Tutorial Tuesday: How to Make a Cupcake Tower (revisited)

Let’s make a cupcake tower like the one I used in this post!
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Alright kids, it’s another late one here at the Whitten house… trying to crank out helpful cakery tips for you guys to keep you informed.

Two things first… one you may have noticed the new TUTORIALS tab at the top of the page. Yaay! I spent a little while painstakingly placing all of the tutorial links on that page with a photo for each. Much easier to access now. Wowy, it’s like I’m getting all organized. I’m going to work on a cake gallery next, but gosh, it’s going to take some time!!

Second, you might notice this is sort of a tutorial I did before. I just have had a lot of questions since then and I wanted to do a more clear version of it. I hope this helps! Since last time I was making sort of a wacky/whimsical tower with odd shapes, I wanted to show you a more basic version.

You’ll need a few things to start with.
*Foam core boards- Somewhere between 3-5, depending on how big you want the tower to be and how many things you need to re-do ;)

*Something to trace- I used lids from some bowls that I have to trace for my tiers. If you want to make squares, you might be able to just measure them out. More power to you.

*Exacto knife -please be careful with this! Only responsible adults should use these. Have one help you if you are not one.

*hot glue gun- same concept here. I don’t want you guys slicing yourselves up and then getting hot glue on yourself and burning your precious skin! Trust me, it doesn’t feel good. Maybe I need a responsible adult helping me :/

*Measuring tape or ruler

*Ribbon- of your choice to go with your project.

**Extras- you might want paint or other decorations to put on your tower when it’s done**

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Start by tracing TWO of each circle onto your foam core and cutting them out. I’m doing two in order to make a very sturdy tower.
They’re not going to come out perfect, I know. Unless you’re some kind of precision robot, just do the best you can.
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Don’t worry. We get to cover those edges up later with the ribbon!

Next, hot glue your circle pairs together. Except for the top tier!
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We’ll deal with the top tier later.

Here’s where I don’t want to lose you. I’ll try to make this make sense… really.
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to make the center supports steps for the tiers, measure your bottom tier. You’ll want your bottom step to be that length or just short of it. That step should only be about an inch tall. The next step, should be slightly smaller across than your next tier, and should be at least 3 inches tall, since a cupcake has to sit under the next one.
The next step, should, again, be just slightly smaller than the next tier, also, 3 inches tall. Keep in mind, each tier will be sitting on their respective steps and need to be supported, but not hanging way over the steps. I truly hope this this making sense. For my top step, again, I made it 3 inches tall and then put just a tiny 1/4″ step on top of that. I’ll explain that further on.

You’ll need to cut out two of these.
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Now, you’ll want to measure and cut half way up one and half way down the other.
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You might need to tweak it a little bit to make it work, but you want them to fit into each other and sit level.
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If it’s a tad loose feeling, don’t worry, we’ll sturdy it up later.

Now the hard(sih) part is up. You’ll want to find the center of each of your rounds and mark off and cut out an “X” from each one. (except that top part, we’re getting there, don’t worry.) You’ll want to cut the “x” wide enough to fit over the frame you build. Basically, this bottom one needs to fit over that 2nd step. DO NOT get confused and cut the “X” the size of the bottom step. That’s the step it rests on! It only needs to fit over that second one. Does that make sense? Make sure you’re only cutting them to fit over what they need to fit over and rest where they need to rest.
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Now, if you’d like, you could just put the top two rounds together and cut them this way as well. With just a tiny “x” small enough for that top tiny portion of the stand to fit though. Or you can try this.
Cut one round the way you cut the last ones. The next one… try to only cut half way through.
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So that you still have a smooth uncut top portion. Glue them together so that the “x”s are lined up, of course.

Stack your tower by sliding each round over the steps, guiding the last one on top.
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Ta-da! Okay! So, now that you know it all fits together… (it all fits, right? No? Okay, well go re-do the stuff you messed up like I did the first time and then come back to this step…) let’s make this more permanent!

Start gluing things up. Put some glue in the frame and stick it together.
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Follow the lines up and down and glue those two pieces together where they connect. Fill in any gaps with glue.

Next, add glue to your steps tops and quickly slip your rounds onto them. Flip it over and glue them more on the bottom as well.
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Now it’s time to deal with those rough, ugly edges! Glue your ribbon on the outside of your rounds!
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You can use whatever ribbon you want! And before you put the whole thing together with the glue, you could decorate each tier however you want. You could cover them with cute paper, paint them, bedazzle them, etc etc! Also, while cupcakes will probably cover the rough edges on the stand itself, but you can always run ribbons over those edges as well. Be creative!!

I didn’t ACTUALLY put that ribbon on this tower. I can’t show you the final project yet either ;)
This tower is for someone and I make a point to never show finished work until the person it’s for has seen it! It’ll be worth it though. This thing is getting decked out!!

Alright, so I REALLY hope you’ve learned something today and PLEASE, ask any questions you have. I’m hoping I made this so that it makes sense! I get tons of google hits every day for my previous post, but I think this one will be much more informative for those looking for better steps!

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Cupcake Madness

Okay, some of you know where I stand on cupcakes. I’m not a fan. Of making them. (Big fan of eating them, however…) They’re time consuming and painful, literally! Have you have piped swirls on cupcakes? Hand cramps!

Anyhow, my friends know this, but they also know I can’t help myself and I love a challenge. So I was given the challenge to end all challenges… 200 cupcakes for a wedding. TWO HUNDRED.

The best part was when I realized I only owned one cupcake tin… that would have been an issue. Can you imagine me making 200 cupcakes 12 at a time? lol! Thankfully, I hit the thrift stores and found two and my wonderful mother in law let me borrow a 4th. I was all set!
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Just another day in paradise. No big.

The second best part was when I was baking and suddenly realized “Wait… Why do I have so many leftover cupcake liners..? I thought I bought 3 sleeves of 75… but I’ve only used a sleeve an maybe half… OH NO.” I only bought enough stuff to make 100 cupcakes. Fact: I am AWESOME at math. (NOT)

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Ok, so I went to the store and got the rest of the supplies lol. I had bought enough of some stuff and not enough of other stuff. Because I’m, evidently, only selectively bad at math.

Cupcake hell. Kill me.
In the end it all worked out and everything came together wonderfully. I admit to using the phrase “cupcake hell” at one point, but I can admit I was completely thrilled to see them all done and frosted.

I also made this little stand and cake to go with the set as a center piece. I used my Cricut Cake to cut out the heart and boarders!
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So… the moral of the story, I think, is do the math twice, shop once. Or… something like that.

And… buy a big piping bag, or you’ll end up cutting a hole in the powdered sugar bag and using that until it explodes.

Also, anything worth doing is worth doing right!
Oh, and I hope you’ve gotta big trunk… cuz I’m gonna put my cake in it…
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Who wants to help clean?photo

Tutorial Tuesday: How to Build a Cupcake Tower for about $5

UPDATE: I HAVE CREATED A NEW VERSION OF THIS TUTORIAL! FIND IT HERE! For better laid out instructions!

So, my friend asked me to make her son a small cake and some cupcakes for his Nightmare Before Christmas themed birthday party. We were trying to find a cool cupcake tower for the cupcakes, but gosh they are expensive and kind of hard to find. I told her not to worry about it and that I would figure it out and make something…

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I knew what I WANTED it to look like. So I started sketching.
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Then I decided to do a small scale test… I cut out small pieces from paper. Basically, you need the center base. This needs to be made of to equally shaped tiered shelves, one with a slit half way up from the bottom and one with a slit halfway down from the top.
Then you’ll need your shelves. These need to have “x”s cut in them that fit over the tiered base. Each shelf needs to have these cuts made large enough to fit over the first few tiers and then rest on their spot.
I did three tiers. I went totally whimsical so that I could put my shelves off center.
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Assembly goes something like this:
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Once I saw this small scale working well, I went full scale. I LOVE foam core board and use it all the time. It’s what I make most of my cake boards from. It’s so sturdy and easy to work with. I lightly outlined my pieces using a measuring tape to get it all right. Then I cut them out with an exacto knife.

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I was really happy with how it turned out!

I figure you could cover the pieces with contact paper, scrapbook paper or wallpaper, line the edges with ribbon etc…

I’ll tell you what I don’t suggest doing lol
Painting it… with acrylic paint. Haha. Now don’t get me wrong, this turned out pretty well, but there were some rough times in between lol. I didn’t know that when you paint something like that, when it dries, it curls up. So I painted one side, left the house a while and came back to it all curled up! Yikes! I painted the other sides and that evened them out pretty well haha.

I also doubt acrylic paint is food safe, but I’m not placing any food directly in contact with it. So it will be fine.
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My phone doesn’t photograph purple very well. Sorry about that, but yeah, it’s black and purple. These cupcakes are going to look great on it.
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But seriously, this was so easy to make. I get foam core boards at the Dollar Tree for $1 each. I used three sheets for this and I used two $1 bottles of paint. So, yeah, this cost me $5 to make! Can’t wait to fill it up with cup cakes!

You could easily make one of these with simple circle shelves, crazy star shelves, whatever really! So simple that I can’t believe I never tried this before!

I have been asked a LOT of questions. I decided to try to make an illustration that MIGHT be helpful. God knows I’m not architect. Hopefully ANY of this makes sense. Try to make each step at least 3 inches tall to leave room for the cupcakes!!
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Tutorial Tuesday: How to buy the perfect boxes

When you make your delicious confections, it’s great to be able to take them places to share with others!
Some times it’s hard to find the perfect boxes for your items though.

If you’re in a rush and making a normal sized cake or a batch of cupcakes you’re not taking far, you can get basic boxes at places like Michael’s, Jo-Ann Fabric or the Hobby Lobby. You can even pick them up at Wal-Mart and I’ve seen them in some Meijer’s stores.

These are going to be your basic white kraft style cake boxes and are good when you’re in a hurry. They’ll run anywhere from $.99 to about $4.00 a piece depending on size and style.

If you have some time and are looking for something more specific, you can order online. This is what I did.
I wanted eco friendly boxes in bulk. I found a great website called the Big River Packing Box Shop!
They have a great selection of eco friendly boxes in bulk. And they offer free shipping.

I spent about $50 for 100 eco friendly cake boxes and I love them. And at about $0.50 a box, I’m doing better than I was at the craft stores and I don’t need to run out to the store every weekend for a special trip for one box!
Now, if you’re not sure what you want, for $10, they will send you a sample of ANY 5 boxes they make! It’s a great program and worth looking into! ANY five boxes, from their single cupcake boxes to their large sheet cake boxes. It’s pretty cool. They’ve recently even included their foil covered cake boards into this deal.

If you’re looking for a place that offered smaller batches (or larger batches) Sugar Craft offers cake boxes in quantities as small as 3 or 6 boxes or as large as 250. These are your basic Kraft boxes, the same ones you’d pay tons more for at the craft stores.

When I find something I like I’m a big fan of google’s price matching service. Froogle.com.
A quick search for “10×10 Kraft Cake Box” and Google searches the web for the best prices out there!

For cupcake boxes, I’ve looked and I don’t think you’ll find a better variety or price than at the BRPBox shop.

These inserts keep your cupcakes right in their places! No mess, no fuss!

They sell these boxes and inserts in like a million colors and sizes. It’s pretty awesome.
They even make them for mini cupcakes!

I’d bet these could even be used for truffles. I think I’m going to order some samples when I have a few extra bucks and try these out!

I hope you all have a lovely week and I hope I’ve answered all your cake box related questions! Feel free to suggest your favorite stores or sites!

Tutorial Tuesday: Striped Cupcakes

A slight variation on the zebra cake. Since they’re so small, they might not be all that stripy, but could at least be considered a cool marble! Results may vary haha.

I started with a chocolate batter and a yellow batter. I used teaspoons. I think the secret here is super small layers. Keep building layers like with the cake. Don’t spread with the spoon and try to get each teaspoon in the center of the last.
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Fill them about 3/4 of the way full and bake them according to regular baking directions.
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BAM… striped cup cakes…
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They’ll all look different, obviously, but some may end up more stripy than others! Happy nomming!

Look Whooo’s Having a Baby!

I got a call from my friend Crystal. She told me that her sister was going to have a baby and that she was going to need a cake for the shower. She sent me a text saying the cake theme was going to be aquatic. All sorts of fish, turtles, squid, octopus, corral etc.
I was stoked… I mean… I LOVE aquatic things!
I have a full sleeve dedicated to sea turtles!
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I went over to discuss the cake with the rest of the family and how surprised was I to learn the theme was not in fact going to be sea life… it was going to be OWLS.

I was actually totally stoked on this. Who doesn’t like owls?? They’re so cute and so hip right now. I love that retro is so in right now. I’ve actually been wanting to do an owl cake for a while, so this was just great.

I was asked to use green, brown, blue and orange as the colors for the cake. She’s having a boy, so I made the little owl blue and green.

One of the sisters asked if I could make cupcakes. I told her that I don’t really make cupcakes… they’re just not my thing. They’re tiny and time consuming. I like making BIG things lol.
But when she told me she was hoping for a dozen cupcakes with tiny green owls, I couldn’t resist.

I set to work on the owls first thing.
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Once I put the eyes on these owls… my heart just melted. They were SO cute.

For the cake, I pushed together two quarter sheet cakes so they could have two flavors. I covered everything in a thick coat of buttercream and then rolled out blue fondant to cover it. I cut the shape of a tree branch out of fondant and laid it on top of the cake. I used a food color marker to draw the wood grain on. I thought it would pop well with all the bold details.

As soon as the owls were on, I was totally thrilled. It could be my cutest creation ever.

Owl Cake and Cupcakes

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I put the cupcakes in one of my little brown bakery boxes and decided there needed to be one more. I iced up one of the extras and made some little leaves to put on it. It all turned out just adorable.
Owl Cupcakes

One of the best parts was when I showed up with the cake and the blue on the cake matched EXACTLY to the cups, plates and napkins that I hadn’t even seen yet!
The mom-to-be was super thrilled and I got lots of hugs.

And all this owl talk got me excited, so here’s some great owl stuff I found on ETSY!

Like this adorable owl case by seller OhMyCake!

Owl iPhone / iTouch / iPod / Card Case

I’m also swoony in love with these wall decals by seller surfaceinspired.

Wall Decals

And who wouldn’t squee over this pillow by karensagez???? There are little owls ON THE OWL!

Owl Pillow

Happy Birthday Hef!

My friend Hef just turned 23! Happy birthday babe!

I made her these ice cream cone cupcakes. So darn cute!

Ice cream cone cupcakes

I even rode my bike to the bar with them on my basket!
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What’s not to love here???
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