Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes are a holiday tradition at our house, but they can be hard to find. Now you can make them at home! We’ve perfected the copycat recipe to get the classic look as well as the authentic flavor.
We brought these Homemade Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes to our family’s Christmas Eve party and they were a huge hit!
Everybody said they tasted better than the Little Debbie version.
We’re all heart eyes and giggles over this latest copycat recipe.
We’re thrilled that so many people are making this recipe for Christmas this year.
May it be a family tradition that you can do with your loved ones for years to come.
Disclosure – I may get a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.
Key to Success #1 – Make The Springy Sponge Cake Batter
The cake for the Christmas Tree Cakes is a classic sponge cake, but we’re making it easy by doctoring up a boxed cake mix.
To make the boxed cake mix into a sponge cake, we’re whipping six eggs for a full six minutes until they are thick and pale yellow.
Set a timer for 6 minutes so that you’ll be sure they are whipped enough.
We’re whipping the whole eggs together.
Not just the yolks. Not just the whites.
This will give it plenty of richness while also keeping the cake light and fluffy.
It’s one of my favorite tricks to make a delightful light and delicious sponge cake.
Next, beat in the cake mix, powdered sugar, water, and oil on medium speed.
Powdered sugar is also a secret ingredient in this recipe.
Trust me, you won’t want to skip it.
Key to Success #2 – Bake Thin Cakes
We’re baking our cake on a rimmed baking sheet so that the cakes will be thin.
Each Christmas tree cake will have two very thin cakes with a cream filling sandwiched in the middle of them.
Make sure your baking sheets are half-sheet-sized, which is 18×13 inches.
You will need two pans of this size.
If you only have one pan, you will need to bake your cake in batches.
It’s perfectly acceptable to bake the cakes one at a time.
You’ll just need to wait until both cakes are cool before going to the next step.
Line the pans with parchment paper so that the cakes will be easy to remove from the pan.
Be sure to spray the pan and the parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray.
Bake the cakes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes until the cakes spring back when gently touched.
Rotate your pans halfway through cooking to ensure that the cakes bake evenly.
After the cakes come out of the oven, allow them to cool completely.
When cool, use your 3-inch or 4-inch Christmas Tree cookie cutters to cut out 20 or more cakes.
We were able to cut out 27 Christmas tree shapes from our cakes and it was more than enough.
We ended up with 13 finished Christmas tree cakes from the 27 Christmas tree shapes.
Since we started with an odd number, we had one left over. I promise you it did not go to waste.
Key to Success #3 – Make the Luscious Marshmallow Filling
The filling for these cute little Christmas Tree Cakes is a fluffy marshmallow frosting.
Using an electric mixer, whip together a jar of marshmallow creme, softened butter, and vanilla until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Next, slowly add in the powdered sugar and beat the filling until it is smooth and creamy.
If you have a piping bag, you can fit it with a small round piping tip like a Wilton #5, then spoon the filling into it.
If not, you can spoon the filling into a large zip-top plastic bag and then snip off the end to use it as a piping bag.
Since we are not doing any precise piping, you can use either method.
Once you have your filling in the bag, you can use it to cover one Christmas tree shape with the filling.
Outline the cake with filling then continue piping toward the center until it is completely covered with the filling.
You do not have to smooth out the filling with a knife.
Just place the other Christmas tree shape on top of the filling and press it down gently.
This will squish the filling to the edges and make it fill in perfectly.
You just want to make sure that the filling gets all the way to the edges of the Christmas tree shape.
Homemade Christmas Tree Cakes – Little Debbie Copycat Recipe
Key to Success #4 – Freeze For Easy Dipping
After all the Christmas Tree sandwiches are made, it’s time to freeze them so that they will be easy to dip in white almond bark.
Place all the Christmas Tree sandwiches onto a baking sheet that has been lined with waxed paper then pop it into the freezer.
Freeze the Christmas tree cakes until they are completely firm, for at least 2 hours.
You can leave them in the freezer uncovered for 2-3 hours or overnight.
If you are freezing them longer than this, individually wrap the cakes in plastic wrap to protect them from freezer burn.
Key to Success #5 – Cover with White Almond Bark
For the white coating on our Christmas Tree Cakes, we’re going with vanilla almond bark that has been thinned a bit.
Thinning the almond bark is a key to making a Christmas Tree Cake just like Little Debbie.
After the almond bark has melted, add in two tablespoons of Crisco shortening.
You can find Crisco shortening in the baking aisle of any grocery store.
It comes in a can or in sticks.
I prefer the sticks because it’s easier to use and store.
Make sure you get the plain unflavored variety, not the butter-flavored Crisco.
Stir the Crisco shortening into the melted almond bark until it is melted and smooth.
One by one, dip the frozen Christmas Tree sandwiches into the melted almond bark.
Spoon the almond bark over the Christmas Tree cakes to make sure they are completely covered.
Use two forks to remove the coated Christmas Trees to a sheet of waxed paper to dry and harden.
While the almond bark is still wet, sprinkle green sanding sugar over the almond bark.
Key to Success #6 – Stripe the Christmas Trees with Red Cookie Icing
The pouches of red cookie icing that you can find at the grocery store are the perfect consistency to make the stripes on our Christmas Tree Cakes.
This is not the tiny tubes of decorating gel.
They are pouches of colored frosting that you can find in the baking aisle.
You can find pouches that come with decorating tips.
But many of them are the kind where you just snip off the tip of the nozzle and then squeeze the icing out.
Wait until the almond bark has dried and hardened before applying the red icing stripes.
Start about halfway down the side of the Christmas Tree Cake.
Hold the pouch of frosting about a half-inch above the Christmas Tree so that the icing falls across the cake gently.
You don’t want to pipe a hard straight line across the cake or it won’t look natural and authentic.
Pipe four or five red lines across the cake.
They do not have to be straight. In fact, they should not be all straight and perfect.
Allow the red cookie icing to dry before moving the Christmas tree cakes.
Once the Christmas Tree Cakes are fully tried, they are easy to move around or transport as needed.
We ended up with 13 fully decorated Christmas Tree cakes and had plenty of filling and red cookie icing left over.
I was concerned that I might run out of those two items but I really had more than enough.
You can use your leftover cake, filling, and supplies to make Christmas Tree Cake Balls!
Save this Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes copycat recipe to your favorite Christmas board or your Cute Christmas Treats board.
Christmas Tree Cakes
Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes are a holiday tradition at our house, but they can be hard to find. Now you can make them at home! We've perfected the recipe to get the classic look as well as the authentic flavor.
For the Cake
- 6 eggs
- 1 box white cake mix
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
For the Filling
- 1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
For the White Coating
- 24 oz white almond bark
- 2 Tbsp Crisco shortening
For the Decorations
- green sanding sugar
- 1 red cookie icing pouch
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line bottoms of two half-sheet pans (18x13-inch) with parchment paper. Spray parchment paper with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer on high speed for 6 minutes, until thick and pale yellow.
- Add cake mix, powdered sugar, water, and oil. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds then scrape the bowl. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
- Measure out 2 1/4 cups of batter into each pan. Spread evenly.
- Bake 10-12 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Allow to cool completely.
- Use a 3-inch or 4-inch Christmas Tree cookie cutter to cut out 20 or more Christmas Trees from the cakes. (We were able to get 27 total using a 4-inch Christmas Tree cutter. You need two Christmas Trees for each Christmas Tree Cake.)
- For the filling, beat marshmallow creme, softened butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Spoon the filling into a piping bag fitted with a round tip OR spoon filling into a zip-top plastic baggie and snip off the tip. Pipe frosting all over the top of one Christmas Tree then place a second Christmas Tree on top of the frosting. Repeat for all other Christmas trees.
- Place the Christmas Trees into the freezer for two hours or more until they are firm.
- In a deep bowl that is big enough to fit a Christmas Tree Cake, melt the almond bark by microwaving on high power for 1 minute then stir well. Continue heating in 30-second increments until almond bark is smooth. Stir in Crisco shortening until it melts.
- Dip each frozen cake into almond bark, spooning the almond bark over the cake to coat it well. Use two forks to remove the cakes to a sheet of waxed paper. Immediately sprinkle the green sanding sugar over each cake. Allow to dry completely.
- When dry, snip off the tip of the red cookie frosting and drizzle stripes over each cake.
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CK Products 4 Ounce Sugar Crystals Bottle, Green
Betty Crocker Red Cookie Icing, 7 Oz (Pack of 3)
Wilton 12-Inch Disposable Cake Decorating Bags, 50-Count Pastry Bags
Round Decorating Tip 5
Ann Clark Cookie Cutters Christmas Tree Cookie Cutter, 4"
Sunbeam / Oster 115969-001-000 4 Quart Glass Bowl fits models 2370 and 2371
KitchenAid KSM150PSBY Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield - Boysenberry
KitchenAid KHMB732VB Cordless Hand Mixer, 7 Speed, Blue Velvet
USA Pan Bakeware Half Sheet Pan, Warp Resistant Nonstick Baking Pan, Made in the USA from Aluminized Steel -
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 789Total Fat: 63gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 45gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 533mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 8gSugar: 31gProtein: 19g
Nutrition Information Provided For Educational and Informational Purposes Only.
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Sunday 11th of December 2022
Would I be able to substitute the vegetable oil for melted butter that has been cooled?
Sunday 11th of December 2022
Yes, I think it would work okay.
Monday 5th of December 2022
How would you alter the recipe to make one big cake? I have a Wilson’s tree cake pan and would like to make one cake.
Monday 5th of December 2022
I think the tree cake pan is similar to a 9x13 pan so I’d suggest using the same cake batter recipe and baking until a toothpick comes out clean. Try maybe 25-35 minutes. Then you’d need to cut the tree in half to make two thin layers. Use the same frosting recipe between the layers. And then just spoon the white almond bark over the cake and try to spread it with the back of a spoon or a knife. Please report back if it works! Merry Christmas! 🎄
Thursday 16th of December 2021
What would you add to make chocolate filling?
Thursday 16th of December 2021
@Kareen Lively, If you wanted to make chocolate filling I would suggest adding 3 or 4 squares (about 1 ounce) of unsweetened baking chocolate that has been melted and cooled to the filling. Stir it very, very well until it is an even color and consistency and you should be good to go.