Before you go calling me certifiably insane, let me explain one thing: I am a stress baker. To-do list getting out of control? I make cinnamon rolls. Feeling anxious over a big deadline? Time to bake cookies. Lots of cookies. It’s how I deal with my stress. (Lucky for us, Taylor is a stress cleaner. So when we both get stressed we end up with blueberry pie and a spotless toilet. Pretty good deal, I’d say!). Anyway, I figured, the day before my wedding, I’m probably going to be pretty darn stressed. Sounds like a perfect time to spend the. entire. day. baking.
To clarify, we baked these babies, all 300+ of them, the day before the wedding. The ovens went on at 8 in the morning, and didn’t turn off until 4:30 that afternoon. I debated back and forth over whether I should do more in advance. Like make all the cupcakes over the course of the week and freeze them. But freshness is far too important to me. I was able to do a few things in advance, like making the strawberry jam for the lemon cupcakes, and cut and shape all the marzipan toppers. But the rest of it, all the batter, baking, frosting and decorating, was done on Friday.
How DID we do it, exactly? I’ve had many people ask me just that. I’ve even heard from a few who are as crazy as I am and planning on baking their own wedding cupcakes, wondering how I dealt with things like storage. So I’m going to share my secrets, or, not so much secrets as things I learned by messing up a few times first. Hopefully you can make the most of my mistakes and experiments, save yourself some time. :)
Lesson #1: Get help. Good help. But not too much help (you know that phrase too many cooks in the kitchen? they mean it). I was lucky enough to have a fabulous team of assistants, without whom, well, I’d probably still be baking. A huge thank you to Mom, Grandma, Aunt Lynn, Uncle Mike, and Auntie Sal for all their help. And everyone else who stopped by periodically throughout the day to perform, ahem, “quality control.” Lucky for them we had a few rejects to give away otherwise they might have been disappointed.
Lesson #2: Dress appropriately. We had an unfortunate ‘incident’ involving a bit too much pressure built up in the cocoa powder container. And, well… you can guess what happened next.
Cocoa explosion. Mike proudly wore his chocolately “badge of honor” for the rest of the day.
Lesson #3: Shop in bulk. Have you ever wondered who on earth buys those massive bags of powdered sugar at Costco? Turns out, we do.
That’s 50 pounds right there. And we used most of it. Plus 8 pounds of butter, 12 pounds of flour, 14 cans of coconut milk, and, well, you get the point. It was quite the mathematical headache to try and figure out just HOW MUCH of everything we were really going to need (thank you 6th grade math!). We only ran out of flour and almond extract, but luckily had plenty of willing volunteers to run into town and replenish our stock throughout the day.
Lesson #4: Cupcake storage. This was probably our biggest issue of all. I mean, how/where/what do you use to store 300 cupcakes?
Our first dilemma was whether or not the cupcakes should be stored in airtight containers. As it is extremely dry in Colorado (think, like, -10% humidity), we didn’t want the one day layover to completely suck all moisture out of our cupcakes. Anyone who has had a dry cupcake knows why.
However, a quick test solved that problem for us:
The cupcake on the left was stored in an airtight container. The cupcake on the right was not. While the frosting and cake stayed delectably moist, the unfortunate decoration didn’t fare so well.
On to plan B. We needed something large. Something contained so no dust or critters (or sneaky dads) could break into them during the night. Contained but yet not airtight. We needed something we could stack, and something that would hold the cupcakes securely.
Bakery boxes turned out to be the perfect solution. We found a handful of sheet cake boxes that came with cupcake inserts, perfect for holding two dozen cupcakes securely in place. Voila! The box was just enough to keep the cupcakes moist, but not airtight so the decorations stayed perky. We filled 15 of these buggers full of cupcakes.
Another important aspect of this whole thing was the stand. Ever since I decided to bake my own cupcakes for the wedding (meaning, since the day we got engaged), I’d been scouring the net for the perfect cupcake stand. My criteria? Big enough to hold a lot. Simple. Elegant. Sturdy. Affordable. Not too much to ask, right? Apparently it was, as I couldn’t find a single stand that I loved. I found a few good ones, but they cost a few hundred dollars. I found plenty of cheap plastic ones and ones with frilly borders, and even a few flimsy looking cardboard ones. Not even close.
Lucky for me I have a pretty talented Dad. He did, after all, build half our house, so I figured he could handle a cupcake stand.
I purchased some masonite cake boards for each layer in 6 different diameters. Then Dad assembled it – using a single metal pole (or pipe or rebar or something) through the middle of each round, and a 4″ length of white pvc pipe to separate each layer. All affixed to the top of a lazy suzan (look! it spins!). With a fresh coat of white spray paint, and a dainty turquoise ribbon trim around the edges, we had ourselves the perfect cupcake stand. All for less than $60.
The cupcakes in the images look so delicious, thanks for sharing this amazing post. You are doing great and good luck for more wonderful work in the future.
Hi, Love everything that you shared. HI-five to the team work. Could it be possible to get the dimensions of the cupcake tier?
I have been looking everywhere for a cupcake stand for my daughter’s wedding. We need one with a capacity for about 200 cupcakes. I am so grateful for your beautiful idea. My only question is: What size lazy susan base did you use? I love the idea of having it turn! Thank you!
Please, can you tell me where you got your cupcake boxes? I’ve found some with plastic windows, but these look like they would stack more securely. THANX! Suzee Boyd
This is amazing. How many cupcakes did one assembled stand hold?
where did you get the round boards from? Love this post! I need help with ideas for my own wedding because I am running into the same problem! Thanks!
Hello , my name is Guadalupe dunson my son is getting married and I would like to make my own cake stand for thier wedding I’ll be making thier cup cakes and cake and I came a cross your pin.. love the cup cake stand .I was wondering if possible can tell me the size of the round circle and size of the pvc pipe .step by step instructions if possible .thank you.
I love the cupcake stand as is. How thick is the PVC pipe or tube? Also what is the thickness of the Masonite you used, 1/4 or 3/16?
I just want to say first off I love you cupcake cake! Also I want to say I’m having that problem too I live in Colorado and I can’t find a reasonable or sturdy enough cupcake stand!! Unfortunately I don’t have a handy dad or a dad so I was wondering if there is anyway I can buy one exactly like this from you please?? It would make my day so much more easy and I wouldn’t have to worry about my cupcakes falling over! If you could please help out with this I would pay your dad extra for his time thank you
I love these cupcakes! The cupcake display stand is an awesome creation. Although I realize she made this stand to match her beautiful wedding colors, I would not add the colored ribbon. I would paint it all white so that I could use it multiple times with a variety of colors; and for easy clean up. I too, would LOVE to have the exact measurements, but they have been omitted. Therefore, I took it upon myself to “guesstimate” the measurements. I measured across the 4″ PVC pipe to get an exact measurement (that she gave) and used this to measure across all 6 tiers. They are approximately 12, 16, 22, 28, 32, and 38 inches across the whole circles. You will need 5 pieces of PVC pipe cut at 6 1/2 inches tall. Something to think about…Ask yourself how tall will my cupcake toppers be? There are lots of themed or monogrammed cupcake toppers made of paper and a toothpick, etc., so you may want to make your PVC pipe just a little taller/longer to accommodate for this. Okay, now I have the measurements, but I have no idea how many cupcakes this thing will hold total. :) I would use a smooth metal rod that is threaded on the inside, along with 2 washers, and 2 screws to assemble the inside of the PVC pipe. Starting on bottom, screw, washer, (screw the screw into the bottom of the threaded rod), bottom 38″round piece of cake board Masonite. NOTE: cut center hole in Masonite just big enough to insert threaded rod. Make it snug to stabilize it. Next, a piece of PVC pipe, (these hold each tier in place). Alternate Masonite and PVC pipe until you get to the top Masonite tier, then add washer and screw. No cupcakes go on the top, you will need to add decoration or a small round cake to cover up the screw. You will have to do the math to figure out how long to make your threaded rod. Masonite comes in 1/4 inch or 3/16 inch. So figure the thickness of your Masonite and PVC pipe. The beauty of this is, you can have several threaded rods cut so that if you only need say 3 tiers, you can do that! I love this!
I am building a cupcake stand for my daughters wedding! Could you please share measurements please! What are the sizes of your Masonite circles (I’m cutting my own) and the height to cut the PVC pipe? This will save me a whole lite of math! I am planning on making around 450 cupcake and will layer some around the stand on the table. Thank you for your assistance!
I took a cup cake order for a friend’s wedding. 600 cup cakes. Your article is really inspiring. I think i can do this after reading it. I’ve never done huge orders. Can you tell me a strategy? when should i start? if i start early do i have to freez the cup cakes?
Waiting for your reply
Besides the diameters of your boards, I would also like to know approximately how many cupcakes your display held, please?
So I am coming down to the nuts and bolts for my wedding and I really love your cupcake tower. I just don’t want to try to figure out the diameters of your circles … can you help me out? Thanks so much for a quick response!
U have done a wonderful job. I am getting married next year and I feel that will be a great idea for to make my own cupcakes. That would save us a lot of money and besides, we are on a budget anyway. So u really did it and hope u can add a recipe for just vanilla cupcakes. Thanks and be bless.
Wonderful job! Where did you buy the sheet cake boxes from? I like them and I’m a baker that caters for weddings.
Where were you able to find masonite cake boards?
I’m not sure if you still check this post but I was wondering if you could give any insight on the diameter of the boards and how he managed to get the boards to be separated, nails/glue/ etc. I am making cupcakes for a wedding and would love to make one of these instead of buying one!
Where did you find the cute candy hearts for decorating the cupcakes? We’d love to do something similar for an upcoming wedding and I haven’t been able to find blue hearts anywhere.
We actually made them – by rolling out colored marzipan and cutting the heart shapes out of that. Fondant would work too. :) Then you can make it whatever color you want!
love your bolg!
Could you tell me what dimensions you used for your cupcake stand? How many cupcakes did it hold? I love it!!
Just wanted to let you know that your recipes were the inspiration for my own cupcake marathon this past weekend! Although…I admit I completely took a shortcut and used box cake mixes as a base. :) (Didn’t think we could do 600 from scratch in one day!)
So I feel like I now have a glimpse into what this weekend must have been like for you! So much fun, but so much work…I can’t believe this was your wedding weekend, too!! Definitely impressed. :)
Anyway, just wanted to drop you a note and say thanks for the inspiration! Cheers to cupcakes!!
I know I am doing a cupcake cake for my sister’s baby shower and for 100 cupcakes we got a qoute for $255, so I would say you saved about $400 by doing them your self!
You really did an amazing job ! Maybe one day I’ll do the same for my wedding… In the meantime, I think I’m going to make a few cupcake stands (always usefull) !
Wow! The day before my wedding (and the day of), my love and I were rushing through the middle half of the US because our van broke down in Boise on Monday and the wedding was in Ohio on Thursday night…
Your day-before looks like a far more pleasant way to spend the day.
I can’t believe you made all the cupcakes, they are beautiful. The pictures are stunning! Congratulations.
so impressive. congratulations.
What a great post and what an ever greater story! I feel almost like if I wanted to thank your family for the support myselve! :-))) Oh, and… Congratulations!! :-)
Wow – that’s a lot of cupcakes! They came out beautifully. I’m very impressed!
Glad to see that the cupcakes went well, but come on, enough about the cupcakes. We’ve been talking about this now for a month!
Did we save money? Probably. I never actually priced any cupcake cakes or wedding cakes, so I can’t say.
Overall, our ingredients probably cost $300. With materials for the stand, decorating supplies, etc., maybe total $400? How much does a wedding cake for 150 go for these days?
Of course that doesn’t take into account the sheer number of man-hours put in to making it all…
WOW! That’s amazing and CRAZY! I think it turned out BEAUTIFUL!
As one of the official “tasters”, I must say they were delicious!!!!! I spent most of my time helping the groom fine tune the recipe for 150 grapefruit mojitos, but I had to come into the kitchen just enough to get a few samples. Not only were they delicious, but they were beautiful! Thanks Lindsay for putting on such a terrific wedding.
They look wonderful!! Just wondering…how much do you think you saved by making them on your own?
These came out so beautifully – and the photographer did great job as well. I just found this blog looking for ice cream recipes, as I am also in nash your humidity humor hooked me. Well done
Gorgeous! They look so lovely!
Congratulations to you, and everyone who helped you out! You all did a fabulous job!
You’re my hero! These are just so lovely. What a special memory to add to such a monumental celebration.
Lindsay forgot to mention that at 4PM a surprise “Unique Utensil Shower” occurred. Luckily the baking had gone smoothly and only a few more cupcakes needed to be frosted as the guests walked down the hill to surprise Lindsay. The small but unique utensils were opened and Lindsay had to guess the intended use of each, making up her own use when puzzled! The rain, which had continued all day during the baking actually stopped for 2 hours so the shower guests could sit outside on the deck, have appetizers and libations to celebrate the end of a successful bake a thon, and THE END OF THE RAIN, prior to the most perfect sunny wedding day. It was a perfect day!
I’m just thrilled with your cake! I really loved it, it’s inspiring!
I have one big doubt: I dont know if you have it in there, but here in Brazil we have a pretty important moment in Wedding: “The cut of the cake” moment. How do you manage it? :-)
Congratulations, by the way!
Kudos and a pat on the back. Congratulations!;)
Wow! Thats amazing! I’m glad it was a fun experience for you all. Congrats! That is a great cake stand, very similar to the one my husband made for me but it looks a lot sturdier! We’ll probably modify mine to make the middle wider for more support…
Wow! That was alot of work but they sure are gorgeous!
Thanks for all the detailed notes on what worked and what didn’t…the colors were the best!
I love your blog and I just can’t imagine all the work you did! My mom and grandma made 1,000 meatballs the day before my parents’ wedding…but, that’s nothing compared to CUPCAKES! Have a wonderful wedding day! :)
You Dad needs to market that cupcake display masterpiece.
Colorado and humidity. What would we do with it being this close to the sun? Anything above 30% feels like—-rain!
I think it’s AMAZING that you did all this! Great job!! They look amazing, and I’m sure they taste amazing too!