Cupcake towers are the darlings of the dessert buffet table and it's no wonder. Originally designed to simulate the tiers of a wedding cake and delight brides who didn't want to go the expensive elaborate cake route, these tiered cupcake platters add visual appeal and make it easy for guests to help themselves and they're perfect for any occasion, whether it's a graduation party, a senior recital reception for your favorite young musician or wedding anniversary party for yourself They're also incredibly easy to make yourself. Here's what you'll need:
- Cardboard cake rounds: For a single, raised platter, you'll need two or three identical 12" or 14" cake rounds. For a three-tier tower, you'll need three sets of rounds in graduated sizes, 8", 10" and 12", for example, or 10", 12" and 14". Two rounds in each size makes a good, stable structure. Three is sturdier, but requires wider ribbon. Find the cake rounds in the cake decorating section of any craft store or culinary boutique.
- Structural supports: A single raised platter looks fabulous sitting atop a large, heavy vase (there's a photo of one here). But a stacked tower (see photo above) needs a squat, sturdy base (like a tuna can or low block of wood), and taller supports between the top layers. You can use blocks of wood, empty flower pots (turned upside down for stability) or soup or tomato cans. Bear in mind that the wider the object, the sturdier the structure, but the less room for cupcakes.
- Decorative paper or fabric: This is what turns a stack of soup cans and cardboard into something party-worthy. Bold, solid colors showcase the cupcakes; prints put the focus on the tower itself. And collegiate print fabrics (like the ones we used for the tailgate picnic linens project) are particularly fun for a graduation party.
- Grosgrain ribbon: You'll need ribbon that's 1" to 1 1/2" wide and long enough to encircle all three layers. A single 14" layer needs 45 inches or so of ribbon - i.e., the diameter times pi, plus a little more to overlap. You'll want a 10-foot spool of ribbon for a triple tower.
- A hot glue gun: Any adhesive will work, but a hot glue gun will finish the job in minutes.
Let's put it together...