These Christmas tree cupcakes are easy cupcakes for kids to make this holiday season. All you need for this tutorial is some ice cream cones, white, green, & black frosting, and M&Ms to finish it off!
Check out my cupcake baking guide that answers all of your questions about baking, ingredient substitutes, and decorating the perfect cupcakes!
Ingredients and Tools needed for Christmas Tree Cupcakes
- Baked Cupcakes (Any flavor will work.)
- Waffle Cones
- White Icing
- Green Icing
- Black Icing
- M&M’s (I used minis.)
- Butter Knife or Icing Spatula
- Wilton 2D Star Icing Tip, for green trees
- Wilton #2 Icing Tip, for black light strands
- Icing Bags
- Gold Star Sprinkles, for topping
I wanted to give you a cupcake recipe that gets you in the Christmas spirit without stressing you out. That is why instead of homemade Christmas cupcakes, this recipe focuses on the decorations.
Of course, you are free to whip a fresh batch of your own but after seeing this impressive cupcake decoration, no one will say a word.
How to Make a Christmas Tree Cupcake
This how-to does not include a cupcake recipe. The cupcakes need to be pre-baked for this tutorial. That said, a variety of cupcake flavors can be used! Chocolate, M&M, red velvet, yellow cake, they all work!
Add a layer of white icing to each pre-baked cupcake you have to represent the snow on the ground below the tree.
Ice Cream Cones
The secret to the Christmas tree shape and height on these cupcakes are ice cream cones. Add a layer of icing and you have transformed it into a Christmas tree.
I like using ice cream cones because they are sturdy and naturally pair well with the sweet flavors of cupcakes and icing. Kids will love the extra crunch it adds to the fluffy cupcakes.
Add a thin layer of green icing to each cone. My advice is to keep 2 fingers inside the ice cream cone and slowly turn it as you add a thin layer of green icing with a knife or icing spatula.
After adding the thin layer of green frosting, place the cone on top of the cupcake. It’s time to add the leaves with a Wilton 2D icing tip that looks like a closed star.
If you do not have a star icing tip to create the pretty textured shapes on these ice cream cone Christmas tree cupcakes, try adding a thicker layer of frosting around each cone and use a knife to pull frosting away from the cone. This will add texture in a fun way. If you have kiddos helping you, do whatever is easiest!
If you are using a green icing tip, press the green frosting into the cone and pull up and away from the cone. Carefully rotate the cupcake in your hand to fill the entire cone.
After adding the leafy texture, rotate the cupcake and cone as you add a line of black frosting to represent the string for the lights. An icing bag with a tip is not needed. I have nothing against cutting a corner out of a ziplock bag and using it as a DIY piping bag to create the line.
Now it’s time for the finishing touches. Add mini M&M’s around the light strand to represent the Christmas lights. Regular-sized M&M’s may work, but be careful of the weight. They may fall or slide off easily.
How to Store Cupcakes with Height
There is quite some height to these cupcakes so they probably won’t fit in your regular baked goods container. If you haven’t bought a cupcake tower stand yet, this might be the time – a Christmas present to yourself!
You can also arrange them on a large plate and keep it covered with a tall cake lid. Hopefully, you have a refrigerator space that is tall enough, too.
They should be kept in the refrigerator so that the dye in the colored frostings does not separate and run down the sides of the cupcake. (I’m speaking from personal experience here.) Most frostings should be kept refrigerated because they are made with dairy products and will begin to grow bacteria if left at room temperature beyond 2 hours.
If you do not have storage for such a tall cupcake, I recommend not making them in advance. Christmas trees are just one of the many designs for Christmas cupcake decorations.
- Christmas Candy Cane Cookies
- Christmas Ornament Cupcakes
- Christmas Sugar Cookie Shots
- M&M Cupcakes
- The Best Red Velvet Cupcakes
How to Make Christmas Tree Cupcakes
- 12 Cupcakes
- 12 Waffle Cones
- 2 cups Homemade White Frosting, canned store-bought frosting will be too runny; it needs to be a thicker frosting
- 1 cup Homemade Green Frosting
- 2 tablespoons Black Frosting
- 30 Mini M&M's
- Gold Star Sprinkles, for topping
- Begin by adding a layer of white icing to the top of each cupcake.
- Spread green icing onto each waffle cone with a butter knife or icing spatula. Place waffle cones onto the white icing of each cupcake.
- Using the star icing tip, add green icing up and down each waffle cone until they are completely covered with the beautiful leafy tree effect. If you don't have a star tip, just add extra icing to the cone with a butter knife. Gently tap the frosting with the knife and pull it away to create a fun texture.
- Add the light strand by using the #2 icing tip with black icing and swirl it around each tree. If you don't have icing bags or tips, use a Ziploc bag. Fill a quart-size Ziploc bag with black frosting and cut a very small piece of the corner off so that you have a tiny hole. Add frosting around each tree to represent the light strand.
- Add mini M&M's to each black strand of icing to look like tree lights.
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