The holiday season is busy for everyone, and yet we seem to put extra pressure on ourselves by trying to outdo one another with impressive holiday baking feats. Whether it’s for neighbor gifts or white elephant parties or family gatherings, we always seem to need a Christmas dessert we can bring. But if you need to make a quick and simple treat that looks impressive, these Christmas Tree Cupcakes are perfect for you.
Now here’s the thing about these cupcakes. First of all, the thing that makes them impressive is the decorating. So there’s no need to get fancy with the cupcakes themselves. Save yourself some trouble and buy some premade cupcakes from your local bakery or use your favorite boxed cake mix to make some. The flavor doesn’t matter, so pick whatever kind you like, or choose a variety.
While decorating cupcakes can seem like a difficult procedure for a beginner, this process really is very simple and forgiving. You’ll need a few supplies to make it all work, but once you do your first one, you’ll get the actions down and have no problem with the rest.
Here’s what you’ll need.
- 6 prebaked cupcakes
- 2 cans, store-bought vanilla frosting
- green food dye
- Ice Cream Cones, waffle cones
To begin, decide how big you want your trees to be. This usually depends on how big your cupcakes are. If you’ve got a nice sturdy base with a big cupcake, you can just use your whole ice cream cone. But if your cupcake is a little smaller, you may need to trim your tree, so to speak.
To do so, grab your serrated knife, and slowly and carefully cut your cone down to your preferred size. Pay special attention to how hard you are pressing while sawing back and forth. Rotate the cone as you cut for a cleaner look. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect – you’ll be able to fix it with frosting.
Now we need to frost our cupcakes. You can absolutely just use a spoon, knife or spatula to spread some frosting on top if you would like. Most of it will be covered up by the tree, so it’s not a problem if you want to keep it simple. But if you want to practice your piping skills, this is a great opportunity to do so while knowing that if you screw it up, it literally does not matter.
Add about half a cup of plain white frosting to a piping bag fitted with a 1M star tip. Starting in the center of your cupcake, pipe a star. Now, make a circle of frosting around the star to create a rosette. Be sure to apply even and steady pressure the entire time. EASY!
The reason I suggest trying this is because it gives you a feel for the piping action you’ll be using in the next step. Plus it’s just good practice.
Now, take your ice cream cones, and place them upside down into the frosting. Be sure they are standing straight. Add a little extra frosting to one side or the other if you need to balance it.
Dye the remaining frosting green with some food dye, then add it to a piping bag fitted with a small star tip.
Now, remember the action you used to create the first star in the middle of the cupcake? That’s the same action you’ll be using to create your tree. You’ll squeeze your bag while pressing against the cone, stop squeezing, then pull away. This will give you perfect short stars without “tails.” Of course, if you want your tree to have a shaggier look, then you can keep squeezing as you pull, but it will look messier.
Starting at the bottom of the cone and moving around in a circle, start piping the tree with stars. Move up until the entire tree is covered. Once you are finished, check for any empty spots and fill them in with a star.
Now you’re ready to give them as gifts or take them to your next holiday party. Who wouldn’t love to dig into a gorgeous Christmas tree cupcake?? And they really do look quite impressive, don’t they?
If you want to create even more of a scene, try trimming your cones to different sizes so you can make your trees have some height differences. These are also great for decorating your gingerbread houses!
Now that you know the secret of decorating cupcakes, I hope you’ll give these a try. Let me know how you get on. And as always, if you like them, don’t forget to share!