Easy Christmas Tree Cupcakes with gingerbread cake, snowy frosting and an ice cream cup decorated with frosting. These Christmas cupcakes are perfect for the holiday season and are a lot of fun to make.
Gingerbread cake is truly a seasonal dessert that I can’t get enough of. Maybe it’s the molasses and spices that I adore so much but I love to stock up on molasses this time of year and like to create desserts just for the holiday season.
Cupcakes are one of my favorite desserts to make for a crowd. I love being able to whip up the cake batter and get creative with frosting techniques and flavors. When I saw these trees a few years back on the Better Homes and Gardens website, I knew I wanted to make them.
I’ve had a lot of positive response from my friends and blog readers regarding cupcakes and I thought that this would be a fun project to get kids together to work on over winter break.
Getting that picture perfect snowy white frosting is easy and I made it using shortening. Using shortening in place of butter while gives it a true white color and the shortening helps to stabilize the frosting, making it easier to get smooth edges.
I always use an offset spatula or butter knife to help apply the frosting. It helps to run the spatula under hot water then dry it with a towel and run it along the edge of the cupcake in a circle to get clean edges.
To create the green frosted Christmas tree, use an open star cake dip to decorate it. It doesn’t need to be perfect and the application gets much easier as you move alone decorating. The buttercream sticks perfectly to the waffle cone.
If you know people won’t bother eating the cone, you can use shortening in place of butter.
I’d grown up by spending the afternoon in the kitchen baking holiday treats then set up the Christmas tree and holiday decorations at night. I’ve carried those same traditions in my family and will do the same this year.
Since Christmas is just a few weeks away, I’ll be sharing more holiday desserts that my family has adored for generations. What are some of your family traditions for the holiday season?
Easy Gingerbread Christmas Tree Cupcakes
- 3/4 cup ginger ale soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 2/3 cup mild molasses ( I used Grandma's brand )
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger root ( or additional 1/2 teaspoon ground gresh giinger )
Green Tree Frosting
- 2 sticks unsalted butter ( 1 cup ), at room temperature
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon CLEAR vanilla extract or imitation
- 3 1/2 cups powdered confectioners' sugar
- 20 drops green food coloring
- 10-20 drops blue food coloring ( helps to darken the green color )
White Cupcake Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening ( this will ensure a white snow )
- 2 1/2 teaspoons CLEAR vanilla extract or imitation
- 6 cups powdered confectioners' sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons milk or cream
- 1/2 cup mini colored candies such as mini jawbreakers, mini m&ms, or chocolate covered sunflower seeds
- 18 ice cream waffle cones
- For the CupcakesPreheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin tins with parchment cupcake liners; set aside.In s small saucepan, boil ginger ale soda. Take pot off heat then stir in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder. Stir in molasses and 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Stir to dissolve both sugars; set aside.In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 2 tablespoons ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ground cloves; set aside.In wet molasses mixture, stir in eggs, oil and fresh ginger root or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Carefully whisk over sink to combine well.Whisk wet mixture into flour mixture a little at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Whisk batter well for a minute to remove lumps.Pour about 1/4 cup batter into each cupcake liner. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.Allow cupcakes to cool on wire rack while making frosting.For the Green FrostingIn a bowl fit with a paddle or wire whisk, beat butter, 1/4 cup shortening and sour cream for a few minutes. Beat in clear vanilla extract. I've used clear vanilla so the green color is not tinted brown.Slowly beat in 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar at a time while continuing to beat. Beat for 1 minute to remove lumps once done.Add in green and blue food coloring until a green color develops that you like. More or less blue and green color may need to be added. The blue will help to darken the green color.To make the trees, use an open star cake tip. Fill a piping bag with frosting then frost each cone. I reserve the top half of the cone for my hand while frosting the bottom. Then I set the cones aside on a baking sheet while leaving the top part unfrosted just to use this part for the fingers to place it onto the cupcake later. You can frost the top of the cone once it's on the cupcake in place.For the White FrostingIn a bowl with a whisk attachment, beat shortening until smooth. Carefully beat in 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar at a time, adding 1 tablespoon milk at a time as needed.Beat in vanilla extract and butter.Add frosting to top of each cooled cupcake. Use a butter knife or offset spatula warmed under hot water and dried to smooth and melt frosting lines to make the snow appear smooth.To assemble, top each cupcake with a frosted tree using the top of the unfrosted tree to slightly push in and secure the tree on the white snow frosting. Carefully hold each treetop at the tip to finish piping with green frosting.Dust with confectioners' sugar and carefully push in colored candies into tree.