 PM
lauren said...

If I’m just going basic I love a vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream. Though I do love cream cheese so this chocolate cream cheese icing you speak of sounds delicious!

May 18, 2009 01:34 PM
Bless Your Heart said...

Carrot cake and cream cheese icing. YUM, YUM, YUM!

May 18, 2009 01:34 PM
Macey Kay said...

I’m simple-chocolate with chocolate frosting, or anything with with cream chees crea, frosting. macjamin (at) gmail

May 18, 2009 01:35 PM
Taya said...

anything with cream cheese frosting! tkmg[at]

May 18, 2009 01:35 PM
trish-punch said...

Hmmm…I’d have to say “butterfly” cupcakes made with lemon cake and cherry pie filling.

Thanks for your blog! It is both inspiring and tasty!

If you’ll excuse me, I have to go make some cupcakes now…

May 18, 2009 01:35 PM
Christi said...

I love reading your blog..those cupcakes are so beautiful. My favorite flavor is banana cupcakes with chocolate icing! yummy..

May 18, 2009 01:35 PM
Jess said...

I’m old school southern: homemade strawberry with homemade buttercream. And if you’re my grandma, you stick a hole in the middle of the cupcake and fill it with pecan-coconut frosting from a can before you ice it for a surprise inside :D

May 18, 2009 01:35 PM
Metricula said...

As much as I love chocolate I gotta go with vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream… There’s something light and cute about the taste!

May 18, 2009 01:37 PM
What's for Supper? said...

A chocolate cupcake with strawberry frosting. YUM!

May 18, 2009 01:37 PM
Michele said...

Chocolate Peanut Butter.

May 18, 2009 01:37 PM
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