Special equipment: a piping bag fitted with a large star tip
Reserve about 1 cup white buttercream and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Color about 2 cups buttercream dark tan/light brown (for the cone) using ivory food coloring with a few drops of brown. Color about 3 1/2 cups buttercream a medium pink (for the ice cream) using red food coloring.
Assemble the ice cream cone: Arrange 8 cupcakes as follows to make the cone: one row of 3, two rows of 2 and 1 cupcake at the bottom. Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to dollop about 1/4 cup of the tan/brown frosting on each cupcake and smooth over the top and sides of the cupcakes (but not the liners) to make a cone shape, smoothing to a point at the bottom. With the back of a butter knife, drag through the buttercream in a crosshatch pattern to resemble the lines on an ice cream cone.
Wash and dry the ice cream scoop and offset spatula. Arrange 15 cupcakes above the cone to make a scoop of ice cream with a flat-ish bottom and a domed top. Use the ice cream scoop or large spoon to dollop about 1/4 cup of the pink frosting on each of the 15 cupcakes and spread with the offset spatula, making swirls in the frosting so it resembles a scoop of ice cream.
Pipe a freeform pattern of white buttercream stars on the top of the scoop to resemble whipped cream. Place a large red gumdrop on the top cupcake for the cherry. Sprinkle the white buttercream with multi-colored sprinkles.
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