Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan Gluten-Free)

Fun and festive Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes with a rich chocolate cupcake base and a secret Christmas tree made with buttercream. Decorate these trees with sprinkles for a deliciously vegan and gluten-free bake.

I just love all things festive and being able to turn every day chocolate cupcakes into Christmas trees (and Christmas hats) is so exciting. I have been waiting all year to make these trees after seeing a few similar wafer-cone trees over the Internet. I knew I wanted to make my own recipe to show off this really easy trick that makes for a really fun and exciting Christmassy bake.

A Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcake with a bauble
Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes

Why will I love these cupcakes?

These Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes are really fun, they are:

  • Rich, chocolatey and decadent
  • Easy to make with a few simple ingredients
  • The batter comes together in one bowl
  • Light, moreish and tender
  • Decorated with a wafer cone and peppermint buttercream “tree”
  • Fun to make with little ones
  • Naturally vegan and nut-free and easily gluten-free
  • Great to make for gatherings, parties and gifts

If you already love the sound of these festive cupcakes, skip ahead to the recipe card below. Or, first let’s discus the recipe in more detail.

Unwrapped Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes
Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes

What ingredients do I need?

The base of the cupcake is the same as for my Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes which needs:

  • Plant-based milk: any dairy-free milk like oat, soya, coconut or almond is great.
  • Lemon juice: this helps to curdle the milk to form a buttermilk which binds the batter. You can also use apple cider vinegar.
  • Coffee powder: for flavour, this adds so much richness to chocolate batters. If you need these to be decaf, use decaf coffee or you can skip it out and they are still delicious.
  • Caster sugar: this sugar is finer than coconut sugar and makes for a rich, chocolatey batter but you could use golden caster or coconut sugar.
  • Sunflower oil: for moisture and richness, I love using liquid oils for the best cupcakes. You can also use light olive oil, too.
  • Self-raising flour: to keep these really light, use self-raising flour and if needed, make these gluten-free by using your preferred 1:1 gluten-free baking flour that contains a gum or thickener like xanthan gum.
  • Cocoa powder: for the rich chocolatey flavour. I use cocoa as opposed to cacao powder here as it makes the cupcakes richer and darker as cocoa powder is more acidic.
  • Bicarbonate of soda and salt: for rise and flavour.
Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcake with a spoon of cupcake
Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes

As for the buttercream, this is:

  • Vegan butter: make sure this is room temperature for the buttercream for the best texture and fluffiest buttercream. This is the block kind of butter like Flora Plant-Based or Naturli in the UK.
  • Icing sugar: for the sweet and fluffy frosting.
  • Aquafaba: this makes the frosting even fluffier as it acts like a Swiss meringue-style buttercream as the aquafaba whips up into the butter and sugar, creating more air. You can use plant-based milk instead, if needed.
  • Peppermint essence: for a delicious chocolate mint cupcake. Make sure this is American peppermint as opposed to spearmint. If you prefer, you can use vanilla essence.
  • Green food gel: for colouring the buttercream. Try to use vegan food gels as opposed to liquid where you can, as the colour is much more concentrated meaning it won’t split the buttercream. You can find a great range of vegan food colours from The Baking Time Club and my code AMY20 saves you 20% off their sprinkles, too.
  • Wafer ice cream cones: this is the secret to the Christmas tree shape. Cut the cone from the wafer ice cream cone so you have a nice clean point to place on top of the cupcake.
  • Mini cookie dough balls or chocolates: I like to add a little surprise inside the wafer cone and the Livias’ nugglets or chocolate covered raisins, nuts or little chocolate chips would be a great addition.
  • Sprinkles: to decorate the trees.
Half eaten unwrapped Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcake
Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes

How do I make these?

These cupcakes come together in one bowl:

  • Whisk together the wet ingredients: till smooth.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and whisk again: to reach a smooth batter.
  • Divide between 10 large cupcake cases: and bake for 17-20 minutes till springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack.
  • Make the buttercream: beat together all the ingredients till fluffy.
  • Leave some white and colour the rest green: for both parts of the tree.
  • Trim the wafer cones so the trees are approx. 10 cm tall: this makes them the perfect size.
  • Place a cookie dough or chocolate on top of each cupcake: and place the water cone tree on top.
  • Pipe white frosting all over the bases: this also helps secure the cone.
  • Pipe green stars all the way up the cone to make the tree: and cover the top, too.
  • Decorate with sprinkles: and a star on top.
Close up of one Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcake
Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes

Are these gluten-free and nut-free?

These cupcakes are nut-free, please check that your butter, milk and other ingredients do not contain nuts. To make them gluten-free, check that your wafers do not contain gluten and use gluten-free 1:1 baking flour.

How long will they last?

Once made, these are best eaten within 1-2 days as the wafer cones will soften over time and they make not look as neat. But they will be delicious for 3-5 days, kept in the fridge in a sealed container. They are best eaten at room temperature and can also be frozen (without the trees) for up to 1 month, and allow to defrost at room temperature.

A Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes and a Christmas Hat Cupcake
Christmas Tree and Christmas Hat Chocolate Cupcakes

What else can I make?

I hope you will love these Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes and for more ideas, how about my:

Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcake with a spoon of cupcake

Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Fun and festive Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes with a rich chocolate cupcake base and a secret Christmas tree made with buttercream. Decorate these trees with sprinkles for a deliciously vegan and gluten-free bake.


For the Cupcakes:

  • 240ml plant-based milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp coffee powder, optional
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 80ml sunflower or light olive oil
  • 170g self-raising flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt

For the Frosting:

  • 200g vegan butter, softened
  • 450g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp aquafaba
  • ½ tsp peppermint essence
  • 2-3 drops green food gel
  • 10 mini cookie dough balls or small chocolates, optional
  • 10 ice cream wafer cones
  • Sprinkles


  1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180ºC and line 10 muffin holes with cases in a tray.
  2. For the cupcakes: in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the plant-based milk and lemon juice and leave for 5 minutes. Now whisk in the coffee, sugar and oil.
    Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda and add the salt. Whisk to a smooth batter.
  3. To bake: use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter between 10 cases, filling about ¾ full. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until springy to touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the tins to cool fully on a wire rack.
  4. To make the buttercream: beat the softened butter using a handheld electric or freestanding mixer until smooth. Gradually beat in the icing sugar, aquafaba and vanilla till really light and fluffy.
  5. To colour the buttercream: remove 150g of the frosting to keep white and now beat in 2-3 drops of green food gel to reach your desired colour. Place the white frosting in a small piping bag with a small star shape (or similar) and place the green frosting in a large piping bag with a larger star-shaped nozzle (or other).
  6. To prepare the trees: carefully slice the bottoms off the wafer cones, so you have a triangle cone, about 10-cm tall, or less.
  7. To decorate: make a small hole in the top of each cupcake and place the cookie dough ball on top, followed by the wafer cone, this helps it stay in place. Now pipe some white frosting all over the top of the cupcake. Using the green frosting, pipe small stars all over the cone, to make a Christmas tree effect. Decorate with sprinkles.
  8. To store: enjoy straight away or keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-5 days, and best eaten at room temperature. You can freeze the unfrosted cupcakes for up to 1 month, wrapped well.

Recommended Products

As a brand ambassador and affiliate, I may earn commission from links.

I look forward to hearing what you think of these Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes so please let me know in the comments below and leave a star review above. If you do make these, I’d love to see so please tag me, I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With Christmas tree love x

Leave a Reply

Skip to Recipe