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Cupcakes are all the rage, even Martha Stewart agrees! Using cupcakes as an alternative to the traditional large, tiered wedding cake is not only chic and trendy, it's also great for your budget. Add to that the fact that the cupcake wedding cake is doable for even the most novice baker, with the added benefit that the cupcakes can be made and frozen ahead of time, the cupcake wedding cake is a sensible and creative choice. Here is how to prepare your own cupcake wedding cake.
- Determine the number of guests. It is very important not to underestimate this part; while not everyone will want a piece of traditional wedding cake, almost everyone will want a cupcake!
- Do you want enough for guests to have one (or more) cupcakes at the wedding and one to take home?
- Do you want a mini cake at the very top of the cupcake wedding cake? Some people like this as an added design feature for the bride and groom to keep after the wedding.
- Plan the cupcake decoration. From a simple buttercream frosting to edible petals to inexpensive cupcake caps, you have lots of options. Do you want intricate designs on some of the cupcakes only, or on all? Do you want to mix and match designs? Think about the various possibilities. Some decorative designs to consider include:
- Unique toppers that are just for the bride and groom.
- A beloved symbol representing the bride and groom, such as doves, swans, or flowers.
- Hearts and initials.
- Floral designs.
- Real flowers atop the frosting. (Be sure to use non-toxic flowers.)
- Garden wedding designs.
- A fondant bow.
- A fun photo of the bride and groom attached with a toothpick.
- Choose a tiered stand or an equivalent arrangement. There are lots of stands currently available, or you can simply choose to arrange the cupcake display as works best for you.
- If using a stand, decide whether you want to buy or rent. If the cost is reasonable, consider purchasing it as you can use the stand again and again for tea parties, etc. Stands come in ceramic, plastic, acrylic, metal, etc.
- Consider a round tier.
- Consider a square tier.
- Consider an "in the round" - a combination of using both stands and a round covered table for a larger wedding party.
- Set your schedule. It is important to work out who will be responsible for preparing the cupcakes. Even if you are doing this yourself, only the cupcake itself can be frozen ahead; the decorations must be done very close to the wedding time -- is that something you are prepared to do at the last minute?
- Consider whether it might be less stressful to have a family member(s) or friend(s) do it for you. You can sit down with the people responsible for preparing the cupcake wedding cake and talk them through the decorating, even show them what you want and provide photos of a test run. (Make a little photo instruction book that they can keep and follow.)
- If you are going to do the baking, cupcakes freeze well (before decoration) and can be made a month out.
- Bake your cupcakes. Choose a cupcake recipe that you love and prepare it in advance of the wedding. Freeze if necessary. Some ideas for suitable wedding cupcakes include:
- Choose the frosting (icing) flavor and texture to decorate the cupcakes. Cupcake frosting can be made in almost any flavor imaginable: vanilla, chocolate, banana, etc. Match the flavor with the cupcake.
- Arrange transportation for the cupcakes and stand. More good news - cupcakes are much easier to transport than a wedding cake.
- New, clean plastic sweater boxes/tubs are great for transporting, and they can usually hold about 40 cupcakes. These cost about US$5.
- Decide whether or not you want the cupcakes wrapped in paper, as shown in this image. This can protect the cupcakes while still appearing pretty but it does change the appearance considerably.
- Assemble the cupcake wedding cake at the venue. Once the cupcakes arrive, have someone arrange them in the correct order if you are not doing this yourself.
- Provide clear instructions. This is where your precise instructions are very important, down to the last ribbon and floral piece! Use a photo book taken when you rehearsed the design to help those doing the decorating to get it right.
- Consider well in advance whether you want flowers, lace, ribbon, figurines, signs, photos, etc., to form part of the overall wedding cake set up.
- Don't forget to include some silver slides or tongs to help people take the cupcakes without touching the stand or bumping their hands against other cupcakes.
- Provide the opportunity for guests to take their cupcake(s) home. If you have made enough cupcakes to allow guests to take one home, provide a carry container.
- 3" x 3" x 3" (7.5 cm x 7.5 cm x 7.5 cm) gift boxes make your beautiful wedding cupcakes into a take home treat.
- At US$1 to $3 each, cupcakes are a great alternative to wedding cakes from US$4 and up per serving.
- If you're creative, stands can be built by making circles or squares of Styrofoam, covered with aluminum foil and hot gluing around with ribbon. Use thick Styrofoam pillars to hold up the tier.
Things You'll Need
- Cupcakes (see suggested recipes in steps)
- Cupcake holders/papers
- Frosting and edible coloring
- Decorative elements (fondant, molded chocolates, flowers, etc.)
- Stand, ribbon, decorations
- Favor boxes (if relevant)
- How to Lower Wedding Cake Price
- How to Save Money on Your Wedding Ceremony and Reception
- How to Make Sand Castle Beach Theme Wedding Cake
- How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Cake and Wedding Cake Topper
- How to Design a Wedding Cake on a Budget
Sources and Citations
- Cupcake Caps Information, http://www.cupcakecaps.com/weddings.html -- research source
- Gift Box Information, http://www.uline.com/Browse_Listing_5602.asp?desc=Gift+Boxes -- research source
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