*Please note: I am just a parent who is a fan of the TV show “Cupcake Wars” and created a Cupcake Wars birthday party theme that celebrates the fun of the show. This post is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by The Food Network. All ideas and opinions expressed here as part of my kids birthday parties posts are my own.
My family and I are huge fans of many shows on the Food Network- “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”, “Chopped”, and “Iron Chef” to name just a few- but we especially love “Cupcake Wars”, which inspired us to create a Cupcake Wars birthday party for my daughter. And the kids absolutely loved it!
If you haven't seen the show, it consists of a series of challenges pitting four bakeries against one another. Each team has a head baker and an assistant, and the teams are challenged to come up with tasty and beautifully decorated cupcakes to please the panel of judges.
In some of the challenges they are required to use specific ingredients, and in other challenges, they are expected to develop cupcakes that fit a particular theme. The show always ends with the “Final Challenge” between the top two bakeries, where they need to prepare 1000 cupcakes to fit a specific theme for the client's event.
It is so fun to watch what the bakeries come up with- so we took the concept of the show, and changed it up a bit to make it a great birthday party idea for an 8-year old girl! Here's what we did:
Cupcake Wars Birthday Party Invitation
You'll find a download link to the free printable invite as well as a free printable thank you note at the end of this post. You can either fill in the party information by hand or upload the image to PicMonkey This is an affiliate link: MomOf6 earns a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. to add text. (Check out my tutorial on how to use PicMonkey to create birthday party invitations!)
Cupcake Wars Birthday Party Setup
On the TV show “Cupcake Wars”, the bakeries are required to create the batter from scratch and bake the cupcakes before decorating them. I knew that we wouldn't have time to get through several rounds of baking cupcakes in a 2-hour birthday party. So I baked four different types of cupcakes ahead of time- vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, and red velvet. I just used box cake mix to bake 2-dozen cupcakes of each flavor.
Next, I created a toppings area that the girls could choose from to flavor their frostings and decorate their cupcakes. I included chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, Heath bar bits, powdered sugar, cocoa, Hershey syrup, marshmallow fluff, and a selection of fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and bananas.
I put out a large selection of cupcake sprinkles This is an affiliate link: MomOf6 earns a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. and also had supplies so the kids could create cupcakes fillings from puddings or instant chocolate mousse.
There was an area set aside for tools where the girls could grab bowls, spoons, piping bags This is an affiliate link: MomOf6 earns a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. and piping tips This is an affiliate link: MomOf6 earns a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. for the icing as they prepared their cupcake toppings.
And I had an area set aside for presentation- where the guests could grab plates, forks, knives, as well as plasticware and bakeware that they could use to create their final cupcake display.
My husband and I each were assigned to one of the teams- so we could guide the girls through coming up with ideas for cupcakes- as well as navigating our kitchen to make their ideas come to life!
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Getting the Cupcake Wars Birthday Party Started!
Since I knew what we would be doing would be messy, I wanted to give each of the party guests aprons to use that they could wear while decorating their cupcakes.
When the girls arrived, they found their personalized apron (you can buy the blank aprons here This is an affiliate link: MomOf6 earns a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. and then use iron-on letters This is an affiliate link: MomOf6 earns a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. to personalize them) waiting for them on their table, and they were allowed to select from a bowl full of additional iron-on patches This is an affiliate link: MomOf6 earns a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. to decorate their aprons.
They brought their apron and patches over to an “ironing station” that I set up in the kitchen, and I ironed the patches onto their aprons for them- which they took home as one of their party favors.
Cupcake Wars Birthday Party Order of Events
Fans of the show know that Justin Willman serves as the host of “Cupcake Wars”, so we wanted to have our own host, and my 10-year-old son Jack volunteered for the job! I created a script for him that would explain everything that the “bakers” needed to do in the three different challenges (and Jack loved having this role at his sister's party!). You can download our full script for use at your own party at the bottom of this post!
“Are you all ready for our first competition? Let's get started. The first competition is a challenge of “taste”. You can pick from one of the four cupcake flavors on the counter- they are strawberry, vanilla, red velvet, and chocolate. Your job is to create a delicious cupcake topping that goes along with whichever flavor of cupcake you choose.
Judges will be determining the best cupcake based only taste, not on how it looks. Remember- you can put icing on your cupcake, you can use candy, sprinkles, and other toppings, and you can also put some filling inside of your cupcake. The choice is yours. But here's the catch- you have to use at least three of the ingredients on the counter.
And you need to pick one sweet topping, one fruit topping, and the flavor of your icing needs to be something other than plain vanilla frosting. So, teams, you have 10 minutes! Start brainstorming your ideas and let's get started! ”
Of course you can't have a “Cupcake Wars” event without judges, right? Luckily Lili has three other brothers willing to step in and do the job- tasting the cupcakes, offering their opinions for improvements, and selecting a winner for each round!
“This time around the judges will be choosing the best cupcake based 50% on how it tastes and 50% on how it looks. So it's time to make sure that your cupcakes look as delicious as they taste.
Here you will pick two different cake bases and we are going to allow teams to take turns choosing which type of cupcake you want to use. So Bakery __, since you lost the first round you will get to pick first. Would you prefer to work with strawberry, vanilla, red velvet, or chocolate cupcakes?
You have 15 minutes to create two delicious cupcakes. And they better be beautiful to look at and “wow” the judges! Ready? Go!”
We took a break between the 2nd and 3rd challenges for the girls to sit down and have some pizza, that I had ordered in advance. (Normally I like to prepare a home-cooked lunch at our parties, but we were already doing enough cooking!)
“In our final round, you will have a chance to make your perfect your cupcakes from round 2. Based on the suggestions from the judges- you’ll want to improve your cupcakes from round 2, and in round 3 you have to decorate ALL of the cupcakes in your flavor.
You will be judged on taste and overall presentation. Today’s theme is: Birthday Party! You’ll need all of your decorated cupcakes presented in a way that fits that theme. You’ll have 20 minutes for this challenge! Go!”
Wrapping It All Up
We ended the party with every guest grabbing their favorite cupcake so that we could sing “Happy Birthday” to my daughter, Lili Ann.
Each guest took home two boxes of cupcakes in these pink boxes This is an affiliate link: MomOf6 earns a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. their party favor (along with her apron). You can download the free printable box tag below! Our party guests had a great time, and my daughter adored her “Cupcake Wars” birthday party!
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Ready to Download The Free Party Printables?
Awesome! Simply sign up below to join the MomOf6 community, and you'll be directed to a thank you page with access instructions! The download includes the Cupcake Wars party invitation, thank you note, and cupcake box favor tags, as well the “show script” for your party!
Check out some more awesome Tween Birthday Party Ideas:
- The Amazing Race Birthday Party
- Escape Room Birthday Party
- Minute to Win It Birthday Party
- Spa Birthday Party
- Art Birthday Party
- “Cutthroat Kitchen” Birthday Party
Check out all of our Kids Birthday Parties here:
How to Throw Your Own Kids Birthday Parties at Home!
Looking for Some More Great Party Games, Crafts, & Activities for Kids?
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or Shop for These Awesome Party Games!
Would your son or daughter love this Cupcake Wars birthday party? I'd love to hear about it if you hold one too!
How do you put filling in the cupcakes if you bake them before-hand? Thx
Sharon Rowley says
We used a small spoon to scoop out some fo the cake and replaced it with piped in filling!
I cannot find the link to subscribe and get the free cupcake wars invite printable
As a mom of 5, I am excited to get many tips from you.
Sharon Rowley says
Hi there Kim!
The link is right there at the bottom of the post inside of the blue box that says “Join the MomOf6 community”! Once you subscribe, you’ll be directed to the printables!
Erin McEowen says
This party idea is FANTASTIC! I just did this for my daughter’s 10th birthday and it was a blast!!!!!! Thank you for sharing this idea!
Sharon Rowley says
I’m so glad to hear it! Thanks for coming back here after the party and leaving a comment!
Great post. Thanks!! 🙂
I signed up to get the printable, but instead got a link (or one more step).
I have subscribed to your blog, but I don’t know where to find the script for the Cupcake Wars party.
You have to subscribe within the post- not in the blog header, and the printables will download automatically for you-
Love this idea! You mentioned in the post that you posted the script your son used at the bottom of the post, but I don’t see it…..would you be willing to share?
It’s part of the party download- simply subscribe to the MomOf6 newsletter and it will automatically download!
Mo St. Pierre says
I am doing a cupcake part on Sunday and ordered aprons from oriental trading company and do not like them. They are way too small for 11 years old. Would love to know where you purchased the aprons.
Try these: http://www.michaels.com/back-to-basics-child-apron-5pack/M10195298.html?dwvar_M10195298_color=White#start=1. I’ve used them for several of our parties and they are great.
Andrea Loftin says
Where did you buy your aprons and the darling take home boxes?! We are doing this for my daughters 11th birthday party? THis week
I know this post is old so I don’t know if you’ll reply, but I am using this as a template for my daughter’s party and wanted to know some numbers. I saw that you had 8 girls divided into 2 teams of 4. Did each girl decorate 1 cupcake each for round 1 & 2 and then they did the rest in round 3? I’m trying to determine how many cupcakes I need for my party of 13 girls.
I love your blog, thanks for much for the inspiration on ideas, parenting and life. I hope you are enjoying good health!
I try to respond to all of my comments- not matter when I wrote the post! In the first round the teams created just one cupcake and in the second round the teams created two cupcakes. In the final round they had to decorate all of the remaining cupcakes in their chosen flavor. For this party I baked 4 different flavors of cupcakes, 2 dozen of each flavor.
Thank you so much for your kind words- I am doing great! 🙂
Aimee Landreneau says
In round 2, did they create two cupcakes of different flavors? Thanks!
Yes- they each chose 2 different flavors in round 2. Have a great party!
Great idea!! We are planning on doing this for my daughter’s 13th!
Just a couple questions….
What recipe did you use for the frosting? How much time did you allow for each round?
I use the same recipe for frosting my cupcakes as I do my cookies: https://www.momof6.com/cooking-with-the-kids/halloween-pumpkin-cookies-ideas-halloween-party/. The timing is all there in the post- we allowed 10 minutes for the 1st round, 15 for the 2nd and 20 for the 3rd. I hope you have a great party!
Where did you buy the aprons?
Did each team of four create only one cupcake per round? How did they decide who did the icing, topping, etc? I would imagine there would be differences (to put it mildly) over who got to do what.
Yes, where did you get your pink boxes! I can find any like them! Thanks!
I bought them online years ago- when I did a cooking party for my daughter. And we’ve used them for a few parties since then. I think mine are the 7x7x4″ ones. Here’s a link to a place that is selling them now: http://www.brpboxshop.com/pink-cupcake-boxes.html
Haley Logan says
Hi, you’re truly a life saver ! This is such an awesome idea and I am totally going to use it! Thanks !
The only thing I wanted to know – are the amounts;
How many cupcakes of each flavour did you make? and of frosting?
I made 24 of each cupcake flavor and one large batch of frosting that the kids could flavor as part of the “competition”!
Martine Peel says
What a fab idea – my daughter is desperate to have the same party! How many teams did you have, and how many kids on each team? Thanks for the brilliant idea Martine
We divided the party guests into two teams (4 girls each). This allows everyone to have a job during the decorating competitions! Have a great party!
That’s great – thanks a million x
Candice Podvorec says
Where do you get cup cake boxes. My daughter is excited about doing this party!
Jamie Perry says
I am planning my daughter’s 9th birthday party with the same theme so I am really excited to come across your ideas! Love the part of having someone play the host, I hadn’t thought of that. Where did you get the aprons and how did you do the letters?
Nicola Wright says
Great ideas! I am terrible at leaving the planning of parties until the last minute -love your ideas… thank you!!!
My advice is to keep it simple and fun- and at home! I don’t believe in doing anything elaborate like you see on Pinterest- it is beautiful- but I don’t have that much time! 🙂
Jill Scott says
What an awesome birthday party. I love it!
Thanks Jill! It was so much fun!