Woohoo! It's the last day of 2012. Its been an eventful year, moving back to Singapore, starting a new job, reuniting with my secondary school friends, having several very good friends hitched and some preggie by now. It's also the year where I've experimented more with cakes and frosting. Christmas is the season of indulgence, in the form of gifts, wishes, goodwill, hugs and most of all, good decadent food. In the spirit of Xmas, I blatantly adapted some Christmas Tree cupcake designs from the kind contributors of the google world!
It's not too difficult. You will only need a stiff buttercream icing, a star tip, marshmallows and toppings of your choice which are rainbow sprinkles and honey stars in my case.
1. Bake your choice of cupcakes in advance for them to be completely cool when frosting. I use my milo buttermilk cupcake recipe as these cupcakes do not dome and will save me time from leveling any domed-cakes.
2. Make the swiss meringue buttercream. My all-time favourite and reliable buttercream frosting is from Sweetapolita. I made half a batch (5 egg whites, 1 cup butter) and was able to frost around 40 cupcakes and still had 1/3 left of the frosting. This buttercream is very versatile, able to hold shapes and very importantly, is stable at room temperature and would not wilt nor turn into mush after being removed from the fridge. I will usually bake and frost, keep the frosted cupcakes in the fridge and bring to room temperature the next day when serving them. I also generally add coffee, cocoa powder or peanut butter to this frosting to tone down the slick buttery taste. In this case, a brown frosting do not match the apple green colour I'm using. It kind of just turned it muddy green. So, I added a good dose of thick vanilla essence which enhanced the flavor quite nicely as well.
3. If you are wondering where the marshmallows come in, they are used to be the pillar within the buttercream. Instead of piping ALOT of cream to create a tall cone, I cut each large marshmallow into a cone shape and adhere them to the cupcakes with a dab of buttercream. It was very useful, in reducing the amount of buttercream needed and creating a surprise white effect against the green frosting as you bit into the cake.
4. Finally, using a star tip in a large piping bag, start around the base of the marshmallows - Press and pull away. A tiny dollop of the buttercream will stick onto the marshmallow and as you pull the piping bag away, the buttercream branches are created. Just do it all around the marshmallow and end with a fatter squeeze right at the top of the cone.
5. Tada! Sprinkle with the rainbow sprinkles and top with a honey star! Bring cupcake to slightly cool or room temperature before serving them. When immediately out of the fridge, the buttercream is very stiff and will be like hard butter if you bite into it. It's much nicer and smoother after 30 minutes to an hour out from the fridge.
Go on and do this next year. It's easy, fun and looks so cute as a Xmas treat!