Mini Cupcake Spiral Tower (Autumn, Fall)

Mini chocolate cupcakes decorated with over-sized dragees and fall themed fondant cut-outs literally reached new heights in my kitchen for a fall open house party this past weekend.

fall mini cupcake tower

We’ll get ‘up close and personal’ so I can show how you how I made this.

fall mini cupcake tower

It’s not as complicated as it looks. Trust me. They’re just a bunch of little ol’ chocolate cupcakes dressed up all fancy like.

fall mini cupcake tower

The number of cupcakes needed depends on the size styrofoam cone that is used but the cupcakes bake up rather quickly at 10 minutes in the oven per batch. One recipe of batter makes approximately 120 mini cupcakes. I used about 150 mini cupcakes.

For the wrappers I used Wilton’s gold foil candy cups which are smaller than mini baking cups but still lined with paper. The candy cups are a true ‘pop-in-your-mouth’ bite whereas a cupcake baked in a mini baking wrapper takes a bite or two.

I used our All-American chocolate cake recipe and the accompanying chocolate icing. Mini spiced cake or carrot cake cupcakes would have been very good too but I was specifically requested to bring the chocolate cupcakes. (I really do need to post those recipes again soon but I’ve never taken a good, well thought out photo when we’ve baked the cake and I feel it’s the least I could do.)

For the fondant decorations on top of the cupcakes I kept with the fall theme.


Pumpkins and fall leaves came to mind.

fall mini cupcakes

I didn’t want the use of too many patterns on the display so the third cupcake would be plainer but still elegant. It would be placed between the pumpkin and leaves rows.

fall mini cupcake tower

I made the fondant leaf cut-outs with the same fondant plunger I used for the grape leaves on the wedding cookies. I took rolled fondant I had colored red and yellow and marbled them together as I did for the fondant leaves cookies and ran the steamer over the leaves as for the Halloween bats cookies to tack up the fondant.

I then flicked strawberry Disco Dust over the leaf cut-outs. The strawberry color is a mix between a warm red and gold. When the leaves were less tacky, I dusted them with super gold luster powder.

fall mini cupcake tower

fall mini cupcake tower

For the fondant pumpkin cut-outs I used a cutter I had from the Williams-Sonoma piecrust cutter set. By the way, the Christmas cutters are as cute as can be. I can see them now on a Christmas mini cupcake tree, can’t you?

Back to fall and the pumpkins ~

fall mini cupcake tower

fall mini cupcake tower

Thinned royal icing piped with a 1S piping tip made the tendrils and stem. I believe it is the smallest opening made on a tip or at least the smallest I’ve ever found.

For the swirls on the dragee cupcakes I used a larger long tip. No number on the tip but the equivalent plain round tip is a large number 3. I also don‘t know the size specifications of the dragees except to say the container should have read ‘obscenely decadent.’

Of course, I had to give them a slight sprinkle of gold Disco Dust.

mini chocolate cupcakes

With the cupcakes complete, here’s what you’ll need for the structure…

fall mini cupcake tower

  • 1 styrofoam cone (I used one with a 5 inch base, 21 inches high)
  • decorative foil to cover the cone
  • 10” round cake cardboard
  • silk fall leaves
  • floral pick for the top
  • box of regular tooth picks
  • glue gun

Take the styrofoam cone and center it on the cake board. Draw a circle around the base of the cone.

fall mini cupcake tower

Tip: Having a larger diameter cardboard circle to place the cone on will add support and stabilization to the structure when pushing toothpicks into the styrofoam and especially when the finished structure is being moved around or transported.

Wrap the cone in decorative foil or paper. I used gold foil to blend in with the fall colors I used in the color palette and with the gold foil cupcake wrappers. I wanted everything to shine.

I bought a branch of fall leaves and cut all the leaves off so I could use them individually to circle the cake board.

fall mini cupcake tower

I first glued a row of leaves so the edge of the board would not show. I added another leaf row on top positioning them just to the inside of the mark I made prior.

Tip: The cake board I used happened to be foil covered. I bought it before I had the idea for the foliage. If I would have known at the time I was going to completely cover the board I would have bought a plain board.

fall mini cupcake tower

The last step – secure the covered cone to the board with hot glue.

fall mini cupcake tower

To assemble the cupcakes to the cone ~ It’s so simple ~ just stick a toothpick into the foam at a slight angle up starting at the base and push a cupcake onto it.

Tip: Try for the toothpick to pierce the middle bottom of the cupcake. If the toothpick sticks out the cupcake top, remove the cupcake and push the toothpick farther into the foam. You want a good toothpick/foam/cupcake ratio. You’ll get the idea.

Place the cupcakes in a pattern…pumpkin, dragee, leaf, dragee, pumpkin, dragee, leaf, dragee….

Always begin your second row starting with the first pattern on the cupcake used. For example, I began with the pumpkin so when I added the next row I began with another pumpkin cupcake slightly to the right and above the original pumpkin cupcake. This will get the pattern climbing up the cone in a swirl pattern.

fall mini cupcake tower

Tip: Where the rows start and stop will be the back of the cone because there will be gaps to fill in where the pattern doesn’t line up perfectly. That’s just the way it is. Cupcake sizes vary and the diameter of the cone gets smaller as you reach the top. Don’t worry about finishing up the pattern perfectly when completing a row. Just begin as stated above with the original patterned cupcake and the front and sides will turn out great and only you will notice the back.

Finish the top of the cone by pushing in a floral pick. All done!

fall mini cupcake tower

The above photo was taken at the cutest-ever-1923 vintage-storybook-cottage-in South Pasadena anyone has ever seen-open-house! One thing though, I should have plucked an obligatory cupcake from the front because no one wanted to be the first. When I left the open house hours later I saw people eating cupcakes but the front still looked untouched. People were reaching around the back to take them off. So funny. 🙂

I’d be glad to answer questions in the comments section if you have any. Wouldn’t this be a fun and unexpected dessert for Thanksgiving dinner?

Have a great week!

SHARE THIS POST:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someoneGoogle+


  1. I think you are a genius, and I would love to try this on a smaller scale for a Christmas gathering. I’m still intimidated by the whole fondant thing, tho!

  2. Oh yummy. You are so darn creative! I love, love, love this idea and yes, I will be copying this for our next get together 🙂


  3. Your creativity and talent is off the charts..AMAZING!! Now I am craving something chocolate perferably one of those yummy cupcakes:)

  4. That’s lovely. Really pretty. Congrats!

  5. Tracy Hanson says:

    You are so talented! I have to try this!

  6. T&C Mom ~ Golly! Such praise. 🙂 Fondant is so easy I almost feel like I’m cheating and playing with Play Doh. I hope you give it a try. You’ll wonder why you didn’t try it along time ago. It can’t be easier than making white snow flakes with that WS pie crust cutter. 🙂

    Jo ~ I would love to see what you make. You are so creative! 🙂

    Tina ~ Thank you, my friend. I can’t tell you how many left overs I “popped” when I got home!!! 🙂

    Leigh ~ Thank you! 🙂

    Tracy ~ I hope you do try it. 🙂

  7. This looks GORGEOUS!!! would have been perfect for my girls afternoon tea this week-end!! Gosh I wish you lived around the corner …

    Happy Monday..xo HHL

    Falling Off A High Heeled Life


  8. Wow, this is amazing! I love it! You are seriously the most talented baker ever!!!! 🙂

  9. Thank you, Celia. I would love to be close enough even by a few hours to get together and chat over a cup of tea. 🙂

    Awww, Angela, you are just the sweetest gal ever! 🙂

  10. I never think you can top yourself with the creations you come up with, but you always do! Tres impressed, and a little bit inspired, as usual 🙂

  11. Lady Kate says:

    Another masterpiece! I hope Martha pics up on this one too!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Marilyn – You have such a gift! Thank you for making this amazing treat for our party. Everybody loved it!


  13. Wow…..impressive cupcake tree! I would be so worried it would knock over. Love how it turned out!

  14. No questions. Just a great, big, wow.

  15. Awesome as always! I could eat every single one!

  16. Wow- this is amazing! Incredible job! It looks so yummy too. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today. 🙂 Happy to find yours!

  17. Hello new fallower of your blog.So happy that i found you : I luv this cupcake tower,very impressiv work and a great tutorial. thanks for shareing. ٠·˙❤ Misbah/Cupcakeluv

  18. I think this is the most beautiful cupcake/fall decoration I have ever seen! I love Fall/Autumn plus all the colors that go with this season plus there are cupcakes involved with this decoration. Thank you for sharing it and also for sharing it step-by-step. Great job!

  19. Brilliant! I’m having 65 in for dinner next week (college team) and wouldn’t this be fun to do?! Wishing you were over here….
    xo Cathy

  20. Fantastic – do you think this would work with normal sized cupcakes?