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STEP 1: BAKE CAKE AND MAKE ICING
Prepare a box cake mix or scratch recipe, spray the tree pan with baking spray and fill. Bake according to the directions. Cool the cake for 10 minutes or so. If your cake has a big hump in the center (ours definitely did), trim off some of the hump to create a flat area before flipping the cake onto a cooling rack.
Cool your cake completely on a cooling rack and then wrap the entire cake (and rack) in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for an hour or so until firm to the touch. Trust us, this will make icing your cake much, much easier.
While the cake is chilling, prepare a 1 1/2 batch recipe of Brenda's Bakery Buttercream. Reserve a cup or so of buttercream for white, two cups or so to tint red and tint the remaining buttercream green.
STEP 2: ICE CAKE AND PIPE GREENERY
Remove the cake from the freezer and place on your display board. Spread red buttercream on the base of the cake and try to keep the shape of the pot as best possible.
Spread green icing in a thin layer on the top of the cake and a little heavier on the sides. This will seal in the crumbs and also give you a good piping surface.
Place green icing in a piping bag fitted with the XL star tip. Starting at the bottom, pipe a row of separate "leaves" in a downward direction. They don't have to be perfect and some can be bigger than others. They can even go slightly in different directions to create some whimsy.
(Here's a close up of what they look like!)
Continue in rows until the entire tree is filled up.
Place white buttercream in a piping bag fitted with the #8 tip. Pipe strands of beads across the tree and add zig zags on the pot.
Now, add the gumballs and sixlets where you see fit. (Get the kids involved, they are perfect for this).
We went the easy route and added a star cut from paper with a toothpick taped to the back. You can get fancy and make one out of fondant, but we're too lazy for that. Just make sure the paper doesn't touch the tree or it might absorb fat from the buttercream and look stained.
Now cut this cake tree and enjoy!