Don’t worry if you are not an expert with a piping bag. They can be rustic! It's more about getting the kids in the kitchen and having some god old-fashioned festive family fun!



  • 175g Unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk beaten
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g Plain flour
  • 1tsp Baking powder
  • ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125ml buttermilk


  • quantity Buttermilk Sponge (see below)
  • quantity Meringue Buttercream (see below)
  • green food-colouring paste
  • edible green glitter
  • coloured sugar balls
  • gold and silver sugar stars


  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 250g Unsalted butter softened and chopped
  • 1tsp vanilla extract


For the cupcakes

  • STEP 1

    Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the side of the mixing bowl from time to time. Add the vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and add to the mixture in alternate batches with the buttermilk. Mix until smooth.

  • STEP 2

    Preheat the oven to 180˚C/ 350˚F/Gas Mark 4. Place 12 brown paper cupcake cases in a muffin tin and fill the cases two-thirds full with the Buttermilk Sponge mixture. Put the muffin tin on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden, well risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean.

  • STEP 3

    Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before cooling completely on a wire rack. Put three-quarters of the Meringue Buttercream in a bowl and tint it green using the food-colouring paste to make frosting. Spread some of the untinted mix over the top of each cupcake.

  • STEP 4

    Using a piping bag with medium-sized, star-shaped nozzle filled with the green frosting work from the centre of the cakes and pipe pointed branch shapes towards the edges of the cupcake. Keep doing this, turning the cupcake as you go, until you have created the bottom of a tree. Repeat with the next layer up, making the branches shorter. Do more layers, making the branches shorter as you get to the top. Decorate with the glitter, sugar balls and top with a sugar star.


  • STEP 1

    Put the sugar and egg whites in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until it reaches at least 60˚C/140˚F on a sugar thermometer. Pour into a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or use an electric whisk and bowl). Beat until the mixture has doubled in volume, cooled and will stand in stiff peaks – this will take about 3 minutes. Gradually add the butter to the cooled meringue mix, beating constantly, until the frosting is smooth. Fold in the vanilla and use immediately.

Chocolate Variation

Melt 150g (51/2oz) chopped dark chocolate, then leave to cool slightly before stirring into the buttercream at the same time as the vanilla extract.

Cute Christmas Trees Cupcakes

Adapted from Christmas Cupcakes by Annie Rigg (Ryland Peters & Small).