Every year my mom’s family has a Christmas potluck. There are so many of us and a lot of my cousins have started their own families and so Christmas on Christmas Day just never seems to work out for us. The potluck is a great way to get together, eat a ton of food, and catch up, generally a couple days before the holiday. This year the potluck was supposed to be today but for any southern Ontario dwellers you are aware some sort of freak snow catastrophe hit over night and now nobody can get out of their neighbourhood, never mind travel to the suburbs SO I have a couple dozen cupcakes (my contribution) just lying around my kitchen. Still, I thought I’d share my 2013 addition to the family table!
I usually end up bringing something creative and not critical to the “meal” portion of Christmas. Not to say I’m afraid of the responsibility but…well….
Last year I brought cookies but I baked about seven dozen sugar cookies last week for various holiday parties and a cookie exchange party (more on that later) so I decided I’d probably cry if I had to go again with those. Cupcakes is a fun alternative because they are way easier (with the right tools) and still really fun.
I decided I wanted to make mini Christmas tree cupcakes, so I hit up Bulk Barn for supplies. I hunted up some red and green sprinkles (not the sugar kind but legitimate sprinkles to look like decorations) and tiny silver balls. Some Bulk Barn’s have the buttercream icing powder that you can toss in your mixer with some flavouring/colouring and water, but this one didn’t carry that. However if you go into their prepared food section (like the soup and peanut butter section, probably the one place most people don’t actually go in Bulk Barn) they sometimes have some already prepared buttercream, which I lucked out and found at my neighbourhood store.
I also picked up some great gold star cupcake toppers for $1 at Target, and some adorable cupcake papers for about $3 (for 24) there as well. I have an icing gun I found on clearance at Target last week for about $10 and I swear it was the greatest thing ever.
Side note: Target (yes I am obsessed with Target) has this cookie decorating set for about $30 that I am actually dreaming about. It’s amazing.
Anyways, so once the cupcakes were cool (I’m not going to lie it was 10:30pm I made them out of a box – $.99 at Food Basics this week guys!) I mixed up the buttercream with some green Wilson icing dye. If you use the Wilson dyes you should probably aim for the Kelly Green colour. I tried the Forest Green and it was way too dark, it took me forever to lighten it to a normal Christmas tree colour!
I piped the icing in a spiral on top of the cupcake. I tried to aim for about three circles, each one smaller than the one before, like a snowman but with my star tip and some heavy guidance to shape the tree. If you pull up on the gun at the top of the cupcake you can make a great tree top!
You should decorate as you go, especially with buttercream, because the icing will harden and its harder to get things like sprinkles to stick to them. So I would ice one, then sprinkle the decorations on it, then move on to the next. The star toppers were the perfect finale! I wanted to share because I loved the way they turned out and it cost me less than $10 and about and hour of my time, including baking AND decorating! You could even snag some cute packaging boxes from the dollar store and give them as little gifts!
hope everybody has a wonderful & happy holiday, and best wishes for an exciting & brave 2014!
love, the party girl.