Christmas Tree Cupcakes

Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes

Gingerbread houses, meet your match. These festive Christmas Tree Cupcakes serve a similar function as part dessert, part decoration for your holiday table. Moist chocolate cupcakes become the base of spruced up sugar cones adorned with bright green frosting and edible silver sprinkle ornaments and, the piece de resistance, a light dusting of powdered sugar snow.

Sound challenging? Tune in to my video below to see the full technique in action.

Just imagine an entire forest of these edible trees lining your holiday table or surrounding a gingerbread house, adding a pop of color and flavor alongside each cookie wall.

Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes

I will leave you with that wistful visual, my friends, as I return to my unsolicited caroling of N*SYNC’s entire Christmas album while counting down the minutes – 20,143 to be exact – until my family members from San Diego, Chicago, Dubai and beyond congregate in Colorado to celebrate the season and taste our way into 2013.

How to Make Christmas Tree Cupcakes

Green Icing

How to Make Christmas Tree Cupcakes

How to Make Christmas Tree Cupcakes

Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes

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Christmas Tree Cupcakes

Yield: 6 cupcakes

Prep Time: 45 min


6 chocolate or vanilla cupcakes
3 cups homemade or store-bought vanilla frosting (See Kelly's Notes)
2 Tablespoons green food coloring
6 ice cream sugar cones
Edible silver ball sprinkles
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Special equipment: pastry bag or gallon-sized sealable plastic bag; small star-shaped pastry tip (such as Wilton #18)


If necessary, slice the tops off of the cupcakes to create a flat surface. Slather a small portion of the frosting on the cupcakes to create a base atop which to position the sugar cone tree.

Stir the food coloring into the remaining frosting, adding more food coloring as necessary to achieve your desired green color. Apply a thin layer of frosting on the exteriors of the sugar cones. Transfer the remaining frosting to a pastry bag fitted with the star-shaped pastry tip.

Place the sugar cones atop the cupcakes then pipe leaves onto the trees. Garnish with the edible silver ball sprinkles and dust with powdered sugar.

Kelly's Notes:

Three cups of frosting is equivalent to two 16-ounce cans of store-bought frosting.

The sugar cones can be decorated and stored (not on top of the cupcakes) for 1 day in an airtight container. Frost cupcakes and top with trees right before serving.

Method inspired by


68 Responses to “Christmas Tree Cupcakes”

  1. #
    Heidi @ Bits of Sunshine — December 12, 2012 at 12:53 am

    EEEEP! These are too too cute! I love them Kelly! These are so on my baking Christmas list!

  2. #
    Noma — December 12, 2012 at 1:12 am

    These are DARLING! I What a wonderful idea and beautiful photos, too!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 13th, 2012 @ 8:19 am

      Thank you, Noma!

  3. #
    Abby @ The Frosted Vegan — December 12, 2012 at 8:17 am

    My first though when opening this post was “Is that whole tree frosting?!” I wouldn’t have hated it if it was : )

  4. #
    shelly (cookies and cups) — December 12, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Totally adorable. Totally.

  5. #
    Rachel Cooks — December 12, 2012 at 8:54 am

    These are super fancy!

  6. #
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — December 12, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Nice! I saw this idea on Pinterest- you did a fabulous job with them!

  7. #
    jen @ one curly fry — December 12, 2012 at 8:59 am

    At first I was like – tons of icing – that’s right up my alley! :)

    These are too cute to eat!!

  8. #
    Diana @ Appetite for china — December 12, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Kelly, these are amazing! Such a work of art. So inspired to be more artistic with my baking now!

  9. #
    katie — December 12, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Ah, these are too stinking cute!!! Seriously, I would much rather have these then a gingerbread house any day of the year!

  10. #
    steph — December 12, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Eeeek!!! I am so in love with these!!

  11. #
    Meagan Wied — December 12, 2012 at 11:19 am

    These are so awesome!

  12. #
    April Jackson — December 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I was planning on making a gingerbread house but I am now reconsidering, these are absolutely gorgeous!

  13. #
    Buckley — December 12, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    These look amazing! Could you use a different decoration other than the silver ornaments? Perhaps a red cinnamon candy, candy cane chips or even mini M&Ms?

  14. #
    Sydney @ Crepes of Wrath — December 12, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Are you freaking kidding me?! These look insanely awesome. Bravo! I would never have committed to something like this…piping bags are my sworn enemy, but maybe I’ll have to make an exception because you make this look completely doable. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 13th, 2012 @ 8:18 am

      I promise it’s not as daunting as it seems, Sydney! I know you’ll be a pro at it :)

  15. #
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — December 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    This is so creative! My girls would love these cupcakes!

  16. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — December 12, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    these are gorgeous and such a creative and smart idea!! i never would’ve thought of using sugar cones!

  17. #
    Jessica @ Portuguese GIrl Cooks — December 12, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    What adorable cupcakes!

  18. #
    sarah k @ the pajama chef — December 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    these are so cute!

  19. #
    Stephanie @ Macaroni and Cheesecake — December 13, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    These are gorgeous!!

  20. #
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — December 14, 2012 at 11:50 am

    So, so amazing….love these cupcakes!

  21. #
    Kasia — December 15, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Those are super cute! love them!

  22. #
    Esi — December 16, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Wow! These are so perfect. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, but probably won’t see one for a couple more years. This is the perfect way to get one at home.

  23. #
    Melanie — December 17, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    These are THE cutest Christmas treats I’ve ever seen. And I’m so glad they are NOT gingerbread! Will be giving these a try with my three little nephews:)

  24. #
    Kristi @ CherryJasmine — December 18, 2012 at 9:49 am

    What a fantastically clever idea! I love it. So cute! Looks so fun to try.

  25. #
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — December 18, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    These are so cool! What a clever idea and so much fun for the holidays! My nieces and nephews would LOVE to make these with me!

  26. #
    Elise — December 19, 2012 at 3:06 am

    ADORABLE! At first I was worried when I saw all that green frosting. But then I saw that instead of a solid mass of green, the frosting was just coating an ice cream cone. Brilliant!

  27. #
    JJ - 84thand3rd — December 20, 2012 at 10:14 am

    These are brilliant!!

  28. #
    Cass @foodmyfriend — December 20, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    These are incredible! I love them. Your icing is spot on too. No bubbles or anything! Very well done. Next year!

  29. #
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella — December 20, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    These are SO clever! Love the way that you made the trees :D

  30. #
    Elizabeth — December 23, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    WHOA! At first I was thinking… how did she do that?! So clever and creative, and definitely tasty!

  31. #
    Smitten Foodie — January 5, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    These are so adorable! Love the pics:)

  32. #
    Kathleen — November 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    If anybody is uncomfortable using the plastic bags to decorate, use what is called a decorating syringe. I never could use the bags, kept making mistakes, so I used the syringe. Might have to add icing more often, but at least I had a steadier hand. Could also use Wilton tip #233 instead of the star to make different lengths of grass and use the star on top. Use something that would look like beaded ropes going around the tree.

  33. #
    sandy — November 25, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Adorable and creative… but… who in reality is going to eat a frosting covered sugar cone? it will end up a waste :(

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — November 25th, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

      Thanks for your note, Sandy! These Christmas Tree Cupcakes are meant to be part dessert, part decoration. So even if the cone isn’t eaten, it still serves as the centerpiece on the table :)

  34. #
    Lynn Coulter — December 2, 2013 at 6:03 am

    I am making a gingerbread house and I will be making about 8 of these gorgeous trees to go around the house, I am also making a meringue Christmas tree which is a lot bigger than these, i bought the box from coles and you assemble the tree so no making the meringue,,,, the gingerbread house is also from coles no baking everything is in the box you just have to assemble it, can’t wait to see what it all looks like, its the centre piece for our Christmas table,,,, hope it works and i do a good job.

    thanks for a great idea Kelly.

  35. #
    Lynn Coulter — December 2, 2013 at 6:05 am

    just thinking you could also make these white to represent snow,,,,,just a thought.

  36. #
    Lynn Coulter — December 2, 2013 at 6:09 am

    I bought a packet of waffle cones as I can’t find sugar cones, but noticed the waffle cones are not straight around the top where you put the ice cream, i found normal cones but i think they would go soggy, the only thing i thought i could do was to push the cone into the cake so that it sits straight……any other ideas or where do you buy sugar cones?????

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 2nd, 2013 @ 11:13 am

      Hi Lynn – Most grocery stores carry the packaged sugar cones. You can check by the ice cream or in the baking aisle. Hope that helps! Otherwise your workaround sounds great!

  37. #
    Leah // Freutcake — December 2, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    How clever! I just love this idea.

  38. #
    otilia — December 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    what a great idea! this post will be great for my Foodie Christmas link!

  39. #
    Coco in the Kitchen — December 6, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    These are just so cute. So Christmassy!


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