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Food and Cakes

DIY cupcake advice?

I've always imagined having a cupcake tower instead of a traditional cake at my wedding.
We're only planning to have about 75 guests and I actually decorate cupcakes (for work events, family parties, etc.) as a hobby and recently thought that I might as well do it myself instead of paying someone to do it.
Any advice on making my own cupcakes? How did you transport them? What size cupcakes did you make? How long in advanced did you make them?
Thanks in advanced!

Re: DIY cupcake advice?

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    My advice, honestly, is to hire someone. When are you going to make and decorate them? I was the busiest in the few days before the wedding day and barely had time to run simple errands. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    holyguacamole79poodledoodleoooMesmrEweJen4948
  • I work at a cupcake shop and decorate/make them all the time. I do agree with @AddieCake ;though, and you're best option is to hire someone. Who knows how busy you will be!

    A part of me thinks that I would be able to handle doing my own cupcakes too; but I know that I definitely don't want to worry about transporting them and setting them up.
  • jacques27jacques27 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 1000 Comments 5 Answers
    edited January 2016
    Is it do-able?  Sure.  But keep in mind you're going to have a lot to do in the days leading up.  Finalizing vendor arrangements, decorating your venue (unless you hire a wedding coordinator or other staff), rehearsal and dinner if you have one, hair/make-up the day of, photos day of, etc.  I routinely make cupcakes for events and did 6 dozen for a surprise party I organized.  The six dozen were done in three different flavors - one of them was fairly intricately decorated and it took me 12 solid hours between making three double batches of batter, three double batches of frosting, coloring various batches of frosting, baking six pans, waiting for them to cool completely, waiting for pans to cool in between, washing my equipment between each batch of frosting and batter, etc.  Now, I suppose if you are doing very simple one flavor only no fancy decoration and just your standard piped swirl and you have more than one mixer and have a lot of equipment and a larger oven at your disposal, it's totally possible to have it done faster. 

    I did it one day in advance because I didn't take any additional time off work (baked on a Saturday, party on Sunday).  I could have done them Friday if I was willing to take off work, but I probably wouldn't do them any further in advance than that.  Cupcakes ideally should be assembled/frosted day of, no more than one day in advance.  If you want to bake and freeze the unfrosted cupcakes weeks in advance, you could do that.  You just need to have them wrapped very well to prevent freezer burn and also have that kind of freezer space for long-term storage (which I never do).  And they would still need to be frosted day of or day before.  Craft stores like Joann's sell carriers and cake boxes for transport.  You can also visit your local bakery and they'll usually sell you their plastic cupcake holders.


    But ultimately, I would just recommend hiring a bakery and  making it their responsibility.  The only reason I didn't do that for the surprise party is that my specific cupcakes were a request of the guest of honor for their birthday (they didn't know I was actually throwing a surprise party, just that we'd be doing something for their birthday).  It would have made my life much less stressful doing last minute arrangements for the party if I didn't also have to worry about the cupcakes.
    steebsthegreat
  • Thanks for all the tips! I pretty bent to just doing it myself (I'm not doing anything too over-the-top; it's a small wedding and I'm actually getting married by my grandparents house so I'm sure that my grandma will help with any set-up!) and your tips definitely helped!
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited January 2016
    Has your grandmother offered to help with setup? It isn't appropriate to ask her, and you can't be "sure" she will help unless she offers. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    holyguacamole79
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    If you already make cupcakes for work and family parties as a hobby, don't you already know how it all works?  

     Just because it's a wedding doesn't mean the cupcake all the sudden becomes different to make or travel.







    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • I think the biggest concern is WHEN will you frost them, and WHEN will you bring them to your grandmothers, and WHO will set them up?

    You can make your own cupcake stand. You can buy travel cases. 
    frenchiekin
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I was a florist for 8 years, but that didn't mean that I wanted any part in actually making my centerpieces or bouquets.  The last thing I wanted to do a few days before my wedding was have to do anything big or time consuming.  I just wanted to relax, get my nails done, and hang out with my family/friends that came into town.

    And like Lynda said, if you make cupcakes all the time, then the timing of baking them, frosting them, and how you transport them really doesn't change just because they are for your wedding.

    MesmrEwe
  • Well, regardless of all the sound advice above, if you're still set on doing the cupcakes, I suggest you make the actual cake part of the cupcakes a day before. Then make the icing the day of, bring the cakes and the icing separately to your g-ma's house, and ice them there. Make sure there is enough room in the fridge for the cupcakes to sit in.

    I then suggest you keep them on plates, and set them out straight from the fridge onto something stacked (suitcases, books, cupcake display, etc.) If you're getting or making a cupcake display, recruit a friend to put out the made cupcakes shortly before the cupcake time.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker

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  • In my experience, refrigerating cupcakes dries them out faster. That could be due to our recipes at work though.
  • Do this, get everything you need to decorate the cupcakes the way you would want to, or close to it. Then bake two dozen cupcakes, or even a dozen and the decorate them the way you would want for your wedding. See how long it takes you to do a dozen. Then how many do you want to make for the wedding itself to give yourself an idea of how much time you need to do all the cupcakes. Then think, are you really going to have the time to bake & decorate all the cupcakes the week of your wedding. Because you really need to do them no more then 2-3 days in advance to get the best taste. Older then that & they start to taste stale. Then do you or grandma have a cool place to store them until the day of the wedding? For transporting you can go to a local bakery supply store & buy cupcake boxes.  I know for me personally, I was working full time up until 1 day before my wedding. My evenings the week of the wedding were filled with last minute things like finishing up the seating chart & getting gifts done for bridal party. There was no way I would have had time to take on baking anything.  In your case, you'll be busy setting things up like the chairs & tables at grandma's along with any decorations you will be doing. So take the time to figure out if you really have the time to do all of that. If you can, great, but sometimes it's better to pay someone and reduce your stress so you can enjoy the experience of your wedding more.

  • Make them the day before then frost the day of! 

  • I did the cupcakes for one of DH's cousin's wedding as their gift.  The cupcakes themselves took me only a short amount of time to make/ice...  I figured "oh, it'll take me an hour to set them up"...  PFFT yea - sure - UH HUH!  The setup was not only time consuming but it was messier than messy!!!  I started at 1 and was still putting them out at 4:30 when people started arriving and I completely missed the ceremony and almost missed dinner because I had to go back home, re-shower, and get dressed/ready again...  The cardboard cupcake stand they got was a hot mess and hard to work with.  There are so many nicer options that are near that same price-point! (such as everyday plates for your new home!)

    At the time I did this, I was VERY well versed about all things cake and weddings, but the reality is this - you don't have time on this one.  You're the Bride!  You are the star of the show!  You want to look back on your wedding as having enjoyed the day and the life change you're entering, not working the day away!  This is your chance/excuse to hire the most expensive decorator in the region to create your absolute dream cake at a level you find acceptable.  You cannot Voluntold your GM that instead of enjoying the day getting her hair done and showing up to enjoy you get married that she's got to work.  Even if she says she'd be happy to, NO - let her enjoy the day relaxing as a guest, not your worker bee.  At the end of the day, it's just not worth it to DIY the cake! 

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    SP29JoanE2012
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I've always imagined having a cupcake tower instead of a traditional cake at my wedding.
    We're only planning to have about 75 guests and I actually decorate cupcakes (for work events, family parties, etc.) as a hobby and recently thought that I might as well do it myself instead of paying someone to do it.
    Any advice on making my own cupcakes? How did you transport them? What size cupcakes did you make? How long in advanced did you make them?
    Thanks in advanced!
    I think that even for 75 guests, and even (especially) if you decorate cupcakes as a hobby, food is an area of one's wedding where I wouldn't DIY.  You don't really have time and cannot and should not count on friends or family to "help you out" with this.  Pay for someone to do it professionally.  It may cost money, but the convenience will be worth it.
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Erikan73 said:

    Do this, get everything you need to decorate the cupcakes the way you would want to, or close to it. Then bake two dozen cupcakes, or even a dozen and the decorate them the way you would want for your wedding. See how long it takes you to do a dozen. Then how many do you want to make for the wedding itself to give yourself an idea of how much time you need to do all the cupcakes. Then think, are you really going to have the time to bake & decorate all the cupcakes the week of your wedding. Because you really need to do them no more then 2-3 days in advance to get the best taste. Older then that & they start to taste stale. Then do you or grandma have a cool place to store them until the day of the wedding? For transporting you can go to a local bakery supply store & buy cupcake boxes.  I know for me personally, I was working full time up until 1 day before my wedding. My evenings the week of the wedding were filled with last minute things like finishing up the seating chart & getting gifts done for bridal party. There was no way I would have had time to take on baking anything.  In your case, you'll be busy setting things up like the chairs & tables at grandma's along with any decorations you will be doing. So take the time to figure out if you really have the time to do all of that. If you can, great, but sometimes it's better to pay someone and reduce your stress so you can enjoy the experience of your wedding more.

    --------boxes---------


    I think it's doable. My sister made her own wedding cake (at the time, she was making cakes and cupcakes mostly as a hobby and was just kicking it off as a business). However, previous posters are correct in that it takes quite a bit of time and it will add to your stress.

    If you do - go with SIMPLE frosting and avoid fillings. Don't try to do roses on top or hand paint them or anything like that.

    I disagree with the bolded. It is much quicker to make one or two huge batches of something than it is to make 6 or 7 small batches, so while I think the suggestion is a good way to think through it, I don't think it will get you a very good estimate.

  • hyechica81hyechica81 member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 100 Love Its First Answer
    edited February 2016
    as a hobby cupcake baker i suggest you nix this idea, i did the favors for my shower made 30 cupcakes frosted them in raspberry buttercream in a piped rosette, i also made like 5 dozen chocolate chip cookies for the sweets table i was exhausted stressed and ended up with a massive migraine,  my mom  ended up making  other various deserts for shower.  for my rehearsal dinner i went out to the local cake supply store and got a massive cupcake box 36 count and a 12 count i was going to make cupcakes for my rehearsal dinner but at the last minute said no way, my mom ended up going out and getting some other goodies to go with the cake she got.

    you will be stressed leading up to the wedding you wont have time to even make the cupcakes and all the planning you were going to do for the cupcakes will stress you out even more.

    hire someone to make them for you go with someone who specializes in cupcakes ( i have often gone to bakeries that sell cupcakes but don't specialize in them and they taste like garbage if they are known for cupcakes they will taste amazing.  do standard size 2 cupcakes per person i would keep it simple and do 2-3 flavors chocolate based and a vanilla based and maybe something fruity 
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