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Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl or stand mixer until pale and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla along with 1 tbsp of the flour (to reduce the risk of the mixture splitting) and beat again.
Sift the remaining flour into the batter and mix to combine until no streaks of flour are visible, being careful not to overbeat. Divide the batter between the cases, ensuring they are all at least half-full. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 12-15 mins until golden. Cool in the tin for 5 mins before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Roll out the fondant and stamp out 12 stars or flowers using mini biscuit cutters. Leave to dry on a sheet of baking parchment. If you’ve used white fondant, let the shapes dry for 5-10 mins, then spray or brush with gold lustre.
To make the buttercream, slowly mix the butter, sugar and vanilla together in a bowl using an electric whisk or in a stand mixer. Once combined, beat for at least 5 mins until pale and fluffy. Add the green food colouring, a little at a time, until you reach your desired shade. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe swirls of the buttercream over the cooled cupcakes, building the swirls up into a cone shape. Top the ‘trees’ with the fondant stars, then decorate with sugar balls, sprinkles or chocolate beans to make baubles.
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