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Christmas tree cupcakes on a holiday dessert table with milk.



Christmas tree cupcakes are a December family tradition. Chocolate cupcakes are adorned with sugar cones featuring piped-on frosting. Decorate these elegant desserts with family and friends.


Units Scale


  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) salted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Wilton green gel food coloring
  • 12 small sugar cones (pointed brown cones used for ice cream)*

*ABOUT SUGAR CONES: Use mini sugar cones, about 2 1/2 inches tall. They’re often called waffle cones. If using full size cones, 4 1/2 inches tall, you’ll need to double the frosting recipe. Select cones without deep ridges. The type with deep ridges make piping frosting more difficult.



RECIPE PREP: Adjust oven rack to the center position. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 12-well cupcake pan with paper liners.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Add granulated sugar. Whisk well to combine.
  2. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, sea salt, and cinnamon to the bowl. Whisk just until no large lumps remain. Don’t over-mix.
  3. With a metal scoop, portion out the batter. Divide it between the 12 wells of the cupcake pan. Each well should be 3/4 full.
  4. Bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of 3 cupcakes comes out clean. Cool completely (about 1 hour) on a wire rack.


RECIPE PREP: Fit a piping bag with a small star tip.

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat softened butter until light and fluffy. 
  2. Drape a lint-free cloth over the mixer to protect your countertop from puffs of sugar. With the speed on low, slowly add powdered sugar to the bowl. After sugar is fully incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla extract. 
  3. Increase the speed to medium. Beat 2 minutes or until the frosting becomes light and fluffy. Add green food coloring to the frosting (I started with 3/4 teaspoon Wilton green gel food color) and mix well. Add additional coloring as needed, until the frosting reaches the desired shade of green.
  4. Transfer 3/4 of the frosting to the prepared piping bag with tip. Reserve remaining frosting for spreading.


  1. Work with one sugar cone at a time. With a mini off-set spatular or butter knife, spread a very thin layer of reserved frosting over one of the sugar cones. Place the cone, pointed side up, on a chocolate cupcake.
  2. Starting at the base, pipe short bursts of frosting onto the cone. Continue piping around the whole cone and all the way up until all surfaces are covered. Dust the trees with powdered sugar. Repeat process with remaining sugar cones and cupcakes.


RECIPE TIP: Allow cupcakes to cool 1 hour before decorating. Although they will feel cool to the touch much earlier, there’s still heat in the center that will rise up to escape. If sugar cones are put on top of the cupcakes too soon, the icing will become warm, limp and droopy.

HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER CUPCAKES: Store undecorated (completely cooled) cupcakes in an airtight container with snap-down lid. Stored at a cool room temperature away from sun and heat, they’ll stay fresh on the countertop up to 2 days. For longer storage, refrigerate up to 3 days. 

  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Christmas Tree Cupcakes, Ice Cream Cone Christmas Tree, Sugar Cone Christmas Trees