Silver Christmas Tree Cakes

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For the Cakes
 1 1/2 cups egg whites (10-12 large eggs)
 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1 cup granulated sugar

For the Frosting and Decorations
 1/4 cup prepared vanilla frosting or whipped cream
 confectioners’ sugar
 green or silver dragées

Special Aids

 17- x 11-inch jelly-roll pan
 4-inch, 3 1/4-inch, 2 1/2-inch and 1 3/4-inch star-shaped cookie cutters
 kitchen scissors
 fine mesh sieve 
 pastry bag fitted with a small round tip
Making the Cakes 
1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, let egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sift together confectioners’ sugar and flour twice; set aside. 
2. Add cream of tartar and vanilla to egg whites; using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.  

3. Sift one-quarter of flour mixture over egg-white mixture; gently fold into egg-white mixture. Continue sifting and folding in remaining flour mixture, one-quarter at a time. Spoon batter into an ungreased 17- x 11-inch jelly-roll pan.

4. Bake cake until top springs back when pressed, about 15 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. 
Assembling and Decorating the Cakes
1. Cut out 4 stars with each star-shaped cookie cutter, for a total of 16 cake cutouts; transfer to a wire rack.   

2. Remove cake scraps from the pan. Using kitchen scissors, cut four 3/4- inch squares from cake scraps; trim corners to make rounds. Transfer cutouts to the rack. Using a fine mesh sieve, dust cakes with confectioners’ sugar. Dust 4 serving plates with confectioners’ sugar.  
3. Holding cakes by the edges, make a stack of stars on each prepared plate, using 1 cake of each size and stacking from largest to smallest. Top each cake stack with a cake round.  

4. Spoon frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip; pipe a dot at each point of each star. Top each frosting dot with a dragée; serve cakes immediately. Serves 4.
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