Friday, December 16, 2011

How to make Oh Christmas Tree

Remember these?
Last night, I didn't really have time (ok, so less energy than anything) to put together a tutorial on how I made these little delights. As I said, they were inspired by these...but mine did NOT turn out like them. I still liked them, and boy were they tasty!

Tip #1:
Make certain you have EVERYTHING you need before you start. I discovered I didn't have a mini cupcake pan after I'd already mixed my batter. And also discovered I didn't have any food coloring until I'd already been to the store. Twice.

Ok, start with your mini cupcakes. I chose mini because I was making enough for two classes (50 total), and they were for a holiday party which would have other treats. I made a few big cupcakes, too with the leftover batter and they worked well with the decorations.

Tip #2:
I think it said in the inspiration tutorial that she put pudding mix in her batter just for that added oomph. Do that. It's awesome. I did have to add some milk (which was not called for in the regular cake mix) because the added dry powder made the batter too thick.

While your cupcakes are baking and cooling, scoop your icing into a mixing bowl. I used 1.5 cans of plain vanilla frosting, which was WAY more than I actually needed (I have enough batter leftover for at least 6 more big cupcakes, too). Now, I used what I had around the house to make the green for my cupcakes, which turned out to be a box of 4 colors of cooking writing icing tubes and a can of green icing with different icing tips. I squished all of the green, blue, and yellow writing icings into my frosting and then (after drawing the trees on T's cupcakes) squirted the entire can of green icing into the bowl of frosting. Using a spatula, mix until the color is smooth and even all over. I suppose you could mix less and leave the swirls for a snowy tree look, but I wanted smooth smooth smooth.
 Tip #3
Don't be a moron like me. Remember that the icing tips go INSIDE the bag and out through the hole, not the other way around. Trust me. Your life will be SO much easier for this.

I used the star tip (no clue what the real name is) to do a spiral of frosting on top of the cupcake. I found that it was easier to make a "tree" shape if I did a base of frosting and then started the spiral on top of that. Remember the cookie writing icing? There was a tube of red in that box that didn't make it into the green. I used that to do a quick spiral around the tree as the garland, starting at the bottom and ending at the very tip top. Nothing fancy, just a quick little decoration. **For the full 50+ cupcakes, I did need TWO tubes of the red, but if you can find a larger tube or just make your own red frosting and use a teeny tip you'll be good.**

The final decoration (which in my head during planning would look like snow) was to add some silver sprinkles all over the cupcakes. Just pour some in one palm and sprinkle a pinch at a time over a few cupcakes. I did this while the cupcakes were all lined up on that baking tray, which made the sprinkle cleanup SUPER easy!

Tip #4
If transporting mini cupcakes, a cake box is NOT enough. 3/4 of the cupcakes flipped, rolled, and smushed on the way from the dining room to the car and then to the kids' classrooms. Save your egg cartons and cut the lids off. Each egg "cup" will hold your mini cupcake well enough without them slipping and sliding and smushing all over.

Serve and enjoy!
 My cupcake baking helper...covered in chocolate milk

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