Cupcake Tower of Terror

These past few weeks have been so incredibly busy with 2 destination weddings and a law school graduation (with the accompanying parties : ) thrown in for good measure. All of which has left precious little time for blogging, never mind DIY’ing! For a spectacular wedding in the clouds this past weekend,

Wedding on Pinnacle Mountain

I had volunteered to make some desserts, specifically cupcakes and mini fruit cobblers in mason jars.

Mini Cobblers in Mason Jars

(I’ll share the successful cobbler story later. Today’s blog is about the cupcakes. And the tower.) Remember those Life-Changing Cupcakes I made last year for a wedding shower?

Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Cupcakes

Well, I decided to use that recipe again, since those were such a big hit, but we had decided on two flavors for the wedding. The trouble really started with the lemon cupcakes. As I was baking the batches, one would come out OK, the next batch would collapse as soon as I took them out of the oven. As someone who has been baking since I was a kid, and having made my share of wedding cakes as well, I was baffled by this. But, I just kept baking until I had the necessary 6 dozen for the wedding guests. Those fallen lemon cupcakes were a sign…

Fallen Lemon Cupcakes

Now, everyone knows that the proper way to serve cupcakes at a wedding is to buy build a cupcake tower so that it has the appearance of a wedding cake, right? So, I did a little Pinterest research and came up with the best plans (or so I thought) for creating a strong and sturdy tower that would show off the decorated cupcakes. Here is the How-I-Did-It (but don’t you do this…)

5 stacked shelves were created, beginning with a 16 inch base and cutting them smaller in 2″ increments to the top. I purchased a package of cake rounds (these are moisture resistant cardboard that you can purchase at your local arts and crafts supply store).

Cupcake Boards and Foam Core Stacked

For added strength and support, I sandwiched a layer of foam core board that I cut to the same size for each shelf. For the supports in between, I took some old, empty, clean tin cans (OK, MISTAKE #1, they should have remained full to add extra weight to the tower), wrapped them in white craft foam cut to fit and hot glued into place

Cupcake Tower Wrapping Tin Can

(it looked like fondant, so I was quite happy with that).

Cupcake Cans Covered in Foam

But then I needed some sort of trim, so I used that foam faux wainscoting from my country cupboard makeover, cutting it along the ridges

Foam Wainscotting for Trim

and then hot gluing it into place for a nice clean edge. For a final trim, I glued purple satin ribbon around the edges.

Cupcake Tower Glueing Ribbon Trim

Once I had all the top layers ready, I stacked and hot glued as I built my tower, with the covered cans centered (MISTAKE #2-the top one was not quite centered, but once they were hot glued into place, there was no going back…) For an extra decorative touch, I cut some paper doilies

Cupcake Tower Lace Doilies

to fit around the edges and glued into place to create a lacy scalloped look.

Cupcake Tower Glueing Doilies

For the base, I used a 16″ scalloped plastic cake round on feet that is typically used for just this purpose. But, it was pretty plain, so I added the lacy doilies to that, but then also placed a scalloped, foiled cake round in the center. MISTAKE #3. Finally, I glued the entire tower to that foiled round (did I say MISTAKE #3 ?!?)

Cupcake Tower Completed

For the topper, I baked one six inch round, decorated it and then added a beautiful bouquet in shades of purple that was created by our friends at Parker Florist in Wakefield.

Parker Florist Cupcake Topper Bouquet

OK, everything was transported safely to the venue on the top of a mountain, the cupcakes tucked into these awesome boxes I picked up at Michaels (they have inserts with holes big enough to fit my fat fingers around the cakes to remove them once it was time to fill the tower.) Aren’t they so pretty!?

Cupcakes in Carrying Boxes from Michaels

Once the ceremony was performed and the delicious wedding dinner was finished, it was time to assemble the tower. So, with the help of my BFF’s,  we walked down the hill from the main house to the tent where the reception was taking place, me carrying the tower, them carrying the boxes of cupcakes (did I mention that it was raining as well?)

Wedding Venue Tent

The tower was settled down onto the designated table, which, because we were outdoors on the soggy lawn, had a bit of a tilt to it. (MISTAKE #4. NEVER ATTEMPT TO STACK A CUPCAKE TOWER ON A TILTED TABLE). I placed the floral round on the top (MISTAKE #5. DO NOT REST THE CAKE TOP ON THE TOP OF THE TOWER-IT MUST BE SECURED). As we were stacking the cupcakes on the tower, it started to wobble forward-remember, it was on a tilted table. So I decided to start stacking from the back to balance it. Reaching around behind to add more cupcakes, I accidentally hit the tower, which instantly fell forward, spilling cupcakes all over the table and ground.

Fallen Cupcakes in Grassy Box

And my shoes.

Cupcake Tower Frosting on Shoe

In an instant we went from Cupcake Wars to Cupcake Disaster. As the tower was plummeting to its grassy grave,  my dear friend Alice caught the flower topper as it was flying by, resulting in a splotch of bright purple frosting on her brand new jacket!! (Alice, please send me the dry cleaning bill : ) At one point, I attempted to put the tower back together, but if you recall MISTAKE #3, the piece that was glued to the foiled round based gave way, so there was no way to re-attach it to the base. Apparently, hot glue and foil don’t adhere well. Lesson learned.

Cupcake Holder After the Break

As we were scurrying around, attempting to save the remaining cupcakes, I was convulsed in laughter, thinking that this could have been an episode of I Love Lucy.  Turning around to see the table of guests directly behind me with their mouths agape, watching the spectacle unfolding before them,  I said “nobody saw that, right!?”, which resulted in more laughter from everyone involved. Now, if someone had been recording this, we most definitely would have won top prize on America’s Funniest Videos, which I then could have used to purchase a fabulous wooden cupcake tower like this one of these beauties on Etsy.  But, alas, I didn’t even have my camera with me until it was over! So, the remaining unharmed cupcakes were set out on the table for the guests to enjoy,

Cupcakes After the Fall

which they reportedly did. The bride graciously laughed it away and the party danced on into the night. My heartfelt congratulations to the bride and groom-hopefully this is the first and last disaster for many years to come. So, you ask, what’s my take-away from all of this? NEVER AGAIN. Don’t ask, I won’t bake them. I’m sticking to wood and paint, from this day forward. Hope you have a memorable Memorial Day, everyone! Susan

Comments

  1. What a shame!! I know how you feel though. I used to have a wedding cake business. USED TO being the operative word after a gorgeous 4 tier cake toppled while driving to the venue. I had to turn around and re-do the whole cake. It was awful. It was a mess. I salvaged it, but it didn’t look like the original at all. I was more upset than the bride and vowed that day that it was to be my last season.. Funnily enough, I’m making a cupcake tower this weekend. I’ll be sure to heed your advice!h

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    • Heather- I have to say that doing (and moving) wedding cakes (and cupcakes) were some of the most stressful moments of my life! I have vowed never to do them again because I just don’t want that kind of pressure! Fortunately, this was a rather laid-back and casual outdoor wedding, and by the time the tower fell, most of the guests had already left the tent and returned to the porch and patio where the DJ was! The rest of us had a good laugh : )

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  2. What an incredible setting! glad the bride was able to laugh off the cupcake fiasco!
    Kelly

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    • Kelly, she actually didn’t even witness the fiasco because she and the groom, along with most of the guests, had already finished dinner and returned to the patio where the DJ was playing! The people who were still there just laughed along with us : ) NEVER AGAIN!!AGGH!

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  3. Oh my gosh, I love that you were able to laugh about it and so was the bride!

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  4. funny story! Great pics!

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  5. Poor you. At least some of the cakes were salvaged. They look really cute. And thank goodness the bride was chilled about the whole thing.

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  6. Thanks for this! I just had the worst time with Pinterest and that blasted banana ice cream tutorial. Going up tomorrow, but reading a fail today made me feel better :) At least the cupcakes mostly made it through unscathed!

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    • Glad I could be of assistance : ) Its always nice to hear someone else fail once in awhile- makes me feel like I’m not in this alone! Now I am going to have to check out the banana ice cream tutorial!!

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  7. Sounds like quite the project … What a good friend you are!

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  8. Funny story. So why were the cup cakes sinking in? Did you ever figure it out?

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    • Still have no idea, but it was quite humid and warm, so I was thinking maybe that had something to do with it.
      Or, it was the second batch -I put 12 into the cupcake pan and the rest of the batter was still in the bowl until the first dozen baked. By the time the second batch went in, it had been sitting in the bowl for 20 minutes.

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  9. hollybertone says:

    Old wives tale is that 1) if it rains and/or 2) something “bad/unexpected” happens on your wedding day, you will be blessed for the remainder of your life. Soooo…. cheers to the happy couple and many blessings for many happy years ahead! Hugs, Holly

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  10. chris aka monkey says:

    oh my it is too funny and too sad all rolled together xx

    Like

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