Inviting your friends over to bake can be an entertaining and relaxing activity. That’s what I think of when thinking up cupcake party ideas.
Cupcakes are the simplest cakes of all. They’re easy to make and easy on the budget. And because you can have more than one cake, this gives everyone the chance to customise their own.
No one knows the exact origins of cupcakes. The earliest recipe was discovered in 1796. when they were described as “a light cake to bake in small cups” by Amelia Simmons in her cookbook, American Cookery.
Let’s dive into what you need to start developing your party.
Equipment You Need For Cupcake-Making
Most of the cupcake party ideas here involve some kind of cake-making from scratch. To get the best results for your cakes, you will need the following baking equipment:
- mixing bowls
- measuring spoons
- a whisk
- cupcake trays
- cupcake paper cases
- icing bags/piping tubes
- a set of icing nozzles
- cake toppers, e.g. sprinkles, jelly bean, nuts and chocolate candies
- an oven
If you don’t own all of these, ask your friends to bring what they have to your party. If you don’t have an oven, find out who does and hold the party at their place.
Making the perfect cupcakes can be quite tricky, because you want them as soft and spongy as possible. WikiHow has a basic recipe for cupcakes to get you started the right way. (https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Basic-Cupcakes)
Cupcake versus Muffin
We all love cupcakes and muffins, don’t we? And although they both look similar, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. So how can you tell the difference? Why are muffins eaten for breakfast but not cupcakes? Why can you use frosting only on cupcakes but not on muffins?
These questions are perfect to answer in the first cupcake party ideas on this list, a Cupcake versus Muffin party.
I like to think of muffins as a kind of bread and cupcakes as a kind of dessert. Both cakes need flour, butter, eggs, sugar and milk. But the difference is in the flour: cupcakes use cake flour while muffins need whole-wheat flour. Cupcakes also use butter, whereas muffins use vegetable oil.
Cupcakes, on the whole, are considered bite-sized versions of larger cakes. This means if you want to bake chocolate cupcakes, for example, you can do so as if preparing a larger chocolate cake. You will need to whisk all your cupcake ingredients into a smooth batter. Muffin batter is also whisked, but in a lighter manner to produce a denser mass.
Muffins contain less sugar than cupcakes which is why they’re often treated as breakfast items. Muffins can also come with a range of fillings such as nuts, raisins, or chocolate. Cupcakes, on the other hand, don’t need fillings. Their sugar content is already quite high and is made even higher, when topped with frosting.
Muffins are the perfect food for a lunch event, whereas cupcakes, due to their sweetness, are best eaten later in the day. You can invite your guests to bring their own versions of the two cakes and also test if they can spot the difference.
A Cupcake versus Muffin party I also think is a great opportunity to celebrate muffins. Cupcakes tend to get all the glory, whereas muffins are like the quiet kid in the back of the class.
Cupcake decorating is such a relaxing way to hang out with friends. All you need are pre-made cakes and plenty of decoration options as you possible, from types of icing to candy, fruits to nuts. Make sure everyone gets their own workspace and set of tools, because things will get messy very fast.
Although cupcake decoration can be rewarding, I still like to get everyone gets involved in making the cakes from start to finish. Making the cakes from scratch can influence how bakers decorate the end result.
You can also turn this cupcake idea into a contest between friends. Here are some amazing cupcake designs to kickstart some inspiration.
Have you ever seen Cupcake Wars? Or Indulgence Cupcakery? Contestants in these outlandish TV bake off shows are given 45-60 minutes to create cupcakes according to a theme and set ingredients they’re given. An aphrodisiac party was one of the themes I saw used on Cupcake Wars where contestants had to design a cake that incorporated various aphrodisiacs including dark chocolate, basil and champagne.
This cupcake party idea’s a variation of these shows. Decide a theme in advance of your night – for example, beach, fishing, Halloween – then shop for ingredients to match your idea. Your guests will each need a cake mix to make the cupcakes, their own cupcake tray and cupcake paper cases, and enough equipment to share between them.
If you decided to have a beach theme cake, for example, then ingredients could include orange slices, soda pop, a cocktail liquor, berries, kiwi fruit and a bonus item each of your friends brings over. Friends can use all or some of these ingredients during their cake making.
Celebrate on Cupcake Day
Did you know cupcakes have 3 (!) national holidays a year? Yep, three. These days are National Chocolate Cupcake Day on October 18th; National Vanilla Cupcake Day on November 9th; and National Lemon Cupcake Day on December 15th. So if you’re stuck for ideas, now you’ve got 3 excuses to dig out the cake mix and the piping bag.
There are no historical records anywhere as to how these days came about, but it doesn’t matter. The lack of tradition means you can organise your cupcake party ideas any way you like – from baking cakes according to the day’s theme (lemon only) or a lavish tea party with generous amounts of cake.
And not to be outdone by cupcakes, there’s also a National Muffin Day every February 20th.
Cupcakes used to be baked in teacups, and this party idea takes its cue from that. There are many different ways of making a cupcake and this is worth exploring with your friends. A cake in a mug (also known as a mug cake) needs a microwave and a mug to get the intended results. Vegetable oil needs to be added to the cake mix, so that as the oil heats up, the cake can rise at the same time.
A cake in a jar is another variation of cupcake. These cakes can stay moist for up to 6 months. Find out how to make a cake in a jar using this fabulous cupcake recipe.
Cake balls are another small cake, made from combining cake crumbs with icing shaped into a ball. These are then dipped in a coating such as melted chocolate. If you’ve got leftover cake or even stale cake lying around, don’t throw them out – these form the perfect base for cake balls.
In short, having your friends coming together by making dessert can be a satisfying experience for all. And cupcake party ideas allow everyone have their moment in the baking spotlight.