Cupcake Christmas Tree

My brother threw a holiday potluck for a bunch of friends and on the invite he presumptuously assigned me to dessert, pending I could attend of course. He assumed correctly on what I would be bringing, but now that I have claimed myself a “baker” on this lil blog of mine, I have a lot to live up to! I’ve done my fair share of cookie baking this holiday season, so I wanted to try something a little different. I stumbled across this awesome cupcake tree and the next minute was calling art stores nearby to see if they had Styrofoam cones in stock. I do love living in this city, but spur of the moment craft projects are not exactly SF friendly. Michael’s is the epitome of inconveniently located to my home or office. Luckily, I snatched the last 2 foam cones at an art store near my apartment and was off to do some cupcake baking.

Cupcake Christmas Tree

1 box of cake mix made into mini cupcakes

Peppermint extract (optional)

Buttercream frosting

Cake decorating tools (thanks Colette! I’m putting my birthday present to use:)

Green Food Coloring


Colorful Candies (I used rolos with red and gold packaging)

4×9 inch Styrofoam cone

I used chocolate cupcakes for this, and I also added a teaspoon of peppermint extract. I like mint everything and the holidays make it more acceptable so I add it to whatever I can! Any kind of cupcakes you want will work for this- just keep them mini!

Buttercream Frosting

*Recipe from the Food Network

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or peppermint)
  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream

In your mixer, use the whisk to mix together the sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until fully blended together, then beat for another 3 minutes on medium speed. Add vanilla (or peppermint extract if you want your frosting minty too) and cream and beat for 1 more minute. You can add more cream if necessary, but this frosting needs to be a little thicker since it has to stay on a slanted cupcake.

And how to assemble this masterpiece you ask?

Lots of toothpicks! Stick a toothpick through the cupcake and start sticking them into the foam, from the bottom, then work your way to the top.

And put a little frosting beneath the cone so that it stays nicely put on your plate.

Dye your frosting with food coloring to get the green you like and get your cake decorating tips out. Once the cupcakes are placed on the cone, start frosting! Again, from the bottom to the top. From here, you can decorate as you wish. I added some white sugar balls to the cupcakes and stuck in some colorfully wrapped rolos to the white spaces that you could see on the cone still.

I topped it off with a gold paper star that I cut out and then I had a beautifully edible Christmas tree!

I also tried to make a santa hat, but it didn’t work as well as I had hoped. Those are marshmallows at the top in case you couldn’t tell.

The hardest part was transporting it to the east bay. I had the Santa hat between my feet on the ground and the tree in my lap. I could see red frosting dropping off the cupcakes and was gasping at the sight. My chauffeur couldn’t tell a “cupcake frosting is falling!” gasp from a “you’re about to crash!” gasp so I might have freaked him out a little. We survived the drive, but the Santa hat frosting did not. I put a little more cream in that frosting so I think it was too thin. Live and learn!

Anyways, the potluck was yummy. My sister-in-law made an awesome bacon wrapped turkey. Bacon + Turkey= AMAZING combo.

Our friend, Eric, got a little crafty with his cauliflower mashed potato ski run.

Eric was also the birthday boy, so he got to blow out the candle atop the Christmas tree!

A perfect Sunday of baking, crafting, family, and friends!

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36 Responses

    1. It did get a little tricky in transit! I was gasping as a couple of them fell off 🙁 Just do it when you are hosting the party! And be sure to make some thick frosting.

  1. Amazing!! Can’t wait to try it- so, this might be a dumb questions- but obviously you iced them once they were all attached to the cone? and it looks like you used a cake decorating tip?

    1. Sorry for the late reply…but yes! Ice them after they are attached to the cone. And yes, I did use a decorating tip. I believe it was Wilton’s 22 tip. Best of luck!

  2. Truly amazing, i cant wait to try this, spent most of the day hunting down the polystyrene cones but got them at last, now need to get busy baking…………………..ooooh so excited, well done

  3. Thanks for the inspiration! I found a very pretty cupcake ball at mothers day a couple of years ago and wanted to try it, but it was very intimidating looking so I never did. I was so excited when I found your tree, and it did not look so scary. So I made one yesterday for a family party, and used your icing recipe exactly and my icing stayed put nicely during transport. It actually was not to hard and I think it turned out pretty well, not quite as pretty as yours, but I will try again.

  4. I actually think your Santa hat looks pretty awesome. A suggestion for next time tho, perhaps try a vanilla or strawberry cup cakes instead of the chocolate ones as it might help blend the whole theme together better? Anyways, it’s such a wonderful and unique idea, I’m going to use it for my own Christmas party this weekend! 🙂

    1. That’s a really good idea! Maybe I’ll try red velvet next time so I can still get my chocolate cupcake 🙂 I’d love to see your final product if you get a chance to send it! Merry Christmas!

  5. Hello, I know this is an old post but I’ll ask anyway 🙂 could you use the green floral foam cone instead of the styrofoam? that way the background would be green. 🙂

    1. I’m still here so it’s not a problem 🙂 In all honesty, I wouldn’t do it because I think the green floral foam is not as sturdy as the white foam and the tooth picks might move downward from the weight of the cupcakes. That’s just my thought, but it’s worth a shot if you feel like it!

      1. Thanks I’ll look when I go to the craft store today. maybe I’ll try both and see which works better 🙂 but I think you may be right

  6. OMG this looks amazing!! You are so crafty…well done!! I’m not even thinking of trying this out.. my last cupcake attempt was a total fiasco so trying out this fancy tree is way out of my league;)

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