Buttercream Frosting: There are many recipes for buttercream frosting and this is Kelly Delaney’s favorite because it is easy to make and tastes great. She highly recommends it for decorating your cakes. Frosting is also available in grocery stores, but if you have the time you may wish to try making your own.

l pound unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1⁄2 cups sugar
6 large egg whites


1. Whip butter in a 5-quart bowl of an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
2. Combine the sugar and egg whites in another 5-quart bowl.
3. Set the sugar and egg whites bowl over a pot of barely simmering water (ban marie) and whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and egg whites are warm (testing like a baby’s bottle, warm to touch on your wrist).
4. Remove from stove and whip on electric mixer on high speed until mixture forms stiff peaks.
5. Switch the whip attachment to a paddle attachment. Add whipped butter, a little at a time, mixing until well incorporated. (The longer you mix it, the lighter and better the buttercream is to work with.)

Note: The frosting can be made 72 hours in advance. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of Kelly Delaney, Cakes for Occasions, 2009.

What an interesting treat for this Christmas. There are a few extra tips and tricks in this video but you can do it with the basic decorating tools. Use basic butter cream frosting, a piping bag, #67 and #3 tips, and an offset spatula.

You’ll need to create a cone shape of frosting on top of the cupcake; this is the foundation for the tree and is what gives it its height. To do this, apply pressure, squeeze and pull bag up.

Using your piping bag with green colored frosting and your leaf tip (#67), start at the bottom of the cone and create one leaf at a time by using the bag to squeeze, release and pull. Turn the cupcake as you go around and make your leaves. Work your way up in layers.

Using your piping bag with red colored frosting and your round tip (#3), pipe on “garland” by applying a little pressure to the bag and go around the tree.

Garnish your tree with silver and gold dragees.

Tip: Before traveling with your tree cupcakes, chill them in the refrigerator to ensure they are kept in place. Cupcakes can be made in advanced and kept in refrigerator.

Are we ready to make some Christmas trees? We've got our cupcakes. We have our pastry bag. I filled it with the buttercream.

I have the coupling on here with no tip. We're going to need to use this to start. So we're going to take the frosting. And we're going to pipe on the frosting right over the cupcake, on both cupcakes, just like that.

Don't worry how much you put on, because you're going to be removing some. And you can always add more if you're the type that likes to have extra frosting.

You have your cupcake and your frosting. You're going to move the buttercream over the cupcake like a mushroom. You're going to go right over the edge, just like that. So you have it right over the edge.

You're going to take your offset spatula. And you're going to now remove the edge of the mushroom by just cutting it right off, just like that. I'll show you again.

You've got your cupcake. You're going to push the frosting right over the edge. And then you're going to remove it.

Now, to make the Christmas tree-- this is a little tip. You've got your frosting. We don't have a tip bag on it.

We need to make that cone shape inside to give it the height. So in the middle of the cupcake, we're going to pipe frosting. And we're going to come right up, just like that.

It doesn't look like much now. But believe me, it's going to look like a tree when we're done. We'll start again over on this one. We're going to put the bag here. And we're just going to pipe right up, just like that.

These are more of an intermediate cupcake. So if you're already a beginner decorator, not quite the advanced decorator, but you want to train yourself and learn to do more things, this cupcake is a great way to start.

So we've piped up our frosting. Now we're going to take our green bag that has the leaf tip on it. It's the number 67 leaf tip. And we're going to literally start from the bottom and then go up.

A lot of people start at the top and go down, and they don't understand why they didn't get that definition. It's starting at the bottom and then bringing it up. It's going to make your tree look fatter. And it's going to bring it to the height that you need.

So you're going to start down here. And you're going to pipe. And you're going to push, release, and pull. So you're going to pipe, push, release, and pull, all around the cupcake, just like that. This is something that you can do days in advance, too. With cupcakes, a lot of people think that they need to get them done right away.

This is a great thing to do if you have some time. You're going to a party later on in the week, and you want to spend some time working on these. Do these a few days ahead of time. And you can pop them in your refrigerator and they're ready to go, too. And using the pipe we go up, right up the next level, just like that.

And what I'm doing is I'm doing rings of leaves. So I started at the base. I covered that.

I did a second row. And now I'm going on to the third row. And by doing that, and rather than going up and down, it gives that definition that you'll want to have for your tree.

As you get closer to the top, you're going to angle your bag at an angle. So you're going to actually bring the branch down, if you will. Because otherwise, it'll just look like it's flaming out the sides, and you don't want to have that. You want it to look like it's hanging down. And again, my last row, just like this.

And then for the top, just push it right up. And there you go. So there's your tree. Looks like you just brought it home from the Christmas tree farm.

Now we're going to decorate it. We've got our red bag. We're going to be using the number three tip.

And we're going to make a garland that's going to go around the tree. We're going to start at the top. Whereas the leaves, we started at the bottom, now we start at the top.

We're going to start here, and we're going to literally just pipe around the tree, just like this. Like a spiral, if you will, that goes all around the tree. Now, we're also going to decorate it with some dragees. We have silver dragees. And we're also going to use some gold dragees, just as a little contrast on the Christmas tree.

I like to put the gold dragee on top, like the star. So that goes just like that. And then I put a few more around the base. And then I finish with the silver.

Do yourself a favor and use the gold or the silver first, and then switch colors. That way you give it more of a uniform look. It looks like you just placed it together, but it gives it a more finished, professional look.

The great thing about decorating is you and I are the only ones that know what you're trying to make. So if it doesn't come out just right, decorating is code for creating and just making it up as you go along. These you're going to want to refrigerate before you travel with, too, because I piped up the frosting. You don't want to just take these now, hop in the car, and drive down to your friend's house, because they're going to fall over.

So that's why I recommend doing them well in advance, so they're going to get hard and then they're going to chill in the refrigerator. And then you can take off when you're ready to go.

So have fun. Those are a great way to start and a great way to learn. And if you can master these, we can be moving on to more of what I call the expert cupcakes.

Christmas Tree Cupcake
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