We were asked to help out with the cupcakes and cake topper for their wedding. You can tell we're good friends because Diana wanted a cupcake tower instead of the traditional tiered wedding cakes. Not only that, but Kurt was pretty adamant that we could blog (see? good friends know we would love to blog) about this because it would be our first big cupcake project. So we planned for this months in advance. We looked at designs, we discussed colour co-ordinations, and ordered materials online.
We all agreed that something simple showing off the colours of the wedding - red, black, and white - would be best. Howard and I made the monogrammed fondant hearts that would top the cupcakes. We had a rolling pin, a Silpat, a heart-shaped cookie cutter, and alphabet stamps. We churned these out pretty quick on a Sunday and left them out to dry. We had icing sugar dusted on top of parchment paper for the hearts to lay on. We didn't want them to stick together and we wanted them to be stiff enough to stand upright on the buttercream.
If you're also going the D.I.Y. route, we recommend having your fondant decorations made at least 1-2 weeks in advance (just in case some need a re-do, you'll have time). They don't go bad as long as you store them in a cool, dry area. Don't seal them in airtight containers if you want them to harden.
Diana, bless her, baked all the chocolate cupcakes. Comparing ovens, their's was much bigger than ours and would be able to do larger batches at once. On the day before their wedding rehearsal, Diana had all 200 cupcakes cooled and ready for us.
They would still have to be made in small batches since a home oven can only fit so much, but another way to save time is to use cake mix. We loved that Diana and Kurt were all about D.I.Y., and sometimes, you just have to pick the easier route!
Here we are at almost half point! Howard was in charge of dusting the extra icing sugar off the fondant hearts. I was in charge of making batches of vanilla buttercream and swirling.
Oy how my arm ached after all that piping!
We love how they look all aligned!
Wedding cupcake army!
To transport the cupcakes, Kurt and Diana bought bakery boxes. They each have inserts to hold 24 cupcakes. This made them easy to carry and place in the car.
In order to have a cake cutting photo, we also made a 7 x 7 inch cake to go on the top of the cupcake tower. This was a baked from scratch cake (small indulgences are nice), vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream (groom's favourite flavours).
We covered it in fondant and the decorations are also made from fondant. We kept the colours to the theme of the wedding and used yellow stamens for an extra pop.
I think transporting the cake was the toughest thing we did. The cake board was the same size as the cake, so there was no leeway at all. If the cake slid to the side of the carrier, we were done for! Luckily, the cake was quite heavy (circulation in my legs were nearly cut off during the car ride to the banquet hall) and didn't move a bit.
Here we are! Kurt, Diana, and some members of the wedding party did a great job setting up the night before.
Now, this was our turf. Diana's father made the cupcake stand from scratch! Pretty amazing right? It was a wooden stand, painted white, and Diana bought red ribbon to wrap each tier with.
Sigh! We really liked how there was a spotlight on the cakes in front of the head table. Gave it a really nice glow!
Pretty no? The colours worked really well together to feature red, black, and white. Black cupcake liners, chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream, and red fondant hearts.
The question that comes to mind now is... would we do this again? Granted, we had tremendous help from the bride and groom this time. On our own, with our tinier oven and smaller space, it could have been very frustrating. Let's just say, we're very grateful for this experience. Thank you KD for giving us the opportunity!
The next question that comes to mind... would we do this for our own wedding (if or when Howard does propose)? I don't know! I love the idea of baking for our guests, so I'm leaning towards yes. But it does take a lot of time and a lot of energy. Howard and I were tired when we finished the cupcakes and the cake. So maybe we wouldn't make as many as 200 cupcakes! This experience made us truly appreciate the skills of bakers who make large beautiful wedding cakes on a daily basis!
Here are our tips for those who are thinking of doing this:
- PLAN ahead. Look for sales on cake and frosting ingredients.
- Pick a simple design if you're doing large quantities.
- Make things in advance if possible (fondant decorations and even certain cakes can be stored in freezers).
- If possible, make extras - you never know what might happen! It's good to have extra backups on hand.
- Ask friends and families to help - it's not a problem and most people are happy to!