How to Arrange Cupcakes at a Party

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The arrangement of cupcakes is just as important as their icing.

Cupcakes are a convenient stand-in for a cake because they do not require cutting before serving, nor do they need a fork and knife to eat. As convenient as cupcakes are, they can seem a meager alternative to a whole cake. But by artfully arranged cupcakes, you can create an aesthetic appeal that is as dramatic -- or even more dramatic -- than a whole cake.

Things You'll Need

  • 30-inch square cake board
  • Red paper
  • Tape
  • Black marker
  • Ruler
  • 32 baked cupcakes with paper liners
  • Black icing
  • Red icing
  • White buttercream frosting
  • Plastic zip-top bag
  • 16 red checkers (optional)
  • 16 black checkers (optional)
  • Spatula
  • Tiered dessert serving tray
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Instructions

  1. Checker Board

    • 1

      Cover a cake board with red paper, securing it in place with tape on the bottom of the board.

    • 2

      Divide the top of the cake board into eight rows and eight columns measuring 3 inches each. Use a ruler and a black marker to outline the rows and columns to produce the 64 squares for a checker board.

    • 3

      Color in every other square on the board in with the black marker to produce a checker board pattern.

    • 4

      Spread black icing over the top of 16 cupcakes and red icing over the remaining cupcakes to make them look like checkers.

    • 5

      Fill the zip-top bag halfway with white buttercream frosting and snip off one bottom corner of the bag to make a piping bag.

    • 6

      Squeeze a small dollop of icing from the bag into the middle of each of the squares on the two rows at opposite ends of the cake board. This will help to hold the cupcakes onto the cake board.

    • 7

      Place the black cupcakes on top of the icing dollops on one side of the board for the black checkers' starting place. Arrange the red cupcakes on the squares with icing on the opposite end of the board.

    • 8

      Top each red cupcake with a red checker and each black cupcake with a black checker for an accent (optional).

    Sheet Cake Cupcakes

    • 9

      Arrange the cupcakes into a rectangle measuring eight cupcakes across and four cupcakes down on a cake board, with the sides of the cupcakes touching each other.

    • 10

      Spread a thin layer of icing on the bottom of each cupcake liner to stick it to the cake board.

    • 11

      Cover the cupcakes with icing, spreading it with a spatula as though icing an entire sheet cake. This makes the cupcakes look more like a whole cake instead of individual cupcakes.

    Tiered Tray

    • 12

      Spread a thick layer of icing of one color on top of half the cupcakes. Decorate the remaining cupcakes with another icing color.

    • 13

      Arrange the cupcakes with one icing color on the bottom layer of the tiered tray and the third layer from the bottom.

    • 14

      Fill the remaining layers on the tiered stand with the other half of the cupcakes so the tiers on the stand have alternating icing colors.

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References

  • "Familyfun Birthday Cakes: 50 Cute & Easy Party Treats"; Deanna F. Cook, et al.; 2009
  • "Cupcakes From the Cake Mix Doctor"; Anne Byrn; 2005
  • "Cupcakes"; Sue McMahon; 2007
  • Photo Credit Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

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