The #1 Cupcake Stand for Decorating

Cupcakes are an increasingly popular dessert for any occasion.  Whether you’re planning a baby shower, birthday party, or wedding, cupcakes are a delicious, cute, and cost effective way to satisfy your guests’ sweet tooth!

Penguin Cupcake Towers were designed specifically to provide superior results when decorated and are the ideal choice for anyone looking to create an exceptional and unforgettable centerpiece. Combining a classic look with innovative design, Penguin towers are the perfect choice for your event. Our towers are made from high quality 6mm corrugated plastic, producing an ultra-light weight and extremely strong cupcake stand. Order your tower today!

Customer Reviews.

I’ve attached two photos of our cupcake towers. One was a wedding display with a 8 inch cake and 132 cupcakes. the second was done by my 16 year old daughter, Malloree, for her friend’s Sweet 16 party that had a Mardi Gras theme.
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– Kirty (TruffleNation – Baking courses in delhi)

Thank you very much! I order the stand 5 days before  my sister in law’s wedding and it came the day before!  Everyone LOVED my cupcakes! The stand made them look great!!

– Violeta V. Gill

There’s good and bad news. First the bad… Our cupcake stands are only available in what is called “ultra white”. Now for the good news.  The great thing about white is that you can spray paint it whatever color you want just like Britney did in these photos. She said it only took her two coats to achieve the results you see here. I’ve spray painted many of our stands as well and also attempted to spray paint cardboard towers before with very unsatisfactory results. Cardboard absorbs paint unevenly leaving a very blotchy and uneven finish but because our towers are made from plastic they take all kinds of paint exceptionally well.
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– Britney

The Emperor tower is easy to assemble and so lightweight when fully assembled that I carry it into the venue with one hand. Awesome!  It’s easy to attach ribbon with double-sided tape, although it takes about an hour to complete that task (measuring, cutting, taping) for the entire tower.  Worth the effort though, because my clients LOVE the fact that I can customize with their colors.  The 6mm plastic has been sturdy so far, no signs of wear when assembling and disassembling to alter the size.As I’d mentioned to you over the phone, I’ll be posting my recommendation for this tower on the online community board I belong to and hope my fellow cakes take my advice and purchase a stand from Penguin!

Thanks for making a great product at an affordable price!!
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– kristen

“We didn’t have a cake, instead we did chocolate covered strawberries and small dessert bites. The stand was PERFECT and we glued on black ribbon and square doilies, then decorated with tea light candles and roses…”

From Niki in CA

Penguin Pete Update

Pete and our adopted penguins have now left to spend the winter in warmer waters,and the colony is completely deserted. It is a strange feeling walking around the colony when it is quiet and abandoned. It is a mixture of sadness that they have gone, and satisfaction that our work has been successfully carried out for another year. It always feels to me like being left behind in a stadium after all the players and spectators have gone home, with only the memories of the day’s play remaining.

Now that the penguins have left, and our work load has dropped, we have been involved in a series of meetings with government officials to draw up management plans for the colonies. This is extremely important for the long-term protection of the penguins, since working in state owned wildlife reserves, we have only an advisory role in their protection, and it is important to have binding protective measures drawn up to ensure a long-term commitment to the protection of the penguins.

In Europe and North America, for many years management plans have been normal practice for virtually every wildlife reserve. But here in South America wildlife protection is very far behind. This does not mean there is a lack of will locally, on the contrary, the Chilean and Argentine governments have been fully supportive of protection measures for the penguins, and it is thanks to this protection that our colonies in these countries are so healthy.

The problem is simply a lack of money and lack of infrastructure for training and employing specialists to over-see the good intentions. At our colonies in Chile and Argentina, all of which are designated nature reserves, our work is
the only work being carried out to protect these penguins on-site. Government protection comes in the form of legislation to tackle problems which our monitoring work uncovers, but if we were not raising independent funds through our adoption programmer, in order to monitor and protect the penguins, such problems would never come to light.

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Such an example is Contramaestra Island, which is close to Magdalena Island in Chile. Magdalena Island is a designated nature reserve entitled “Monumento de los Pinguinos” because of its importance as home to over 60,000 pairs of penguins. But nearby Contramaestra Island is not part of the reserve, because the Chilean government thought it had nothing worth protecting on it. However in November 2002 we conducted a survey of the island, not expecting to find much of interest from the information provided locally. Instead we found a colony of 25,000 pairs of penguins. With Magdalena Island at maximum capacity, the penguins have enlarged the colony by using nearby Contramaestra Island, without anybody knowing until we did our survey.

With this new information, the government is now drawing up plans to enlarge the designated nature reserve of ‘Los Pinguinos’ to include Contramaestra Island. This is a crucial step, because during the last few years Magdalena Island has suffered two major droughts, causing loose soil to be driven by strong winds across the island, burying large areas of nests. If this climate change continues, the penguins on Magdalena could be under threat, but luckily Contramaestra is much more humid and does not suffer from drought, making it an alternative nesting site for the penguins in the future. None of this would be known without our independent studies and protection work underpinning the government’s desire to protect the penguins by legislation.

The management plans being drawn up will strengthen this partnership between scientific investigation and legislative protection, giving it a more formal status, but will not alter our financial independence from government at all. Our ability to remain economically and politically independent of government and commercial interests is absolutely vital in maintaining our scientific credibility and impartiality. It is my belief that the fencing protecting the chicken house should not be erected by the fox.

The penguins left the colony at just the right moment. The weather here has turned very cold over the last two weeks, with heavy snow falls throughout the region. Down here in the southern tip of South America, we are now in our winter.

The nearer to the poles one lives, the greater the difference in hours of daylight between winter and summer. Near to the equator, there is only a small difference between winter and summer, whilst at the poles, there is continual daylight during mid summer, and continuous night during mid winter.

Down here at the tip of southern South America, in mid summer it is daylight at about 4 o’clock in the morning, and it doesn’t get dark until about 11 o’clock at night. Even between the hours of 11pm and 4am it never gets really dark, there is always some light to see by, rather like a night with a full moon. These very long hours of daylight are good for the penguins, enabling them to catch more food for the chicks, which is why they do their chick-rearing here at this time of year. Penguins need to see the fish to catch them, so longer hours of daylight means more hours during which they can go fishing to feed the chicks.

But now we are in our winter, and the days are very short. It gets dark about 4pm, and does not get light again until about 10am. Even during the day it never really gets sunny. It is always gloomy and grey. This poor quality light makes it difficult for penguins to hunt silvery-grey fish 20 or 30 metres below the water surface, even during the day, which is the main reason penguins migrate towards the equator in winter.

I attach a map showing the location of our study colonies, and to show just how far the penguins must swim to reach Brazil during their winter migration. If somebody in France suggested walking to Egypt for their holidays, people would hardly believe them, but these little penguins travel further than that every year, just to take advantage of the extra daylight.

Magellanic penguins have no real predators as adults, living in areas where the main predators of penguins are not found. The principal predators of penguins, such as Orcas and Leopard seals, feed around Antarctica and sub-Antarctic islands, where Magellanic penguins do not visit, so Magellanic penguins generally live to about 25 years of age, provided that they survive the perils of being a chick. But spending from 4am to 11pm catching food for chicks really wears out the adult penguins, and the winter migration to feeding grounds in Brazil is very important for the penguins, to help them recover physically from efforts of chick-rearing.

When I write again in a few weeks time, Pete will be floating around in the open ocean in the Brazilian sunshine, so that seems a good time for me to give you the results of last season’s scientific studies, prior to the beginning of the
new season of egg-laying and chick-rearing, which begins again in just a few weeks.

Best wishes,

Mike

Rikki and Irma’s Penguin Cupcake Towers

Rikki and Irma were kind enough to send us pictures of their decorated towers and they had several unique ideas that we haven’t seen before and wanted to share with everyone.

The first tower they made for a little girls baptism party. Rikki and Irma used the Emperor Cupcake Tower but because it was for a smaller event they opted to only use the top three tiers instead of the whole tower which can hold over 200 cupcakes.

This works very well and we recommend it to anyone reusing their Emperor towers for smaller events. Because they didn’t cover their tower with material you would normally see the tabs on the topmost tier. They fixed this simply by putting a doily over it. We also liked their use of bows which appear to be held on by push pins making them easily removable. Rikki and Irma put their cupcakes into decorated cups and you know what goes well with that? Good coffee. I personally use coffee makers from Keurig but if that’s a little out of your budget then you can definitely find some cheaper single serve coffee brewers at FreshPresso. From the looks of it, I think they are actual cups that they cut down to size.

These can also be purchased in various designs. Finally we loved their use of tooling around the base of the tower. We’ve never seen this done before and if you’re not going to use the space for cupcakes it’s an excellent idea.

Rikki and Irma’s second tower looks like it was originally designed as a smaller tower and then the bottom tier was added to accommodate a larger number of cupcakes.

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Again they’ve used multiple flavors of cupcakes (I think this is one of the biggest benefits to using cupcakes) so that their guests can pick and choose their favorites. I can’t see what’s written on the cupcake wrappers but this is another excellent idea for incorporating wedding vows or inspirations into your events.

Thank you again to Rikki and Irma

Penguin Pete is on his way home

From Dr. Bingham –

Pete and our adopted penguins will have left the warm sunny waters of Brazil to begin their long journey back home, ready for another season of egg-laying and chick-rearing. It is a very long journey, and the penguins are in no hurry. They travel a little bit further south each day, whilst taking time out to catch plenty of fish, and to float about in the open ocean resting and grooming. For penguins the journey is as much a part of the vacation as where they visit, and they are not expected back in the colony until October.

Whilst the penguins are away from the colony it is impossible for us to give you a detailed report on Pete. Satellite trackers are sometimes used to follow the progress of penguins, but in addition to being very expensive (over US$1,000 each), they cause serious disturbance to the penguins.

A fully grown Magellanic penguin (like Pete) is so perfectly streamlined that it has about the same drag through the water as a medium sized coin. Even the smallest satellite transmitters are about the size of a packet of cigarettes, so they cause a very significant increase in drag to the penguin. This additional drag reduces the speed at which the penguin can swim, and causes the penguin to use more energy.

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Putting a satellite transmitter on a penguin is like putting a small rucksack full of books on a person, to carry around 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, making every task slower and more tiring. Penguins hampered in such a way can never be as competitive at catching food or raising chicks as other penguins. Imagine a football or tennis player having to play with a rucksack. That is why satellite transmitters are very rarely used on penguins by reputable scientists.

So whilst we are waiting for our penguins to return home to begin a new season, it seems a good moment to share with you the results of last season’s research. I attach a series of graphs showing the progress of our penguins at our three main adoption sites, Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands.

Try not to be put off by the graphs, which are not too hard to follow using the following guidelines. Running along the bottom of each graph is the date, beginning in October 2010 and running until February or March 2011 (eg. 18/01 = 18th January 2011). (This is the average date for the colony as a whole, and may differ from the date for your actual penguin). Up the left hand side is the percentage of eggs and/or chicks surviving week by week, beginning at 100% when the eggs are first laid, and gradually dropping down as some eggs and then chicks are lost. The less the line drops below 100%, the higher the breeding success, with more chicks surviving.

The most successful colony by far last year was Cabo Virgenes in Argentina, with 77% of all eggs laid in the colony producing a chick that was successfully reared to leave the colony and begin life on its own. Since each penguin couple lays two eggs in their nest, that means an average breeding success of 1.54 chicks per nest for the colony (ie. 154 chicks successfully reared to begin life on their own for every 100 nests in the colony).

Just 1 chick per nest (50% of eggs surviving) would be considered good, so 1.54 chicks per nest (77% of eggs surviving) is exceptionally good. In fact it is the most successful season ever recorded in Argentina, and continues the successful trend of the previous 4 years (2006/07 = 1.40, 2007/08 = 1.40, 2008/09 = 0.98, 2009/10 = 1.30). It is clear that the colony at Cabo Virgenes in Argentina is in very good health, with plenty of food available, and high breeding success. The large numbers of chicks being reared each year is leading to an increase in population at this colony.

The second graph is for Chile. Here things are very different due to a severe drought that struck Magdalena Island during the last two years. In Chile there was an average breeding success of only 0.80 chicks per nest (only 40% of eggs survived to produce a healthy chick that left the colony to begin life on its own). The cause of this low breeding success was severe drought that caused the grass to die off, allowing the loose soil to be blown across the island day after day in the strong winds. The penguins live in burrows, and despite the best efforts of the adults, many burrows simply got filled up by the huge quantities of soil being blown around 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We worked around the clock freeing trapped penguins, but with around 65,000 penguin nests and only 3 people on the island, there was a limit to how much we could do. The drought lasted two years in all, and the season before was even worse, averaging just 0.46 chicks per nest (23% of eggs surviving).

Thankfully the drought is now over, and the grass has begun to grow back across the island, so hopefully the crisis is now over. When not struck by drought, Magdalena Island has high breeding success, averaging well over 1 chick per nest, so the population is stable and not under threat, unless climate change causes the drought to occur more frequently.

Finally, the Falkland Islands showed the lowest breeding success of any Magellanic penguin colony, as always, due to lack of control over the Falklands fishing industry. Here average breeding success for the colony was just 0.46 chicks per nest (23% of eggs surviving). Commercial fishing vessels catch so much fish and squid that adult penguins are unable to find enough food to feed their chicks, leading to very low breeding success and a 90% population decline over the last 20 years. (Populations in Argentina and Chile have increased over the same period as a result of control over commercial fishing in these countries).

We have tried relentlessly since 1997 to persuade the Falkland Islands Government to establish no-fishing zones around penguin colonies, but they just refuse to do so, and the penguins continue to decline For more information visit www.falklands.net, or view our scientific paper “Bingham (2002) The decline of Falkland Islands penguins in the presence of a commercial fishing industry. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural 75: 805-818.” at www.seabirds.org/resume.htm#bookmark1, or view my book “The Falklands Regime” www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/ItemDetail.aspx?bookid=27877

I will write to you again at the end of October, by which time Pete should be back home in the nest and close to egg-laying.

Best wishes,

Mike

Penguin Pete’s vacation is over… it’s egg time.

Dear Penguin Cupcake Towers

Our adopted penguins are now back home after their winter vacations in sunnyBrazil. After weeks of hot sunny weather, it is now back to the cold windy weather of Patagonia. The penguins do not remain in pairs during the winter, so the first thing the adults must do after arriving back in the colony is to reunite with their old partner.

The males arrive back at the colony about 10 days before the females, in order to be certain that they are ready and waiting at the nest when the females arrive. Females will begin looking for a new partner if her previous partner is not at home when she returns, because the eggs growing inside her must be fertilised quickly so that she can lay them. So it is important for the males to be punctual.

The storms damaged the burrow during the winter, filling it with loose soil and causing the roof to partially collapse. So once the penguins paired up, they set about repairing the burrow, and collecting new grass to line the nest, so as to make it nice and soft for the eggs and chicks.

The eggs were laid a few days ago, and I attach a photo of your penguin lying over the eggs to protect them and to keep them warm. Magellanic penguins nearly always lay two eggs, and this was no exception. The eggs weigh about 125g each, which is about the same weight as two hen eggs. Eggs as big as that take some laying, and there was a gap of four days between laying the first egg and laying the second. The eggs will now take about six
weeks to hatch.

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The eggs won’t hatch at all unless the adults keep them nice and warm. So the adults must remain lying over the eggs all the time, day and night, for the next six weeks, so that the warmth from their bodies can keep the eggs warm. They take it in turns to do this. One adult goes out to sea to catch fish and to rest, whilst the other keeps the eggs warm. Then after two or three days they change over, and they keep changing over every two or three days throughout the six weeks.

Gradually a tiny cell smaller than a grain of salt grows into a little baby penguin inside the egg, using the yolk of the egg as food. When the baby penguins are nearly ready to hatch, they start calling from inside the egg, talking to the parents, and to their brother or sister in the other egg. This helps them to know when it is time to break out of the egg.

The actual hatching can be a long and tiring job for the baby penguins. The egg shell is hard and strong. It has to be so as not to break. And the tiny baby penguins inside have very little strength, and struggle to break the shell. Thankfully they have a little spike on the tip of their beak, called an egg tooth, which they use to chip at the egg from inside, but it can take the chicks up to 2 days to break the shell, and another day to struggle free.

You might think that the adults would try to help, but being penguins they have no hands, only large clumsy beaks and large clumsy feet. The tiny chicks are very fragile, and easily injured, so it is safer for the chicks to do it themselves, in order to avoid being accidentally hurt.

Anyway, that is still six weeks away, and as the saying goes, one must not count one’s chickens before they have hatched. For the next six weeks the adults must keep a careful eye open for large gulls, called skuas, that would try to steal the eggs if given half a chance. As long as the adults remain lying over the eggs, the eggs are safe, but if an adult becomes distracted squabbling with a neighbor, or leaves the eggs exposed for too long whilst changing over with the partner, a passing skua will readily swoop into the burrow and snatch the egg in its beak as quick as a flash.

Thankfully the adult penguins are very well equipped to chase off predators, using their powerful beak which has a large hook at the tip. A bite from a Magellanic penguin inflicts a deep cut, more than enough to persuade a skua to move along. The adult penguins are too strong and aggressive to be at risk from any predators on land, so the eggs and chicks are safe from predators, so long as the adults don’t leave them exposed.

Magellanic penguins are very adaptable, and can lay their eggs in a wide variety of habitats. Here on Magdalena Island in Chile, the soil is sufficiently firm to allow the penguins to dig burrows, which give excellent protection for the eggs and chicks, from predators and from bad weather. However at Cabo Virgenes in Argentina, the soil is too dry and sandy to allow deep burrows. The burrow would simply collapse if the penguins attempted to dig too deep. So instead the penguins nest underneath bushes, which give some protection from predators and bad weather, but not so much protection as a burrow.

Looking after the eggs is a big responsibility – keeping them warm, keeping them safe from predators, and keeping them dry when it rains, for six long weeks. I will write to you again when the eggs have hatched.

Best wishes,

Mike