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Cupcake Christmas Tree

Heather McKinley of Mechanic Falls, Maine shared this minty twist on typical cupcakes, then our Test Kitchen arranged them in a tree shape for a pretty presentation. The star on the top of the tree and cute packages tucked beneath are a snap to make with colorful candies.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 45 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    23 servings


  • 1 package devil's food cake mix (regular size)
  • 1-1/2 cups mint chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2-2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon green paste food coloring
  • Candy-coated milk chocolate miniature kisses
  • 2 chocolate stars
  • 12 Starburst candies


  • Prepare cake batter mix according to package directions for cupcakes; fold in chips. Fill foil-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.
  • Bake at 350° for 18-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • For frosting, in a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in milk and extracts until blended. Transfer 2 tablespoons to a small bowl; stir in cocoa. Stir green food coloring into remaining frosting.
  • Frost 21 cupcakes with green frosting; arrange in a pyramid to form a tree. Decorate all but the top cupcake with miniature kisses for lights. Frost two cupcakes with chocolate frosting and place at base of tree for trunk; top each with a chocolate star. Save remaining cupcake for another use.
  • With a rolling pin, roll two yellow Starburst candies flat; cut with 2-in. and 1-1/2-in. star-shaped cookie cutters. Press smaller star onto larger star; place on cupcake at top of tree.
  • For presents, roll five Starburst candies into 3x3/4-in. rectangles; cut each rectangle into four 3-in.-long strips. Place two strips widthwise on one whole Starburst candy; press together at base to attach.
  • For bow, form two strips into figure eights; press together in center and press onto wrapped candy. Repeat with remaining strips and remaining four whole Starburst candies. Place presents beneath cupcake tree.

Editor's Note
If mint chocolate chips are not available, place 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips and 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract in a plastic bag; seal and toss to coat. Allow chips to stand for 24-48 hours.

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  • abreendre
    Aug 18, 2012

    Quick and easy and the grandchildren loved decorating it.

  • totontonytonia
    Dec 15, 2008

    I made the tree with large cupcake liners, like muffins,and put fruitcocktail cake in them then iced with white icing and dip in green sugar, used 10 for the tree & 2 for the trunk (brown) I only needed 12. It was for Christmas Bunco and was tooo cute and easy.

  • Madelyn07
    Dec 15, 2008

    I made this yesterday for the church potluck, everyone loved them kids and adults. Especially some of the younger kids who were there watching me icing it in the church basement, imagine their eyes when it was all put together and decorated. I iced the cupcakes and then took just a little icing so they were joined together so it looked like a cake, but with no mess but the muffin wrappers!!! I used mini m+m's for the decorations and also sprinkled some green sprinkles so it was sparkly! Intsead of the chocolate mint muffin thing i just used vanilla and also for the icing, i didn't bother making my own, just one can of vanilla Betty crocker stuff with green food colouring for the tree and chocolate for the bottom. I still have green food colouring on my fingers, i guess i touched the side of the bowl!oopsI wish I had taken a picture!so easy to make and adorable looking, even for the little presents on the bottom, so easy!I give it 10/ 10 !