Not Martha

to make: birthday cupcakes, the actual event

yay for containers scored from a grocery store bakery!

I’m assembling my notes from the baking of the cupcakes here for my future reference:

baked the night before, ready to decorate

Sept. 20th
The birthday party cupcake making has begun. Last night I made the pastillage (from the recipe half way down on this page, I think it’s from The Cake Bible). I made two batches, divided each into half and quickly wrapped them tightly in plastic wrap, put them in tupperware and now they are in the fridge, waiting. I used up the rest of my bottle of food coloring (AmeriColor Super Red). The palms of my hands are stained carnage-pink. I’ll roll it and cut it the night before the event.

On Friday night I went shopping for ingredients and managed to get a stack of nifty clear cupcake containers for free from the baking department. (Like the ones down on this page which I was too late to purchase.) It helped that I asked if I could purchase them, and that my cart was full bags of sugar and flour and ten pounds of butter. It probably also helped that it was 10 p.m.* so I wasn’t holding up any customers, and everybody from the actual bakery department was long gone.

* I didn’t mean to spend my Friday night shopping, but there was this whole finding pizza fiasco and by the time we got to the grocery store it was late late.

Sept. 22nd
Birthday Cupcake Baking update: Last night I divided dry ingredients into bags based on which ingredients will be going in at the same time. This will free up my measuring cups for the wet ingredients and I’ll spend a lot less time cleaning inbetween batches. Somehow every grocery store around managed to simultaneously run out of packs of regular white baking cups, which was ok since it gave me a reason to take some time to drive out to Home Cake and buy in larger bunches and get some backup pastry bags at the same time. I resisted impulses to buy more pastry tips and tiny heart sprinkles. (And tiny candy cup molds to make peanut butter cups to put in ice cream, the ice cream I’ll make myself with the ice cream maker I don’t have yet.) I took the pastillage out of the fridge to get ready to roll out. I’ll cut out the stars tonight and store them in an airtight container between layers of parchment paper. Have acquired expensive chocolate and vanilla beans, makes me happy. And I finally had a reason to buy one of those flats of 18 eggs.

ready to go

Note to self: correct this later — you wrote down the version of the recipe hanging on the fridge incorrectly, there really is 1/2 C sour cream to a regular batch of 12, so that Too Much Sour Cream test run was actually the Just The Right Amount of Sour Cream test run. (Note that you predicted a recipe busting typo on that same page, see? You were right.)

Sept. 23rd
Last night I managed to roll and cut out the pastillage stars and bake around 100 cupcakes, here are 96 of them. Having the divided dry ingredients made things so much easier, yay me! How much do I love the cupcakes containers? Much. They’ll make transport far easier. The stars are stacked between layers of parchment and stored inside a mostly airtight container. Tonight I make a massive amounts of buttercream, decorate, and we’re off to the party.

If I hadn’t managed to get these cupcake trays I would have used the large shallow rectangle Rubbermaid Take Alongs. They hold 12 cupcakes pretty well, and are deep enough for some taller frosting.

I changed the recipe just a little bit. I added extra sour cream, about 50% more (example: if the recipe called for two cups, I added three cups). And for the icing I added about 2/3rds of the amount of cream called for.


12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Carol F. // Dec 11, 2006 at 8:50 pm

    These look incredible. Hoorah for the containers! Found you from StumbleUpon. I love the tiny stuff. I made a wedding cake from fondant last week, my first one. I will keep in mind the whole thing about the gel coloring making it gooey (from your other cupcake post).

  • 2 Emily // Mar 5, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    I love how cute and orderly they all look!

  • 3 Angie // Apr 19, 2007 at 2:52 am


    my name is angie and i’m writing from malaysia. i love baking cupcakes and have been looking for those clear cupcake containers everywhere but with no result. is there a website that i can go to purchase them online? thanks!


  • 4 Gail // Apr 20, 2007 at 11:59 am

    I make gourmet doggie treats and am also looking for the clear plastic containers for mini cupcakes.

  • 5 lolo // Jun 12, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    I am doing a cupcake wedding cake for a friends wedding this summer. because I am also in the wedding I’m thinking of baking the cupcakes a couple days in advance and freezing them – wondering if you have any advice on this?

  • 6 diana // Jul 5, 2007 at 7:04 am

    i made these cupcakes but i think they came out kind of dry….do you think i may have over baked them? I baked for 20 min at 350F. I checked them at 15 min, but they were still wet when i inserted a tooth pick. Thanks!

  • 7 Ivan // Oct 11, 2007 at 11:26 am

    There is a site that sells them called They also sell Funny T Shirts for Girls. Def worth checking out : )

  • 8 Ruth // Oct 25, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Is there a Cupcake tasting card? I am hosting a cupcake tasting party and would like to make one. Any ideas?

  • 9 emily // Sep 22, 2009 at 6:18 am

    I never do this but I just checked out the link written by Ivan.

    It had NOTHING to do with cupcakes but I really liked that funny girls t shirt site

    Some of the shirts were dumb but mostly FUNNY

  • 10 patricia youell // Jan 31, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    hello .I love your web site and the cup cakes!
    Did they keep well in the fridge ? as I would lov to bake some for my daughters wedding ,but need to plan ahead so as not to leave everything to last min. thanks Pat.

  • 11 megan // Jan 31, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Patricia,

    The cupcakes kept fine overnight, but I’m glad I waited until the day of to make the frosting and decorate them, this frosting wouldn’t have held up overnight. However, most buttercream will hold up in the fridge overnight, I encourage test runs!

  • 12 Sue // Mar 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I’ve looked for the plastic cupcake holders in walmart and didn’t find any. I think you saved the day for me with the tip of putting the frosting on the day OF the event. I was about the put the icing on the day before!

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