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

Erin O. said...

Key Lime or plain old vanilla. Yum!

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

I had a cookie dough cupcake with peanutbutter icing. It was great!!

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

My favorite cupcake combination is chocolate cake with cream cheese icing. Yum!

May 18, 2009 01:37 PM
mom2ross said...

French Toast cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Yummm…
Thanks for another great giveaway!

May 18, 2009 01:37 PM
Elliot&Tracy said...

I love red velvet and cream cheese frosting!! So delicious.

May 18, 2009 01:37 PM
The Mom said...

Red Velvet and cream cheese… I know probably boring, but hey I am a simple girl!


May 18, 2009 01:38 PM
Haro FAM said...

Chocolate cupcakes with Cheesecake centers topped off with ganache! yummy!

merynharo @

May 18, 2009 01:39 PM
AP said...

vanilla cupcakes with choclate frosting, or vice versa!

May 18, 2009 01:39 PM
Ashleigh said...

I could eat just about any combination of cupcake and icing and love it but I *think* I’m going to say chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache. Mmmmm. Ganache. I could eat my weight in that stuff.


May 18, 2009 01:39 PM
Shylo said...

I love chocolate with vanilla icing!

May 18, 2009 01:39 PM
Sara said...

I love fruity combinations–like chocolate raspberry, or lemon with vanilla buttercream.

May 18, 2009 01:40 PM
Trish said...

Dark chocolate and carmel buttercream! YUM!

Your site is so inspirational… thank you!


May 18, 2009 01:40 PM
agoodbuild said...

oh your cupcakes always look so amazing and this tower would be great for our house ‘finishing’ part we are having to celebrate the re -build after Hurricane Ike. My favorite is the red velvet with cream cheese frosting! Yum! I want one now!

May 18, 2009 01:40 PM
Jenny said...

Favorite? What kind of cruel thing is that? OK, ummm…. vanilla cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting. Oh, oh, oh….wait chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese filling with fudge frosting…. oh, oh, oh wait! Oh never mind! This post alone is probably why my diet is failing abysmmally. (and on top of that I can’t spell that word but I’m leaving it there anyway cuz I like the way it sounds) and BTW, I think you were brilliant matching the invitations as you did. Martha has nothing on you. Thanks for the chance.

May 18, 2009 01:41 PM
Candace said...

My favorite are white cupcakes with fudge frosting…yum!

May 18, 2009 01:41 PM
dmh said...

Margarita cupcakes with lime buttercream. Mmm.

May 18, 2009 01:41 PM
Therese said...

chocolate cake with white frosting-yum!

May 18, 2009 01:41 PM
MichelleSG said...

Chocolate with cream cheese frosting. I love butter cream frosting too but sometimes it’s too sweet. I barely sweeten my cream cheese frosting and it still works well.

May 18, 2009 01:41 PM
Stacey said...

Good ol’ White on white!

May 18, 2009 01:42 PM
Megan and Josh said...

i love chocolate guiness cupcakes with baileys cream cheese frosting!! :-)

May 18, 2009 01:42 PM
Topanga Bay said...

I’m a boring old vanilla cupcake with colored vanilla frosting type of girl.

May 18, 2009 01:42 PM
Erin said...

Chocolate cupcakes that have a cream cheese and chocolate chip filling (it bakes in) with vanilla butter cream on the top. Yum. Thanks for a great giveaway!

May 18, 2009 01:42 PM
Christy said...

Chocolate with buttercream!

May 18, 2009 01:42 PM
Kelly said...

Chocolate with buttercream! YUM!

May 18, 2009 01:43 PM
Kelly and Megan said...

good old fashioned yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting!!!!

May 18, 2009 01:43 PM
mrclbaby said...

Chocolate and cherry! yum!

May 18, 2009 01:43 PM
EBeauty03 said...

Just found your site. LOVE your creativity (because I have none)! Super cute cupcakes.

My favorite flavor is homemade red velvet with creamy homemade frosting! YUMMY! Now I’m hungry!

jessica dot haworth at gmail dot com

May 18, 2009 01:43 PM
Char said...

Chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting…. so yummy!!!!


May 18, 2009 01:43 PM
Joelle said...

oh what a fun giveaway! It is so hard to transport cupcakes! So, my current favorite is carrot cake cupcakes!! Yummmmy.

May 18, 2009 01:43 PM
koopermom said...

Cookie and Cream! I just found an amazing recipe and they are SO GOOD!!

May 18, 2009 01:43 PM
Sarah Most said...

Spice cake with a cream cheese frosting.

May 18, 2009 01:44 PM
Jessica said...

I love white cake with mini chocolate chips in the cake and the icing!

May 18, 2009 01:44 PM
Stacy said...

I love peanut butter with chocolate buttercream! OR chocolate with raspberry icing, or vice versa. Any combination of rasberry/chocolate or chocolate/peanut butter pretty much guarantees to be delish!

May 18, 2009 01:44 PM
Keri said...

Your chocolate with the chocolate sprinkles sounds like the most perfect cupcake EVER. Although the chocolate with lots of pink buttercream sounds YUMMY too.

Are there any left? Can you send me one of those instead? lol

May 18, 2009 01:45 PM
Casey said...

the cupcakes look great!! I love regular white cake, not too sweet so I love it

May 18, 2009 01:45 PM
Anonymous said...

Beautiful cupcakes!!

My fav is chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting.

Rachel S
Spooner, WI

May 18, 2009 01:45 PM
mamasuisse said...

Oooh, lemon. The lemonier the better. And if it’s lemony enough to make your jaw cramp when you bite into it, even better!!

May 18, 2009 01:46 PM
Pat in Oak Ridge said...

chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream icing. yummy to the max!

May 18, 2009 01:46 PM
Mel said...

chocolate with pistachio buttercream cream

May 18, 2009 01:46 PM
*ann said...

coconut cake with coconut frosting…think italian cream cake. yum!

May 18, 2009 01:46 PM
Tracy said...

Love carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting!

May 18, 2009 01:46 PM
missELAINEeous said...

Lemon Poppy Seed with cream cheese frosting.

Yes. A Lemon Poppy Seed cupcake, not muffin. DELISH

May 18, 2009 01:46 PM
Brena said...

My favorite is yellow cake with chocolate frosting… so yummy.

May 18, 2009 01:47 PM
kandie_mcd said...

I’ve always loved yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting. But I have this great new recipe I’m trying for lime cupcakes. Yum!

May 18, 2009 01:47 PM
Marla said...

Red Velvet with cream cheese frosting! Yum! :)

May 18, 2009 01:47 PM
Amy said...

Yellow cake with fudge icing. Yummy!

May 18, 2009 01:47 PM
Sarah said...

I actually love pumpkin flavored cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. YUM!

May 18, 2009 01:48 PM
Christina said...

I adore your blog! And all of your wonderful (and creative) ideas.

My favorite cupcake is red velvet with cream cheese frosting. Um, YUM!

May 18, 2009 01:48 PM
annie said...

My new favorite is chocolate fudge brownies with peanut butter icing. But it’s usually red velvet with cream cheese icing.

I eat alot of cupcakes.

May 18, 2009 01:49 PM
murph said...

my alltime favorite- pumpkin with cream cheese icing- they’re sooo good!!

May 18, 2009 01:49 PM
Vanessa said...

Vanilla Almond cupcake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.
yummm- DIVINE!!!!!

May 18, 2009 01:49 PM
ModernMom said...

I’m a sucker for the traditional favorite.
Chocolate Marble cupcake with a simple Vanilla Buttercream.

Such a great post!

May 18, 2009 01:49 PM
ALS said...

coconut cake with buttercream and coconut frosting

May 18, 2009 01:49 PM
notmicrowavesafe said...

I’m a simple girl- yellow cake with chocolate frosting! Although I’m also a sucker for Funfetti cake.

May 18, 2009 01:49 PM
Cammi said...

i’m voting for chocolate cupcake with a chocolate cream cheese frosting!!!!!

cammihigley at msn dot com

May 18, 2009 01:49 PM
jennifer c. said...

I recently made carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for my friends while they were waiting for one of our friends’ husband to get out of surgery. Great hit, brought good cheer.

You can contact via the blogger email associated with this or the address labeled here:

May 18, 2009 01:50 PM
Alyssa said...

That is so cute! I am just a simple old fashioned girl. I love vanilla and chocolate. Don’t get me wrong, I will eat lots of others but that’s my fav!!! :-)

May 18, 2009 01:50 PM
Kim said...

Vanilla with chocolate icing.

May 18, 2009 01:50 PM
Winnie said...

Classic dark chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. Yum!

May 18, 2009 01:50 PM
MissJubilee said...

Just about any flavor :) but I think chocolate and vanilla is probably my fav. Simple, but sooo good! And it doesn’t matter which is chocolate and which is vanilla (but perhaps chocolate cake with vanilla frosting is a tiny bit better) ;)

May 18, 2009 01:50 PM
Dillypoo said...

I love white chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Mmmmm!

May 18, 2009 01:50 PM
Jacquie said...

Chocolate with a coffee flavored buttercream :) yummmmm

May 18, 2009 01:50 PM
Jill said...

Chocolate Cupcake with Peanut Butter Frosting!

May 18, 2009 01:51 PM
Melissa said...

Definitely chocolate with cream cheese frosting! :)

May 18, 2009 01:51 PM
Peggy said...

I have made strawberry cupcakes with dark chocolate ganache filling and strawberry buttercream.

May 18, 2009 01:51 PM
Joy said...

I like chocolate with cream cheese frosting!

May 18, 2009 01:51 PM
Anonymous said...

Oooh, it has to be a Devil’s food cupcake with a dark chocolate icing. Not too creative, but I do love chocolate! Thanks!

May 18, 2009 01:52 PM
Susan said...

I’m boring…I just want chocolate with chocolate. Maybe on a daring day I’d like some raspberry filling!

May 18, 2009 01:52 PM
Tracy said...

Very beautiful cupcakes and that’s a nice tower. I have the Wilton swirly metal ones which are also nice but they don’t hold as many and sometimes the ones on top smear the frosting of the ones below.

May 18, 2009 01:52 PM
mrs. vor, baker said...

Great job on the cupcakes, bakerella!

My favorite is caramel cake with either caramel frosting or vanilla cream cheese buttercream. Mmmmmm.

May 18, 2009 01:52 PM
Brooke - in Oregon said...

Oh my gosh this would be PERFECT for my granddaughter’s 3rd birthday this summer. I would like to be unique and say something like licorice with Mint frosting but naaaa Chocolate with cream cheese frosting it the BESTEST! lol

May 18, 2009 01:52 PM
Ange said...

My favourite cupcake flavour combination BY FAR is Red Velvet cupcake with Cream Cheese Icing.

Folllowed by anything topped with a lemon buttercream. MMM.

May 18, 2009 01:53 PM
Karen said...

Definitely red velvet with cream cheese frosting!!!


May 18, 2009 01:53 PM
amy said...

My favorite flavor is white with cream cheese filling, buttercream frosting and caramel drizzled all over it.

May 18, 2009 01:53 PM
Sarah said...

Those are so cute! My favorite cupcakes are some that I make at Christmas time. Chocolate-chocolate chip cupcakes with vanilla icing and a touch of peppermint extract –yum!

May 18, 2009 01:53 PM
Danielle said...

Yellow cake with chocolate buttercream. Yum!

May 18, 2009 01:53 PM
Just a Country Girl said...

I’m very plain when it comes to favorite cupcakes: vanilla cake with chocolate icing. I’d eat a lot of other flavors though! :)

May 18, 2009 01:54 PM
Michelleigh said...

S’more cupcakes… yum! Graham cracker cupcake, chocolate filling, and marshmallow frosting – delicious!

May 18, 2009 01:54 PM
Melanee said...

Chocolate with a fudge-y chocolate frosting. Mmmmmm…. chocolate.

May 18, 2009 01:55 PM
Katy said...

For cupcakes I love the traditional yellow butter cake with homemade chocolate buttercream icing.

The tower is neat! I have a glass tower and usually transport cupcakes in multiple covered rectangular trays but this is much more convenient.

May 18, 2009 01:55 PM
Janel said...

I am soo plain – give me vanilla with a vanilla buttercream and I will be happy.
jonboy_nellie AT

May 18, 2009 01:55 PM
Souprmdl said...

Carrot cake (no raisins, extra nuts) with cream cheese frosting Mmmm Mmmm Goodness!

May 18, 2009 01:55 PM
Alison said...

My favorite combo is red velvet cake and cream cheese frosing.

May 18, 2009 01:56 PM
Kellie said...

Lemon and raspberry! Yum… so refreshing!

May 18, 2009 01:56 PM
letmenatalya said...

nothing beats red velvet with cream cheese mmmm

May 18, 2009 01:56 PM
aggiemomof2 said...

Wow! That turned out beautifully! Great job!
My favorite cupcake…well, I haven’t met one I didn’t like as long as it was moist! Top it with cream cheese frosting and I’m a goner!
sylviarj at yahoo dot com

May 18, 2009 01:56 PM
Carrie said...

amazingly cute! I love vanilla with some delicious filling (like key lime pie) and a big swirl of buttercream icing, followed by a cute fondant animal of some sort on top :)

May 18, 2009 01:56 PM
Eliana said...

I’m a pretty simple girl so I really enjoy a good carrot cake with creamcheese frosting cupcake. But I also like something inspired by smores – chocolate cake, marshmallow icing with crushed graham crackers.

May 18, 2009 01:56 PM
Melissa said...

My favorite is simple – vanilla cake with chocolate icing.

May 18, 2009 01:56 PM
Trista said...

I love chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. YUMMMY!!! My mouth is watering after your post. And the cupcakes turned out so adorable. What a lucky girl.

May 18, 2009 01:57 PM
Jenay Hale said...


May 18, 2009 01:57 PM
Scarlet Lily said...

For cupcakes, I tend to prefer simple flavors – vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing! LOVE the cupcake tower!!

May 18, 2009 01:57 PM
Meg said...

Raspberry vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting. MMmmmm. So much sugar, but soooo good!

May 18, 2009 01:57 PM
Jmtabb said...

Favorite cupcake flavor – well, I live near Seattle, and am a fan of Trophy Cupcakes. And they make a green tea cupcake (with what I assume is a green tea frosting) that I just LOVE. And I can’t seem to recreate it, so I’m stuck making excuses to go to Seattle on Tuesdays to go get me one….

May 18, 2009 01:58 PM
Yancy and Joy said...

I love ALL cupcakes, but my favorite is vanilla with vanilla buttercream frosting!

May 18, 2009 01:58 PM
Anna said...

My favorite is cherry cake with vanilla buttercream. Yum!

May 18, 2009 01:58 PM
Tori said...

I’m still trying to find a good cupcake recipe. I will need to try your recipes. I love the cupcakes.

May 18, 2009 01:58 PM
Mere said...

Amazing! The amount of time on that project is worth it-looks great. Curious George: Chocolate buttermilk cupcake base topped with banana buttercream

May 18, 2009 01:58 PM
Katie said...

White cupcake with vanilla buttercream! I’m a simple girl :)

dellerbk at gmail dot com

May 18, 2009 01:58 PM
Lara said...

Cute cupcake tier! My favorite cupcake flavors are lemon cake with cream cheese vanilla frosting… simple but clean and delicious.

May 18, 2009 01:58 PM
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