Ingredients

Tools Needed for decorating cupcakes: Cupcakes, buttercream frosting, food coloring (to color your buttercream), melting chocolate, scissors, off-set spatula, piping bag, parchment paper, silver and gold dragees and tips (see notes below for specific tip numbers). Cupcakes-make from scratch with a recipe you find or buy a box of mix from grocery store. Buttercream , melting chocolate, parchment paper, and  food coloring -use recipe or buy frosting at a grocery store, food coloring colors to use include red, green, and you’ll want to make a skin toned color. Scissors, off-set spatula, piping bag, silver and gold dragees and tips-purchase at any crafts store.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.

Directions

1. Take your piping bag and rub to open. With scissors, cut an opening at the bottom. (Tip-never cut too big, you can’t go back once you’ve cut, but you can always make bigger if need be). 
2. Place coupler inside bag where slit is and fold bag down like making a cuff on a pant leg, fill with white frosting and squish bag down so frosting is at bottom of bag.
3. Pipe frosting onto cupcake by squeeze bag and releasing.
4. Take off-set spatula and smooth over top of frosting like you’re creating a mushroom then use the off-set spatula around the sides of the cupcake to remove the excess frosting and to clean the cupcake up. (Tip:  wipe the excess frosting from your spatula onto the edge of a bowl. You can always re-use this frosting).
5. Put green colored frosting into a piping bag and place a leaf tip (#67) into the slit with coupler over it.
6. To make your wreath, hold the piping bag, go counter clockwise, and apply pressure and squeeze and break to make a leaf. Go right around in a circle, one leaf at a time.
7. Use your silver dragees to garnish. Please one on each leaf.
8. Put red colored frosting into a piping bag and use a round tip (#3) to pipe on the “red ribbon”. Start counter clockwise and apply a little pressure. Go right around just like a shoe lace. Recipe courtesy of Kelly Delaney, Cakes For Occasions, 2010.

If cake decorating is something that you have always wanted to try, but have never dared to try, now is the time. There are many cake decorating classes being offered at local community colleges throughout the country, but Kelly Delaney, Owner of Cakes for Occasions who received her culinary education from the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland and the Cordon Bleu in London., will show you the tricks and techniques in a series of videos she has made for your benefit. There are three Christmas related cupcakes – a Christmas Tree, a Santa Face and this week’s Christmas Wreath.

Hi. It's the holiday time. And I'm here to teach you how to decorate cupcakes for your family and friends. Great gift ideas. Great things to have at home, and to impress everyone.

We all know what it's like. We're watching TV these days. And we're seeing all these great, fabulous cakes. And you say, I'd love to be able to do that myself.

So let me show you how. You're going to need a few tools. The first tool that you're going to want to have is just a regular pair of scissors, everyday kitchen scissors.

Then you're going to want to go ahead out to the craft store and purchase a few things if you don't already have them at home. First is an offset spatula. There's two types.

There's an offset which is like this, at an angle. And there's a straight edge spatula, which is straight. You're really going to want to find which one's comfortable for you, but I recommend using the offset.

The third thing you want to get is pastry bags. These pastry bags are cone shaped. They are used to put your filling in. These are a great thing to have at home. Because whether you're going to be making cookies, or making cupcakes, or decorating cakes, or even filling ravioli, they're perfect to have.

Then you want to purchase a number of different kind of tips is to have. And we'll go through those tips what you're going to need for cupcakes. So let's just get started.

So you have your pastry bag that you're going to want to use. You're going to want to open it up. You take your two hands. And you're just literally gong to rub it together to open up the bag. And it pulls right apart. You're going to take your scissors and cut a slit.

Now this is the tricky. Part make sure you don't cut the hole bigger, because you can't go back. You can always start smaller, and then make it bigger if you need to. You're going to fold it over and slice it.

The white part of the tips are called a coupling. Take the coupling and insert it into the pastry bag all the way down. And you're going to squish it out, keeping it inside so it holds firmly.

Then what you want to do is take your bag. Fold it over like a cuff on your pants. Fold it right over. And you can use your hand. And you'll know it's working right because you're using your hand almost like a puppet. So you can move the bag.

Then you're going to want to fill it with your frosting. What we use is a buttercream frosting. You could use your own buttercream frosting recipe.

There's also great store bought frostings, too. So if you don't have time, you can always use the store bought. So don't be afraid.

Then you're going to want to take your bag and squish it down. This white coupling, this is kind of like an adjuster. You can actually add all your silver tips to this. So you're never going to replace this, except when you need to take it out of your bag. But you're never going to need to replace it for decorating.

So you take your frosting. And we're going to squish it on to the cupcake. So you're just going to pipe it on, just like that. Don't worry about putting too much on, or too little on.

You're going to find exactly what you need. Some people like a lot of frosting. Some people don't want that much frosting.

So you're going to pipe out your frosting, just like that. Now you take your offset spatula that you have. I describe putting on crossing like a mushroom. So you have your frosting on top. And you literally just want to cover your frosting over your cupcake, going over the cupcake, not going just to the edge.

That's one of the tricks on this. Because a lot of people think they have to go right to the edge. Then you're going to hold your offset straight up. And you're going to literally just twirl your cupcake right around. Turn the spatula right around it, just like that.

And then you take the same the offset. You're going to cut right across to make it smooth. If you worried, and you went right to the edge, and you didn't want to go over, you would never get this straight, smooth, frosting. And this is what you want to get. This is the exact look.

We'll try it again. I'll do it with one more. So we have our cupcake. We piped it on, the frosting. We're going to make it like a mushroom, and go right over the edge.

This is the time, too, that if you think you need to add more, go ahead and add more. It goes right over the edge, just like that. Take your offset. Hold it straight up. And then just cut across and remove the excess frosting.

Once you master this, and you learn to put your frosting on just smooth, you could almost leave your cupcakes just like this. Sprinkle it with some M&Ms or some candy. And you're going to already impress your guests.

But we're going to take it one step farther. This is for the beginning part on decorating. So we're going to make some wreath cupcakes.

What we're going to need is we're going to need a few little tools. The first one is a leaf tip. Now tips, when you buy them at the store, they all come numbered. This leaf tip is number 67. This is a perfect size leaf tip for what we're going to be using it for.

The next tip we're going to need is just a basic round tip. This is a number five tip. This is a great tool to have, too. Because this comes in handy for other things that we're going to be doing later on.

You're going to take you pastry bag. And you're going to pipe out the green leaves. And we're going to make a whole wreath going around with individual leaves.

Let me show you how. We're going to go counterclockwise. We're going to start off by applying pressure. We're going to push, and then stop an break. So we're going to go right through, going push, stop, and then break. That's going to give you the definition that you're going to need to make that perfect wreath cupcake.

Take your time until you get it right. Just go right through moving the cupcake, using the back and applying pressure right along. As you get going and you get faster, you'll be able to go right through these cupcakes seamlessly.

Next thing we're going to use are some silver dragees. A lot of times during the holidays, when you go to the local grocery store, you're going see these little silver balls. They come in silver and they come in gold. They're called dragees. You probably often wonder what you use them for.

Now we're going to be using them on cupcakes. You can also use them on cookies. You're going to take your silver balls, which look just like ornaments. And you're going to place them right on each leaf. You can go every other leaf.

You can put them right on top. You can use as many or as little as you'd like. And there's your silver dragees as your balls.

You're going to want to take now the round tip, the number five tip that we talked about, on the red bag. And we're going to pipe our bow. Our bow is much like a shoelace. So we're going to do two loops, and then two tails.

We're going to start off right in the middle, and pipe one loop. I always like to work counterclockwise. It helps me keep things even. I'm going to go right through and do another loop.

Then you're going to break away. And you're going to pipe two tails just like that. And here you have your most beautiful Christmas wreath that's so easy to do.

You have all your tools. You have your color. You have your pastry bags. You're ready to go. And people are going to love them.

Christmas Wreath Cupcakes
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