Fantastic Christmas Cakes With Buttercream Poinsettias!

The poinsettia, known as the Christmas Star in its native Mexico because of its star-like shape, blooms profusely in the wild at Christmas time in Hawaii, the Caribbean islands and its native Mexico.

This Christmas plant is favored so much in the United States that its holiday season purchases total more than the annual sales of any other potted plant here with 80 percent of these plants coming from a California grower. So it stands to reason, your cakes decorated with the perennial popular poinsettia will be a big hit!

Decorating with buttercream poinsettias is a beautiful (and with the following instructions) easy way, to bring Christmas cheer to your cakes whether as a featured decoration or as part of a Christmas scene you create.

Before we go on to the piping how-to's for this incredibly easy to make flower, here are some striking ways you can use the scarlet red (hands down, the most popular variety) poinsettia on your Christmas cakes.

-A border of small poinsettias will provide a pretty frame for many Christmas cake designs.
-Poinsettias can be part of the design. For example, on a cake decorated with snowmen, pipe a poinsettia on Mrs. Frosty's hat.
-Use the Christmas star in lieu of a bow on a cake decorated as a gift (where icing ribbons run horizontally and vertically over the top and down the sides like on a package). Pipe a large poinsettia in the center.
-Create a poinsettia wreath around the top of the cake. Pipe a few rows of leaf borders (using dark green icing and overlapping), and then pipe your poinsettias on top of the wreath. Then with round tip, pipe red, holly berries in between the poinsettia. In the center of the cake, write your Christmas message.
-Decorate a multi-tiered, stacked Christmas cake (or Christmas wedding cake) with cascading poinsettias.
-Create a bouquet of poinsettias with cup cakes. Pipe the Christmas flower on top of each cupcake and then assemble your Christmas cupcakes on a large platter. Or place them on a tiered stand, and on the top tier, arrange real poinsettias in a vase.

And here are the buttercream piping instructions for your Christmas cake poinsettias.

First, you'll need:

-Icing bags or parchment cones.
-Leaf tips (nozzles) 352 and 366 (Poinsettia petals are technically bracts, modified leaves, so it makes sense we use a leaf tip to create them :-)
-Buttercream icing in red, green and a tiny bit of yellow.
-White frosted cake or cupcakes. (Cream-cheese frosting or snow-white buttercream works well, but the poinsettias are also pretty on chocolate ganache.)

1. If you're going to write a Christmas message on your cake, remember to leave room for this. Practice first because you pipe these flowers directly onto your cake (or cupcakes).

2. With red buttercream icing and tip 366 in your bag, squeeze and pull out for each petal, continuing around until you have five. The wider end of the
petals will meet in the center (it's ok if the middle is a little empty because you will be adding more petals).

3. For your second layer, stagger the petals on top of the first layer. And, you may want to add a few in between on the bottom layer.

4. Then for a more natural look, use tip 352 with green icing to stagger the green immature petals behind the bottom layer of the red. This also sets off the red nicely and creates a more Christmassy look.

5. Finally, using round tip 3, pipe a few yellow dots in the center.

Variation: You could also create the green leaves with tip 366, making them the same size as the scarlet petals. Or conversely, if you want smaller flowers,
use tip 352 for the petals.

Here's a final, but important tip for your Christmas cakes. The amount of liquid food coloring needed for your red icing will bring a bitter taste (due to Red #2 in the coloring), so here's what you can do to battle the bitter:

- Use more concentrated forms of color gel, paste and powder colorings are all more intense than liquid. These are found in specialty stores, large crafts stores, such as Michaels, and online.

Begin with an icing that is naturally colored with a pink or red juice concentrate, such as cranberry or pomegranate. Then you won't need as much coloring to achieve your Poinsettia red.

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About The Author, Samantha Mitchell
Samantha Mitchell, Co-AuthorCake Decorating Made Easy! Vol. 1 & 2The World's First Cake Decorating Video BooksFor more merry cake decorating tips along with step by step videos that will spread the Yule Tide Joy, sign up for our free newsletter at Cake Decorating Made Easy