Fire hydrants, puppies and frosting… oh my!

Unique and eye-catching cupcake displays aren’t just for weddings anymore. They can be used to add a special touch to any child’s birthday. My passion for cake decorating started with my mom. Some of my fondest memories were of the birthday cakes she made. The majority of what I know about cake decorating I learned from my mom and online research. Today I will share some tips on how to put together a creative cupcake display.

Recently, one of my nephews asked for vanilla and chocolate cupcakes for his birthday. If the person you are making the cupcakes for didn’t tell you a specific flavor, select a favorite recipe or go ahead and try a new one.

When it comes to a creative cupcake display, the theme is everything. You can obtain the theme from the birthday child or if you know them well, make a list of their interests and select one or a combination of several to base the theme on. My nephew requested a puppy theme so I searched the Internet for puppy themed cupcakes and came across some great tutorials like this one by Sweet Art by Elizabeth.

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Puppy Theme Cupcakes – Image by Kelly Blazek

I also did a Google search to find additional images of puppy cupcakes to draw ideas from. By looking at tutorials and images in advance, I knew what colors to incorporate into my theme. It also allowed me to write down what kinds of piping tips and colors of frosting I would need. I have decorated cakes for many years so I already have a lot of the supplies, but if you are a beginner decorated there are a lot of resources available online that talk about the techniques and the items that are needed. Wilton and Cake Central are a few resources that have great information.

After you have your flavor(s) selected and know what you want your cupcakes to look like, it is a matter of creating the cupcake display. I always try to plan my cupcake displays several weeks in advance so I have time to gather all of the materials I need. This also allows for the display items to be done ahead of time so I can focus my attention on baking a day or so ahead of the party. I like to sketch my display and list the needed supplies in a sketchbook, but a scrap piece of paper will do just fine. Below is a list of what I needed for my nephew’s cupcake display.

  • Theme: Puppies
  • Colors: Brown, ivory, white, black, gray, red
  • Plastic table cover: Brown for the cake table
  • Cupcake stand: Wilton three-tier stand – I already owned this stand. Don’t feel like you have to purchase a stand for your display. Be creative and use boxes wrapped in gift wrap or fabric, wooden crates or items you already have. There are also great ideas on Pinterest for DIY cupcake stands. If you do want to purchase a stand, watch for coupons and sales at stores like Joann Fabric and Crafts.
  • Cupcake wrappers: Use dog theme
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    Puppy Theme Cupcake Wrappers – Image by Kelly Blazek

    scrapbook supplies, a template, straight edge scissors and decorative shears. You don’t have to use a cupcake wrapper, but cupcakes tend to show through the thin baking wrappers. By cutting out your own wrappers from scrapbook paper and gluing them around your baked cupcakes with an adhesive dot roller, the options are endless. As a final touch I took the stickers from the scrapbook kit and added them to the wrappers.

  • Table accents: Fire hydrant coin bank, tulle fabric for under the cupcake stands, miniature toy dogs, large and mini chalk board signs. Be creative with your accent pieces, this not only adds a personal touch to your display but the items can be given to the child as a birthday gift.

I like to set my displays up in advance and take pictures so when I go to set it up for the party I already know where everything goes. When it comes to cupcake displays you are only limited by your own imagination. Don’t just think outside of the box, get rid of the cupcake box and display those cupcakes with pizzazz.

Puppy Theme Cupcake Display – Image by Kelly Blazek