DIY Wedding Cupcakes

Contributor: Amy Hoover
purple and white wedding cupcake display

Brides and grooms shouldn't be intimidated by the prospect of DIY wedding cupcakes. Anyone has the capacity to learn how to bake and decorate delicious and beautiful cupcakes. In addition to having the freedom to design and create every aspect of their wedding dessert, couples who make their own cupcakes can save a huge amount of money by doing so.

Create Your Own Wedding Cupcakes

Professional pastry chefs aren't the only ones who can create their own wedding cupcakes. Even people without a lot of decorating experience can pick up the skills necessary to make beautiful small cakes that are worthy of wowing a crowd. If you're willing to put in some time before your wedding to test different recipes, practice decorating, get the equipment you need, and fine-tune your plans, you're already well on your way to making your own cupcakes.

Cupcakes From a Box Mix

The easiest way to make your own cupcakes is to use a box mix or modify a box mix. This keeps you from buying lots of ingredients or ingredients that might fail. Additionally, these recipes have been tested multiple times and will be easy to make in large batches.

Green buttercream frosting cupcakes

Bake From Scratch

If you want to make cupcakes from scratch, use a tried-and-true recipe that you know will work or a favorite recipe. If you don't have a current favorite flavor, then you'll want to bake samples of cake and cupcake flavors to ensure you'll be able to scale the recipe up for large batches without any adverse effects.

Cupcake Flavor Suggestions

Most cake recipes can be turned into cupcakes. Fill cupcake wrappers 2/3 of the way full. Do a test run with three cupcakes, watching for doneness starting at half the original time. Cupcakes are done when the top bounces back and a toothpick or knife in the center comes out clean. Consider these flavors:

  • If your wedding is in the spring or summer, consider using seasonal fruit, like strawberries, lemons, and citrus, to make the cakes or frostings.
  • In the fall, give pumpkin or cinnamon cake a try.
  • During winter months, try red velvet with cream cheese frosting.

Whether you want a gourmet cupcake recipe, like black forest, or want to turn a lemon layer cake into filled cupcakes, you should always test your recipe first.

Tiered display of flavored cupcakes

Frosting and Decoration Ideas

Buttercream is the most common icing for cupcakes, but it's far from the only choice. Fondant is another option that's easy to work with and looks very elegant with a minimal amount of effort. Cream cheese frosting, whipped cream, ganache, or a simple sugar glaze are more possibilities. Just because you're not a professional doesn't mean you can't make pretty designs. Try these easy ideas that utilize basic fondant and piping techniques:

Blue and white decorated cupcakes
  • Pipe frosting into a tall peak in your wedding colors. Top with shimmering sprinkles.
  • Use a food-safe paintbrush to place three stripes of color down a piping bag. Add a tip and plain white frosting. Start piping in the center and work your way out in a circle to create a rose.
Chocolate cupcakes with rose frosting
  • Make candied edible flowers to place on top of your piped frosting. Use a large star tip to create the base.
Cupcakes with sugared edible flowers

If your decorating skills are minimal, use dragees, fresh flowers, or chocolate shavings to garnish our cupcakes. They always look professionally done, no matter how easy they are to apply.

Points to Consider

Making DIY wedding cupcakes isn't for everyone.

Drawbacks of Baking Your Own Cupcakes

If a lot of preparations tend to overwhelm you, it might be best to leave your dessert to the professionals. Most brides and grooms already have a laundry list of things to handle before their wedding ceremony and reception take place, so having to bake, decorate, store, transport, and arrange cupcakes during the thick of it all may not seem like a welcome prospect. The additional cost and time involved in test runs, plus frustration if your design doesn't work, can add to wedding planning stress.

Advantages of DIY Cupcake Baking

If you embrace challenges and look forward to having complete control over your wedding dessert, you might enjoy the extra work that making your own cupcakes involves. Creative brides, grooms, and bridal party members might enjoy coming up with a personalized flavor and design for the cupcakes. Use the baking day as a way to bond with friends and family if they offer to help.

Tips for Success

If you choose to make your own cupcakes, you'll need to keep the following in mind:

  • Depending on how big your wedding reception will be and how many guests you plan to have, you'll likely need a cupcake stand, cupcake tree, or other display. If you don't have your own and don't want to buy one, you may be able to rent one from a bakery or catering company for the day.
Cupcakes in decorated cupcake holders
  • Realistically think about how rushed you might be on the days leading up to your wedding. If you expect you'll need a friend to help you decorate and set up the cupcakes ahead of time, find someone in advance and make sure that he or she knows what to do.
  • Get all the ingredients and supplies you'll need to make the cupcakes and frosting well ahead of time. Shop at cake decorating stores or online for hard-to-find ingredients and decorations.
  • Sketch out a rough design of how you'd like your cupcake display to look. If possible, get ahold of any display equipment you need before the wedding reception so that you can make sure everything fits the way it's supposed to and looks good as a whole.
  • Calculate estimated expenses as soon as possible so you can evaluate how making your own cupcakes will fit into your wedding budget.

How Far in Advance to Make Cupcakes

Couples who are making their own wedding dessert need to consider baking them ahead of time. This way, you will still have flavorful cupcakes but without the worry of running out of time. Both Martha Stewart and Betty Crocker recommend freezing cupcakes and cake without frosting. Do this anywhere from one to three months before the wedding. While you can freeze cupcakes with frosting, you have to be very careful to keep the cover from ruining frosting and that the frosting doesn't sweat or run when thawed. Therefore, it's in your best interest to make the cupcakes ahead of time and frost a day or two prior to the wedding.

Cupcakes with white frosting

Have a Backup Plan for Your Cupcakes

As with any DIY project, especially one as monumental as making your own wedding cupcakes, have a backup plan in place in case your cupcakes don't work out and you don't have time to prepare and decorate another batch before the event. This can be as simple as having someone run to the nearest grocery store(s) and purchasing ready-made cupcakes or as complicated as paying a baker to be "on call" in case something goes wrong. Pay careful attention to the recipe and have a reliable kitchen timer on hand for the oven, and you should have delicious, homemade wedding cupcakes without a hitch.

Make the Cupcakes Your Own Design

One of the best things about DIY wedding cupcakes is that they're completely yours. You won't have to pay a premium for decorating labor or supplies, and the cupcakes can be as creative as you want. Be creative with the cupcakes you make. A baker is likely to err on the side of convention, so take advantage of the freedom you have and try for something truly unique and memorable.

DIY Wedding Cupcakes