Christmas Tree Cupcakes

During the years I was running my little bakery, I was always experimenting with new ideas for cupcakes. Each holiday I received many orders for cupcakes for school parties and liked to come up with something different from time to time.

When my son was in the first grade, I made these cupcakes for the first time to take to his school party at Christmas. At the party there were several home room mothers who spread out over the room, setting a cupcake on each child’s desk and lighting the candle which is the spine for the Christmas tree. After lighting a child’s candle, they would stay by his/her desk long enough for him/her to make a “Christmas wish” (as opposed to a birthday wish) and blow out the candle. Small children love to blow out candles, so they seemed to enjoy the experience as well as eating the cupcakes later. I had many calls for these cupcakes through the years and this year started teaching my younger granddaughters to make them.

The principle is simple. First, bake the cupcakes you desire, preferably in foil, or paper liners will do. I was out of foil ones when I helped my granddaughter make the cupcake shown in the picture on this page. As you can see, foil would have been more attractive. Skimp on the amount of batter you put in each liner so the cupcake will rise just to the top of the liner and not spill over the side. This makes it easier to decorate the top neatly.

Ice the top of the cupcakes, either by spreading white icing on them or swirling it on with a large star tip attached to a decorator bag filled with white icing. Starting at the outside edge of the cupcake, right on top of the edge of the liner, make a thick spiral going all the way around the top and then moving inward to the center.

To make the trees, fill a decorator bag with green icing and attach a large star tip which has been opened up to make it as wide as possible on the “writing” end. If you’re right handed, in your left hand hold a birthday cake candle by the bottom end. Insert the candle into the tip as far as it can go with you still holding onto it. As you pull the candle out of the tip, apply pressure to the bag as you pull the candle out and push it part way back in, forming a basic evergreen tree shape on the candle. When the candle is clear of the tip, take the wick of the candle in your right hand and place the bottom of the candle in the exact middle of a cupcake. Push the candle down far enough to anchor it.

Next, using a small leaf tip attached to a bag of green icing, start at the bottom of the tree and pull out “limbs” all the way around the base of the tree. Move up and make a shorter row all the way around. Continue making shorter rows till you reach the top of the tree and the candle is covered, except possibly for the wick.

Finally, sprinkle tiny candy decorating balls on the tree. If you prefer not to have the sprinkles on the cupcake “snow” you can cut a small circle of waxed paper with a hole in the middle large enough to clear the tree. Ease this circle down on each cupcake before sprinkling the candies on the tree, then remove it.

To light the candle, pinch a little of the icing away from the wick before lighting. Of course this should be done with care to protect curious little fingers or faces.

Enjoy your cupcakes. Merry Christmas!

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