I’ve had this topic in my mind for months. In fact when I began my research I wanted it to be my first feature that I did on A Wedding Cake Blog. I am SUCH a Doing It Yourself kind of girl. I love creating my own art for my home, making my own curtains or pillows instead of buying them. Once I even tackled making a duvet cover (not as simple as it might seem). I thought I would be ALL over a DIY Wedding Cake or Cupcakes.
After months of “research” (a.k.a. walking into Micheal’s to price cake baking goods and reading wedding blogs) I’ve finally decided to tackle this beast. And let me tell you–if you are looking for a pro-DIY Wedding Cake post…you might want to stop reading. Because I’m going to be frank and honest. Attempting to make your own wedding cake (or cupcakes) isn’t really my bag. It might be yours and that is totally okay with me…but it’s not mine and I’ll tell you why.
We didn’t come up with words like “recessionista” for nothing. Most people are tugging at their purse strings a little more today than they have in the past. I got married in 2006 and I was 25 and literally had maybe five hundred dollars in my savings account. Did I care? Absolutely not. I had a good job and my husband had a good job. We rented our apartment and we knew that those jobs would be there. Fast forward five years later…brides and grooms to be have learned a lot about the economy whether they have wanted to or not. And unless you are Ivanka Trump you know that pinching a few pennies here and there is a smart move. Especially when it comes to your wedding.
Of course you still want a nice wedding. You’ve spent your whole life dreaming of the dress…so you can’t cut the budget there. Unless you personally know a caterer or have a connection at a venue it’s pretty impossible to cut cost there as well. So what gets cut? The wedding cake. You get the logic don’t you? Sure, you want a beautiful cake…but with cupcakes and cake-pops riding the popular train why NOT make it yourself? I guarantee you almost anyone in the United States has probably made cupcakes before. How hard can it be? Mix up some batter, pop it in a muffin pan, and buy some cute icing bags and decorators tips and BAM…you’ve got instant gorgeous wedding cupcakes. Simple right? Sure — it can be. Especially if you’re Betty Crocker and oh, you also happen to love to put an immense amount of stress on yourself days before your wedding. This girl? So not Betty Crocker.
When I originally started this post I thought I’d give you the whole math break down. How much the tins cost, the flour, the chocolate, the cupcake wrappers, the stand, the decorators tips, the icing…the whole shebang. It got far too technical for me and then I saw one simple fact I thought was pretty straightforward. Your cake budget is typically less than 1/8 of your entire wedding budget. 1/8! For such a small fraction doesn’t it really make sense to cut it from somewhere else?
Okay, I know I am being such a Negative Nancy about all this. So let’s say you strongly disagree with me and still want to make your own wedding cupcakes…here is the skinny of what you’ll need to do. By the way, I am totally one of those people you can disagree with and I’m cool with it. My husband hates that I like to live in a world of happy optimism. Anyway…
- This might seem obvious but you’ll need cupcake tins. And you’ll either need a lot or a really large one that makes a lot of cupcakes. The good thing about this is you will probably be able to beg, borrow, or steal these from your friends and family.
- Ingredients. I did some research and for a simple vanilla cupcake recipe you will need around 10 cups of flour, baking soda, salt, 2 cups of butter, 6 cups of milk, 9 cups of sugar, 16 eggs, 8 egg yolks, and vanilla extract. (These measurements are not exact…so don’t make them and then come back and e-punch me).
- Oh yup..that’s just the cake. Now let’s make a simple buttercream frosting to ice these bad boys. For roughly 100 cupcakes you will need around 10 cups of butter, 10 cups of shortening, 30 pounds of confectioners sugar, vanilla extract, salt, 8 cups of milk, and food coloring if you would like you color your buttercream to match your wedding colors.
- This it totally a splurge but since you are making a ton of cupcakes now might be the time to invest in a nice Kitchen Aide Stand Mixer (or hint at one for an early wedding gift).
- You’re going to need cute cupcake liners because this is your wedding and those pastel Reynolds cupcake liners they sell at the grocery store aren’t going to cut it. Luckily you can get 125 cute ones like these from Etsy for around $11.00 plus shipping. So that’s an investment I’d make. Of course you might luck out and find some cute ones at craft or party stores for less and you can also go more expensive and find fancier versions on Etsy.
- You’re going to need a tiered cupcake stand. There are a couple things you could do here. Your local cupcake bakery might be willing to rent you one for the day. Or you could buy your own for about $75-150 on Amazon. One must ask oneself, however – what would one do with a gigantic cupcake stand after one’s wedding day–but there is always Craigslist or Ebay.
- So you’ve made the icing. Now you have to put it on the cupcake. You’re going to need icing bags and decorator tips. Luckily a pack of Wilton Disposable icing bags will only run you about 6 dollars. The tips will be a little different. You’re going to want to experiment a little bit with different styles, so I suggest buying a few or a combo pack. A set of 12 will run you around $15 on Amazon.
- Here’s another item to add to the “want” but don’t “need” category. Most couples like to have a cutting cake for ”cutting the cake and shoving it in your brides face” tradition. So go ahead and add on some more of those ingredients to your grocery list. Also, you’ll need to make sure you have extra ingredients in case you mess up or ruin a batch.
- Something very important: you have to get those bad boys to the church…unharmed. This alone is what turns me off of making my own wedding cupcakes. I would NOT want this stress on my wedding day. Even if I had someone else do it I would have heart palpitations just waiting to hear if they made it safely. There are a couple things you could do. The most practical would be to purchase large cake boxes. You can buy a pack of ten for about $20.00. These would be a good option except that the cupcakes could slide around and could possibly mess up. Another option is to buy cupcake ready Tupperware containers. Of course, this would require you to buy enough to cart your cupcakes from your home to your venue…but you might get lucky and be able to borrow enough or sell them on eBay after the wedding. I did hear of one bride purchasing plastic cupcake containers from her grocery store bakery…that would work as well.
These are the basics. I could do on and on but it’s very subjective as to what the bride wants. If you choose to (or already have) made your own wedding cupcakes, I would love to hear about it! For me, the stress, plus the fact that it really doesn’t seem to save you all that much money, really puts a damper on the whole thing for me.
Have you made your own wedding cupcakes? Do you think I’m crazy for being so anti-DIY Wedding Cupcakes? Anyone else completely disgusted that THIRTY pounds of confectioners sugar goes into buttercream? Or is that just me?
Of course, I was basing my thoughts on a larger wedding. If you were having a small wedding with 15-30 guests this idea would probably not be too bad.