Christmas Tree Cupcakes

Christmas tree cupcakes recipe

The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 12 Servings

All throughout the holiday season, there seems to be no shortage of occasions when we want to serve little treats—visiting guests, parties, treat swaps, school functions, and so much more. Sure, we bake a lot of Christmas cookies, but sometimes only adorable little cakes will do.

Cupcakes are a welcome treat year round. Fortunately, it is very easy to make them look like special Christmas cupcakes, festively dressed in green frosting and red and green sprinkles. And let's be honest, cupcakes are really just frosting delivery vehicles, aren't they? The more the better when it comes to the sweet creamy stuff on top.

To turn an ordinary batch of chocolate cupcakes into Christmas trees, all you need is some green food color to dye your frosting a festive shade of green and an assortment of holiday themed sprinkles. A star-tipped pastry bag will help you get that conical, tree shape. but it's quite easy to make these look like Christmas treats, even if your piped tree shapes aren't perfect. Be sure to let the cupcakes cool completely, though, before frosting them or that tree will melt right off.

You can obviously use a boxed mix to save time or if you need to make many batches of these for a school function. But making cupcakes from scratch is actually quite easy and you'll be rewarded with that fresh, homemade taste.

Ingredients

  • For the Cupcakes:
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • For the Decorations:
  • 1 cup vanilla frosting
  • Green food coloring
  • Decorative holiday sprinkles
  • Confectioner's sugar for dusting

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Christmas tree cupcakes
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.

    Line a muffin tin
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  3. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and unsalted butter to a large bowl and cream together using a hand or stand mixer.

    Add brown sugar
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  4. Beat in the vanilla, eggs, sour cream and buttermilk.

    Beat in vanilla
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  5. In a separate bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa, instant coffee, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

    Blend
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  6. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir just to combine.

    Add dry ingredients
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  7. Divide the batter evenly in the prepared muffin cups and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

    Divide batter
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  8. In a small bowl, stir together the vanilla frosting and green food coloring. Start with about 5 drops of green food coloring, stir, and see if you like the shade or if you want to add a few more drops to get a deeper green color.

    Stir in green food coloring
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  9. Spoon the colored frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Start by piping a center star and then work your way around the top of the cupcake, moving slowly in as you go, to form a triangular shape, like a tree.

    Frost cupcakes
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  10. Top with your favorite holiday sprinkles and dust with the confectioner's sugar for a snowy effect.

    Top with sprinkles
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  11. Serve and enjoy!

    Christmas tree cupcake
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic