A birthday cupcake tower

by April@MyFoodTrail on October 27, 2009

in Celebrations

On the weekend, it was my dear nephew J’s first birthday party. My sister in law reads my food blog and has been the recipient of a few of my baked goodies, so she asked if I was interested in making cupcakes for J’s birthday. I happily agreed to until she told me that there were about 50 adults and 20 kids attending! Panic set in at having to make so many cupcakes, and hubby thought I was crazy, but I saw it as a challenge!

The first step was to choose the flavours. As I had so many cupcakes to make, I decided on only having two flavours – vanilla and cookies & cream. I also had to choose the type of cupcake papers to use. They had to be appropriate for the occasion and as well as match with each other. I got my cupcake papers from Cake Deco in the city – they have a huge range of cake supplies.

There was also the problem of how I was going to transport all the cupcakes. Lucky I had previously bought a Cupcake Courier which holds up to 36 cupcakes. I had to purchase another 24 cupcake carrier from Costco, which was $17.99. I have also seen them sold at House for $29.99 in case you don’t have a Costco membership. The 24 mini cupcakes fit in a square container.

Another issue was how to display such a large number of cupcakes. I did a Google search and found Tracey’s Cake Stands who hires out cupcake stands for a reasonable price without having to purchase cupcakes too. The only thing is that they are all the way out in Somerville (in between Frankston and Mornington).

I had to have the cupcakes ready by 12pm on Saturday, so on Friday night after work, I set about baking the cupcakes. I underestimated the time I needed to make and bake 60 cupcakes (5 x 12) and 24 mini ones (so basically 6 batches). Part of the reason is because I have a hand held mixer which can only mix one 12 cupcake batch at a time and a small oven which I trust which can only bake the 12 cupcakes at a time! I do have a bigger 90cm oven, but I don’t use it very often and my cupcakes always come out looking like volcanos. My smaller convection oven always produces flat top cupcakes.

I ended up staying up til 2am baking – I really have to get a stand mixer and work out how to get flat top cupcakes in my 90cm oven before I agree to make so many cupcakes again! I had to wait until all the cupcakes cooled, then store them in an airtight container ready to be iced the next morning.

I used a vanilla buttercream icing for the vanilla cupcakes and piped them on with a large star tip (Wilton 1M). I melted milk chocolate to pipe out the number “1” on baking paper, then put them in the fridge to harden before putting them on top of the vanilla cupcakes.

The cookies & cream cupcakes were chocolate flavoured and had half an Oreo at the bottom. I made a vanilla buttercream icing, then added in crushed Oreo cookies until I was happy with colour of the cookies & cream icing. I used a plain large round tip to pipe on the icing, then sprinkled more crushed Oreo crumbs over the top.

The mini cupcakes were basically the same, half vanilla, half cookies & cream, but topped with an M&M.

I was very pleased with the icing results since it was my first time piping icing in these swirls! I was proud of my achievement considering I only started baking about 6 months ago! It felt very rewarding to get all the awesome compliments from the people at the party about my cupcakes!

Over & Out, Rilsta xx

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

ms s loveridge October 27, 2009 at 4:50 pm

wow!!!! impressive… 🙂 it's very very very veryyy cute and i can imagine they must be very yummy too! 🙂 lucky nephew. and a challenge well taken, Rislta. 😉


OohLookBel October 27, 2009 at 5:30 pm

This looks amazing, you obviously went to so much trouble to make it! Love that there are different cupcake flavours to suit all tastes, and the swirly icing is first class.


penny aka jeroxie October 27, 2009 at 5:44 pm

How pretty! Really good effort. I love the mini ones. So cute and I am sure many happy and big grins on the day.


Cherry Blossom Cupcakes October 27, 2009 at 6:25 pm

These are just gorgeous! Awesome job.


Sarah October 27, 2009 at 7:56 pm

wowww good job! those look so yummy and the icing job looks great!


Iron Chef Shellie October 27, 2009 at 8:04 pm

EPIC cupcake job!!

Gorgeous photos too.
I bet you won't be doing another one in a hurry though 😛


A cupcake or two October 27, 2009 at 8:54 pm

The cupcakes look so good. You just cant go wrong with Cookies and Cream Icing. Yum


Vee - A Melbourne Munchkin. October 27, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Those are gorgeous! I am SO impressed – I find piping so difficult! And baking too for that matter…


Adrian @ Food Rehab October 27, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Oh my! Huge props goes out to ya for making these babies. The vanilla buttercream icing looks great.

My hilarious colleague ms lee said she met up with you recently. I think at this party? LOL Such a small world huh.


Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 27, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Amazing work!! So professional, love those piped "1"s! Your piping skills could take mine out the back and beat them up really badly 😉


Joy October 28, 2009 at 3:39 am

Wow! You sure worked hard on this and the result is OUTSTANDING! I wish I could eat the cookies and cream….they look delicious. Bravo!!


Maria@TheGourmetChallenge October 28, 2009 at 10:45 am

Great work!! Fantastic flavour selection too! Can't go wrong with cookies and cream. I've done the stay up til the wee hours of the morning baking, you start to go a little crazy and wonder if what you're making is actually going to taste any good! Love the stand too!

Hey quick question, with your larger oven do you bake in the middle of the oven one tray at a time? I find that if I do that, and decrease the temperature of the oven 10-15 degrees my cupcakes turn out better. It also depends greatly on your cake batter, a sponge will generally have a dome because of the cake texture. Mud's are usually flat because they have less rising agent. If I want my frosting to be the star, I just half fill my cupcake liners for the dome is always below the top of the liner, then I pipe a mountain of frosting….hmmmm…frosting. I hope this helps!

Must say though, for only 6 months baking experience, you've become a real pro with results to match!!


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella October 28, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Wow, you deserve a standing ovation for that tower! It looks amazing! 😮 Love the variety of flavours too 🙂


Ange October 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm

The cakes are amazing! I too made some birthday cupcakes on the weekend though on nowhere near as grand a scale!


Rilsta October 28, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Hi ms s loveridge: Thanks for your kind comments! 🙂

Hi Belle: Thanks! I'm glad the icing turned out or else I would have been in big trouble!

Hi Penny: Thanks! Many adults went for the mini ones when they were meant for the kids!!

Hi Cherry Blossom Cupcakes: Thanks! Though I think your ones look better!

Hi Sarah: Thanks so much!

Hi Iron Chef Shellie: I need to get me a stand mixer before I attempt so many cupcakes again!

Hi A Cupcake or two: Thanks!!

Hi Vee: Thanks so much! I think good piping is all about the right consistency of the icing!

Hi Adrian: Thanks! LOL, I know, what a small world!!

Hi Conor: Thanks! Hehe, but I think your decorations would come to the rescue and beat up my icing!

Hi Joy: Thank you so much!

Hi Maria: Thanks for the advice & your kind comments! I find it wasteful to turn on my huge oven to cook one tray of cupcakes which is why I normally use my smaller oven. I'll try decreasing the temperature more next time.

Hi Lorraine: Aww, thank you! 🙂

Hi Ange: Thanks! Making birthday cakes is hard work but so rewarding when everyone enjoys them!


tracey October 29, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Hi Rilsta
Tracey here with the cupcake stand hire. Can you please forward me some of the pictures of the stand set up for my website. Julie said to contact you through your blog to get these. Your cakes look amazing and I love the idea of the minis on top for the kids. The whole set up looks fantastic. Thanks for mentioning my stand hire as well much appreciated.



Rilsta October 30, 2009 at 11:39 am

Hi Tracey: Thanks for your comment! I'll send you an email.


Ellie October 30, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Wow! Such an impressive masterpiece!


Agnes October 30, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Oh my gosh, well done! What a cupcake baking marathon. They look fantastic.


CCWai October 31, 2009 at 3:32 am

Wow! They look really good and yummy!
Nice job.


Linda@eatshowandtell October 31, 2009 at 2:39 pm

OMG I can't believe you made all those cupcakes. What a beautiful stand.. and wow the varieties!


Rilsta November 2, 2009 at 9:49 am

Hi Ellie: Thank you! 🙂

Hi Agnes: It was a cupcake baking marathon! Thanks!

Hi CCWai: Thanks!! They did taste yummy!

Hi Linda: Thank you! 🙂 I kinda still can't believe I made so many too!


BT @ Twinpalates November 4, 2009 at 12:57 pm

sounds like it was very labour intensive and not logistically ideal. Congrats for pushing through and producing a fantastic result!! Well done also on your first catered gig, can I hire you sometime?


Rilsta November 5, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Hi BT: Haha, it wasn't a catering gig! It was a labour of love!! 🙂


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