Christmas Tree Cupcakes...

... and a recipe for Simple Buttercream.

Christmas Tree Cupcake-2094.jpg

Yay! Just less than a month until Christmas!

If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that Christmas is my favourite time of year. The tree goes up just after my birthday (mid November :P) so that I can enjoy the lights and colour for as long as possible. 

To spread the festive cheer I thought I'd make these Christmas tree cupcakes as gifts. I saw these one or two years back and finally got around to trying them out. And, I've made a video for you to see the piping in action.

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They're actually quite simple to make, all you need is a little bit of skill and confidence in the piping department. And if you're not sure you do, make a batch of frosting, and if you're scared you're going to mess up your cupcakes, practice piping your trees on a plate or the counter top. Once you get the hang of the swirl & lift motion, pipe away!

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I recommend a fairly firm frosting. I used simple buttercream for these, but Swiss or Italian Meringue would work just as well. I wouldn't recommend cream cheese frosting as I find that it's never as firm as I'd like.

I hope you enjoy the video (the first Mandy Made video on my site!) and Merry Christmas 2012!



What you'll need:

  • Cupcakes (or a cake)
  • Firm frosting (simple, Italian or Swiss Meringue)
  • Green gel or paste colour (I used Wilton's "Green Leaf")
  • Piping bag
  • Large star tip (I used Wilton's 1M)
  • Tree "decorations" like dragees, sprinkles, edible glitter and stars

How to:

  • Fit the star tip to your piping bag (either with a coupler, or simply snip the end of the bag and drop the tip inside and push out the end until it fits snuggly)
  • Fill your piping bag with green frosting
  • Make sure all the frosting is pushed down near the end, then twist the top of the bag where you'll be holding and squeezing the bag
  • Tip: I find it best to be able to hold the cupcake still with one hand and squeeze the piping bag with one hand, so don't overfill the bag so that you have good control of it. Otherwise, if you're not yet confident enough to pipe with one hand, you can "stick" the cupcake down to your counter with a little bit of frosting to keep it from moving/twisting while you pipe
  • Pipe as you would a normal cupcake swirl, but not from the outer edge of the cupcake, about halfway in
  • Pipe the frosting round, then up and round on itself, about 4 or 5 swirls, piping the circles tighter as your near the top
  • Once piped, decorate and top with little gumpaste stars

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Simple Buttercream

(Enough to pipe 12 Christmas trees with the Wilton 1M tip)


115g Unsalted Butter, room temperature (1/2 cup)

2 cups Powdered / Confectioners Sugar

2 Tbsp Milk

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Pinch of Salt



  • With an electric beater / stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth
  • Sift in half the powdered sugar and mix until combined with the butter and it looks creamy
  • Sift in remaining powdered sugar beat until thoroughly combined
  • Beat in milk, vanilla and salt
  • If colouring, add a small bit of colouring at a time until you reach desired shade
  • Tip: Paste colour is stronger than gel, which is stronger than liquid, so it depends on the type of colouring you use as well as brand, so it's best to add a small amount at a time
  • Pipe, smear, decorate with frosting as desired!
  • Tip: Simple buttercream forms a crust when exposed to air, so if making ahead, cover bowl with clingfilm, then give frosting a quick mixing before using
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Other Tips:

Follow this link for the how-to on making your own fondant stars

I painted my stars with edible gold lustre paint