Chocolate Christmas Tree Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe from

My love of Christmas tree-shaped confections continues in this latest installment of recipes doing double duty as dessert and tabletop décor. If the original Christmas tree cupcakes didn’t have you hooked, consider this quick and easy alternative starring edible cupcake toppers made with pretzels, candy melts and your choice of sprinkles.


Chocolate Christmas Tree Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe from

We’ve got an all-star lineup on this one, folks: Moist chocolate cupcakes slathered with tangy cream cheese frosting that’s dusted with shredded coconut (read: snow) and topped with an edible Christmas tree.

Chocolate Christmas Tree Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe from

Gather a dozen or so of these beauties for a fun touch to your holiday table or nestle your gingerbread house inside an edible forest.

Craving more winter wonderland-inspired sweets? Don’t miss Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies, Reindeer Marshmallow Pops, Homemade Holiday Lollipops and more festive favorites.

Chocolate Christmas Tree Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe from

Chocolate Christmas Tree Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe from

Chocolate Christmas Tree Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe from

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Chocolate Christmas Tree Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Make it a holiday to remember with these Chocolate Christmas Tree Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting! Moist chocolate cupcakes, tangy cream cheese frosting and pretzel/candy melt toppers. 
5 from 6 votes
Chocolate Christmas Tree Cupcakes from
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 22 mins
Total Time 1 hr 7 mins
Servings 24 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup green candy melts
  • 1 cup pretzel sticks
  • Assorted sprinkles
  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut flakes

For the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


Make the cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with baking cups.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set the mixture aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined and scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla then alternately beat in the flour mixture and the milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  • Scoop the batter into the baking cups then bake for 18 to 22 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • While the cupcakes cool, make the cupcake toppers by melting the candy melts according to package directions. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag. Place the pretzel sticks on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, spacing them 2 to 3 inches apart. Pipe the candy melts over the pretzel sticks in the shape of a tree then immediately top the trees with the sprinkles. Transfer the baking sheet to the fridge for 10 minutes until the trees have fully hardened.

Make the frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese until well blended. Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar, beating just until combined.

Assemble the cupcakes:

  • Spread a small portion of the frosting atop the cooled cupcakes and immediately sprinkle it with the coconut flakes. (See Kelly's Notes.)
  • Using an offset spatula, carefully release the trees from the baking sheet. Push the bottoms of the pretzel trees into the tops of the cupcakes. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container at room temperature or in the fridge until ready to serve.

Kelly's Notes:

  • The cream cheese frosting will set slightly over time, so it's important to frost the cupcakes and then immediately sprinkle them with the coconut.
  • The Christmas tree toppers can also be used to decorate a cake.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!


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Cupcake recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens.

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Calories: 304kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 173mg, Potassium: 121mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 330IU, Calcium: 32mg, Iron: 1.2mg

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  1. I’ve a question.

    what about those people who can’t eat chocolate for various reasons?

    could it be made with a Blondi batter, or even a ginger bread

  2. The “melting chips” I purchased were white, so after melting them I added green food color for the Christmas tree topper. To my surprise, the melted chips seized up. What now, I said to myself. Well, thank goodness for Google, I found a remedy, add a little boiling water. Yes! But what it doesn’t tell you is after adding the water, the smooth consistency returned, but the chocolate does not harden. Well. It was a learning experience for me. I will try it again, sometime. . . .happy holidays.

    1. Hi Hilda – The instructions for the cupcake toppers are above. While the cupcakes cool, make the cupcake toppers…

  3. Has anyone had any success using toothpicks instead of pretzels for the Christmas tees? I was thinking that it might be a good idea and would mean I could make a batch of trees in advance. What do you think?

    Kind regards

    1. Hi Tracey! Toothpicks would work but they (of course!) aren’t edible. You can actually make the trees up to a day in advance!

  4. 5 stars
    I always make home made ginger bread houses. I think the trees would be cute sitting out in the frosting / snow. I might have to do something different to replace the pretzel stick. Very cute.

  5. 5 stars
    Thanks Kelly – these were a huge success – everyone loved the flavour and apart from an incident where we lost a tree to our cockapoo Alice everything went smoothly on this bake!

    1. Hi Ann! The pretzel trees can be made and stored in an airtight container for a day but I wouldn’t push it much past that.

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Please could you advise the volume of the cups used in this recipe – I am in the UK and will be using this great idea in a ‘Bake off’ charity event at work later this week. Many Thanks!

    1. Hi there! Our recipes are written in the Imperial format, so feel free to use an online conversion program for metric.

  7. Hi Kelly! I’m going to try this recipe for a xmas party, and I have 2 questions.

    1. I’m not a big fan of cocunut. Is there anything else that I can sprinkle on top of the icing, that will make it look like snowflakes?

    2. After you put the melted candy tree in the fridge, is there a certain time you need to keep it in there so it comes off easily and in tact? I saw your video and it came up perfectly! Would you recommend freezing for a short period of time?

    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Nic! You could use sanding sugar or shaved white chocolate in place of the coconut. As for the trees, allow them to fully harden in the fridge, about 10 minutes, before carefully releasing them from the wax paper. Hope that helps!

  8. 5 stars
    I made these last year twice! I had no problems and they were the hit of the party. I have already been asked to make them again this year!!

    Any new ideas this year!


    1. Hi Emma – I’ve never tried freezing these cupcakes so I can’t say for certain what the resulting taste/texture would be. That being said, this is what I would do: Freeze the cupcakes unfrosted (once completely cooled, wrap securely in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe sealable bag). The frosting could be made the day before and stored in the fridge and the pretzel trees can be made and stored in an airtight container for a day. Either assemble the day before your lunch or the day of. Hope this helps!

  9. Are the trees one sided? Do you turn them over when dry and frost again on other side so you can’t see the pretzel stick.

  10. I tried the make these. The cupcakes were wonderful but my trees didn’t work. They looked great but then as I tried to peel them off the wax all the lower branches broke off and some did on the top too. I was devastated. What did I do wrong?

    1. Hi Candace! Pretzel trees can be made and stored in an airtight container for a day, but I wouldn’t push it much past that. Hope that helps!

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