I bake and deliver a lot of cupcakes. It’s what I started doing when I first set up my home bakery Cuppies ‘n’ Cream back in 2011, and it’s what I’ll always love. All of my cupcakes are treated as little works of art, each one is made with love, care and that little bit of something special.
I often get asked what it’s like setting up a wedding cupcake tower; Is it easy? How do you transport them all? What stand do you use?
So, with this in mind and having recently set up a very simple, but super pretty cupcake tower in Reading I thought it would be pretty cool to blog about how it all works and offer some tips and insights to the wedding cake world.
Before you leave the house
First things first – charge you camera battery. And your phone too if you use it for sat-nav.
Leave within plenty of time and always find out from your bride (or groom occasionally) what time the wedding starts so you know when you can get access from. I always aim to be done and out of the venue at least an hour before any guests arrive.
Find out where the cake is going, even if it’s just a rough idea. It’ll make the arrival so much easier. If you know this information beforehand you can just get on with it and do your thing.
Check the distance, plan your route, pack an emergency tool kit, your clean cupcake stand, spare decorations, royal icing and your apron and gloves if you need them. I also have hand sanitiser in my tool kit. Even though I always wash my hands before starting it’s handy to have this, just in case.
One small but hugely beneficial tip – write in big letters on the front of the cake stand box that it is not to be binned, what will be going back in it, your name and contact details and that you will be collecting the stand very soon! It’s not cool when you have to take an expensive cake stand home with no box to keep it safe. Often venues clean up quick and the chance of them binning your box is high. My favourite cupcakes stands are from the Monochrome range made by Wedding Acrylics.
The Drive to the Venue
Cupcakes are super easy to transport and rarely get damaged on the journey. I always bake spares as 1) it’s good to have extra and 2) you never know just who will be at the venue and keen to have a little try. Once when I was setting up a wedding cake I bumped into a new customer at a venue when she was looking around. She tried a cupcake and the rest went from there.
I use these 24-hole boxes which are not only super strong but you can get lots of usage out of them too. They stack flat and neat in any car boot and so long as your cupcakes are kept level they’ll be safe and happy. These ones are particularly good as they are deeper than usual so if you have big buttercream swirls you know they’ll be just right and will stay beautifully un-squashed.
Drive carefully, ignore those impatient horn-pushers and enjoy it. Don’t stress. Setting up a wedding cake or cupcake tower is a joy as well as a privilege.
On arrival park as close as you can to where the cake is going and where you need to unpack. Check your walking route before unloading and prop open any doors. People will always offer to help which is lovely but I always say “no thank-you”. I’m all too wary of the butter finger ‘dropyourcake’ kinda folk!
Lay everything out. Borrow a table or chairs if needed. So long as you keep it all clean and put everything back it’s always fine.
Apart from if you accidentally move the specially laid out dinner service or smudge a glass…and the head waiter loses the plot.. that’s never happened to me… ever…I’m lying…it has 😉
Assemble your stand, check its clean, level and central to the table and start taking your cupcakes out of their boxes and have them ready on the table. Even better, if it’s a big enough table open the boxes around your stand. If your using pretty lace cupcake wrappers fix them all up first rather than making them one at a time. I love these ones.
The Fun Part
Start adding your cupcakes to the tower from the top. If you have different designs/colours/flavours space them out evenly. My OCD’ness starts to take over a little bit at this point. I like the spacing between cupcakes to be exactly so. Take a step back every now and again to check all is looking as it should.
It generally takes me about 10-15 minutes to add around 50 cupcakes to a tower, 25-30 minutes for 100. Always add your top-tier cutting cake last along with any other finishing touches. All in all, from start to finish it never takes me longer than an hour to maybe an hour and fifteen minutes to get these completely done.
Clear up, flatten your boxes and admire your handiwork and lap up and enjoy all the lovely compliments from the staff and other wedding suppliers around you 😉
Finally, and not to be rushed, take photos. From every angle. Up, down, left, right. Use props from the tables and if spare or left for you, add table decorations to the cake table too. A vase or two of flowers can make such a difference and that little pop of colour can bring your photos to life and add perspective. I nearly always find that the my exposure setting needs to be set up to bright and god forbid your cake is in front of a mirror! Ha-ha! Looks good for the cake but is a nightmare to photograph!
Last but not least, I’ll repeat what I said at the beginning of this post – enjoy it! If your’e reading this there’s a good chance you do this professionally and you know as well as I do how much fun the wedding cake world can be.
Another post you may find helpful is How to Set Up A Naked Wedding Cake.
Do you have any other tips? If so, as usual, comment below. If you like to see more behind the scenes kind of stuff I often post these on my Facebook page which you can find and follow me on here.