Fast forward to this year. My oldest Justin (21) works at Bob Evan's restaurant. Each year during December they have their annual holiday party. Any employee that wishes can bring in something to eat. They have a contest to see who has the best prepared dish. They actually do this throughout the year for different holidays. Justin always asks for my input about what to make. I've noticed that the winners have usually made something that looks fun. The best tasting isn't always a sure fire winner. Over the years we have made stuffed peppers (requested many times since), red velvet skull cake, and other desserts. Justin's first idea was cheesecake. Then he realized that we didn't have a springform pan plus the work involved. Since there isn't much wow factor involved he decided to change his dish. Then he thought about mac and cheese but the one he liked had 7 cheeses and wasn't in his budget. I try to stay out of the decision making until he has tossed around a few ideas first. Then I do an online search. Justin gets sidetracked online and doesn't look at all the blogs that I do. Anywho....we decided on a Christmas tree cupcake cake. I saw some fun pumpkin ones during Halloween and figured we could do a tree easily.
Here is the prototype that me and the other two kids worked up last night. I have several food allergies so I needed to make everything from scratch if I wanted to eat any of it. When Justin makes his, we will use a cake mix and canned frosting. They just make a better appearance. We will also use a variety of candies to decorate the tree with. I'm thinking peppermints, holiday M&Ms, rope licorice, etc.
I used mini cupcakes for our version. I used a simple white cake recipe I found online. I swirled some neon pink food coloring in just for fun. I laid them out to resemble a Christmas tree shape plus a trunk.
I can't eat butter, shortening, or milk products so I had to search out a good frosting recipe. I found this one over at Recipezaar. It reminds me of a fluffy marshmallow. Not too sweet and nice and creamy. I colored some yellow for the star and some more brown for the trunk. The brown didn't get dark enough because I was worried that the liquid food coloring would thin out the frosting too much. The rest was colored green.
We used some non-periels for the ornaments. Then the kids outlined the ornaments with gel food writing tubes.
Then they used the gel writers to make the garland. It was fun and kept the kids busy for a few minutes last night.
Once Justin makes his, I will post a pic so you can see how his looks.