Countdown to Cupcakes
When Food Editor Kristen Olson decided to make 250 cupcakes for her twin sister’s wedding, she knew she needed to plan ahead. Here’s the countdown she followed to serve hundreds of classy cupcakes on her sister’s big day.
Kristen’s Top-5 Cupcake Supplies
- 6 months: Research recipes and select three to four to test.
- 3 months: Test recipes and rate the results. Are they moist? Flavorful? Can they handle being frozen and thawed? Select the final recipe.
- 1 month: Purchase non-perishable supplies, such as cupcake pans, liners and decorating supplies.
- 1 week: Assemble a group of helpers and bake, cool, wrap and freeze the cupcakes
- 2 days: Move the cupcakes from the freezer to a refrigerator to thaw.
- 1 day: Frost and decorate.
- Day of wedding: Transport to reception hall and display on tiered cake or cupcake stands.
DIY Wedding Cupcake Tips
- Food coloring paste. Using paste rather than liquid food coloring will give you richer colors and won’t dilute your frosting.
- Edible glitter. Make your cupcakes sparkle! A light dusting of edible glitter (I prefer the super-fine variety), will elevate your cupcakes from everyday to elegant.
- Tiered cupcake stands. While you’ll want to arrange some cupcakes directly on the dessert table, incorporating several tiered cupcake stands will add height and dramatic style to the display.
- Cupcake trays. After all that work, you don’t want to damage the goods. These handy plastic trays have shallow depressions that work great for transporting cupcakes. Purchase them at baking supply stores or online. You can also purchase sheet cake boxes from a local bakery.
- Bakery boxes. Sheet cake boxes, available at your local bakery, are extra sturdy and perfect for transporting to the reception.
- Don’t do it alone! Enlist helpers for every stage of the process, including baking, decorating, transporting and displaying.
- Use cake mix. Baking upwards of 10 dozen cupcakes is no small endeavor. Save time by using cake mix rather than baking from scratch. The best part? Nobody will know the difference.
- Lower the baking temperature. When testing cupcake recipes, try baking one batch at 25 degrees lower than the temperature stated in the recipe. This may prevent the cupcakes from becoming misshapen, but means you may need to increase the baking time.
- Make frosting in double batches. Your mixer can only handle so much frosting – don’t overload it with a quadrupled recipe.
- Cover your bases. Two months before the wedding, do a complete test-run. Bake, freeze, thaw, decorate and transport a dozen cupcakes. Adjust your plan if necessary!