Have we told you that our mom is the Quintessential Health Enthusiast? Not only does she work out almost every single day, she has been a health food nut since long before the world of Whole Foods (we even belonged to a health food co-op in the 80s where she ordered cases of whole wheat tortillas, carob chips and other things she couldn’t find at the grocery store).
Mom’s bent towards nutrition and exercise has had two diverging side effects. The first is that I, too, work out almost every day- my day almost feels incomplete without some sort of exercise (and I am in such a better mood for it). In fact, my mom is my running partner (we’re running the Colfax Urban 10 miler this weekend together- the pic above is from a half marathon we did in October).
The other side effect is my crazy sweet tooth. At least, I like to blame it on the sweet deprivation I experienced growing up. My theory is that since we never had sweets at our house (and since they are pretty much my favorite thing), I am doing my best to make up for lost time.
Things like cupcake bars, then, are perfect for me (and my sweet tooth and the lost time that I’m reclaiming). Alison (from Oopsey Daisy) and I fashioned a little cupcake buffet for the Denver Spring Soiree and now I want to add a cupcake bar to every event.
Besides the sweet tooth appeal, the loveliest thing about a cupcake bar is that it makes a big impact, but isn’t really high maintenance to put together. Here are the oh-so-simple key elements to Cupcake Bar success-
1. Provide a variety of cupcake flavors! For maximum impact, offer a whole buffet of different cupcake flavors. You can either bake them yourself like we did (in small batches), or order them from a cupcakery (or a combination of the two). If you’re needing a place to start recipe-wise, for our cupcake bar at the Denver Spring Soiree, we used these recipes- Mocha Cupcakes (used this chocolate cupcake recipe and this mocha frosting recipe), Oreo Cupcakes, Vanilla Creme Filled Cupcakes (I made these vanilla cupcakes and then filled them with frosting- I’ll have to put together a post about that!), Strawberry Cupcakes, Yellow Cupcakes (with chocolate frosting, of course), Red Velvet Cupcakes, Confetti Cupcakes, Carrot Cupcakes, Mint Chocolate Cupcakes, Double Chocolate Cupcakes.
2. Choose a color palette. Cupcake wraps and toppers (see #5) make it easy to add the colors of your choice to your cupcake buffet. A couple places to order cupcake liners and baking cups- Bake It Pretty and Confetti Sunshine. Additionally, I’ve seen really cute cupcake liners at JoAnn’s and even in the Target dollar bin! Another way to easily tie in a color palette is through your labels and signage (as an added bonus, you don’t have to explain the flavors over and over again).
3. Give your cupcake buffet a pretty backdrop. Make a sweet spread of cupcakes even sweeter with a fabulous backdrop (several ideas and how-to’s here). Our backdrop is just strips of fabric, sewn into a garland (would you like a tutorial for that, or does it look pretty self explanatory?).
4. Add dimension. Cake stands (and even boxes wrapped in paper) are the perfect way to add height and visual variety to your cupcake display. A white cake stand or two (or seven!) in your servingware collection are great versatile pieces, perfect for cupcake buffets and Nacho Bars alike.
5. Use cupcake toppers. These are secret weapon of treat buffets- they add height, tie in your theme, are easy to make, and are just so darn cute! Ribbon flags, punched circle toppers, tied fabric bows, fabric flags, and patterned paper all make great cupcake toppers. Also, little treats like chocolate squares, strawberries, and Oreos make great edible toppers that match your cupcakes. Fabulous!
ps- For the sake of full disclosure, I feel compelled to add the fact that Jordan does not have a sweet tooth (so there’s a chance that my mom’s zeal for healthy food did not, in fact, cause my sweet tooth). Despite this fact, I stand by my making-up-for-lost-time theory.