Monday, June 13, 2011

Displaying Summer's Bounty

Red velvet cakes and cupcakes have become popular treats to serve on Pentecost Sunday. This year I decided to try a new way to display our red velvet cupcakes--a cupcake tower. I saw some photos of floral cupcake towers and decided to attempt to build one myself. It turned out to be surprisingly easy.

If you want to build one yourself, you will need:
  • Corrugated cardboard rounds (2 rounds for each tier; I used 12", 10", 8" and 6" to display 24 cupcakes.)
  • Plastic glasses or tumblers at least 5" high to separate tiers (one fewer than the number of tiers)
  • Ribbon or strips of paper long enough and wide enough to cover edges of of the cardboard rounds (1/4 inch wide ribbon is probably adequate)
  • Glue (I used 100% silicone adhesive to glue the cups to the cardboard rounds and hot glue to attach the ribbon. Other types of glue would work as well.)
  • Greens and/or flowers. I placed the greens and flowers between each cupcake and covered most of the top with greens and flowers but you can use fewer greens and flowers if you prefer. (I used mint, herbs and roses from my garden. Be careful to choose edible varieties. I don't use store-bought flowers on or near food, as growing standards for flowers are not the same for food and bacteria or pesticides on the flowers might be harmful to people. I also did not put the flowers directly on the cupcakes, except for one rose on the top cupcake. Store bought herbs are a great choice. Silk flowers are another possible choice.)
  • Cupcakes (here's the recipe I used, except I omitted the vinegar and used canola oil in place of the olive oil.) It made 24 regular-sized cupcakes and about the right amount of frosting.
  1. Bake and frost desired number of cupcakes.
  2. Glue each set of cardboard rounds together to form tiers. For maximum strength, glue them so the corrugation lines in each round runs perpendicular to the round to which it is being glued.
  3. Glue ribbon on the edges of the tiers.
  4. Center the tumblers upside-down on each tier and glue (for best results start with the bottom tiers first and allow to dry before adding tiers.) Allow glue to dry completely before adding cupcakes.
  5. Arrange the cupcakes on tiers.
  6. Arrange the greens and flowers on tiers around cupcakes as desired. This is best done about an hour or two before the cupcakes will be served. Allow yourself plenty of time and be sure to keep a pair of clippers or scissors handy to trim greens to desired length. If the display will be up for a long time before serving you might want to place the greens and flowers in floral tubes, or choose varieties that are less likely to wilt.

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