This Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes Recipe tastes better than the original! Made using a cake mix and homemade marshmallow frosting, you’ll never go back to the store bought version!
Copycat recipes are my favorite. If you haven’t already, make sure you try my Homemade Hostess Cupcakes, Circus Cookies, and Girl Scout Thin Mints!
- Cake Mix Hack: I’m a sucker for a good cake mix hack and this recipe nails it. Checking all of the boxes in flavor and texture, you’d never know it started from a box.
- Perfect Copycat: As self proclaimed number one fans of the classic cakes, this tastes BETTER.
- No Fail: Listen, if you make a mistake, call it character and keep going. Some of my tree’s were shaped oddly but not a single person noticed! The flavor is where it counts and that is no fail.
One year, for Christmas, we purchased 30 boxes of Little Debbie Christmas Tree cakes for my son. THIRTY BOXES. I wrapped them all individually, some placed in larger boxes, and it is to this day my all-time best practical joke.
Did we eat all of them? No. Definitely handed them out to every friend and neighbor we could, but we did eat a lot. Too many, if I’m being honest. Those tiny white cakes are addicting and our favorite holiday tradition. I knew I wanted to make my own version.
As far as homemade Little Debbie Cakes go, this one is a winner. Soft and sponge cake, perfect marshmallow cream filling, and a light coating of melted chocolate. It is dessert gold.
CHRISTMAS TREE CAKE INGREDIENTS
I did use a cake mix as the base for this recipe. It seemed like the obvious choice and one that could easily duplicate that classic flavor. However, there are a few “hacks” I used to get that perfect sponge. Here is what you need:
- White Cake Mix: The dry mix. Disregard the ingredient list on the back.
- Flour: A touch of white flour adds to the texture in all of the right ways.
- Sugar: Ok, hear me out. This is one of the ingredients that helps take away that processed chemical like flavor. Trust the process.
- Sour Cream: Adds just a little tang, but more so adds moisture to the batter.
- Butter: Melted butter mixed in is just enough fat to keep things moist.
- Milk: Try to let the milk, eggs and butter come to room temperature before using. This helps everything mix together evenly and lets the butter stir in smooth.
- Egg whites: Separating eggs is super simple. Crack the egg in the middle and pass the yolk between the two pieces, letting the whites fall into a bowl below.
- Marshmallow Fluff: The cream filling secret ingredient. I used my marshmallow frosting recipe from my smore cupcakes. It is SO GOOD.
- Powdered Sugar: Enough to give the filling a little structure, but not too much to overpower the flavor.
- White Chocolate: You can use white chocolate, but it can be a touch temperamental when you melt it. I like to reach for almond bark or candy melts.
- Sprinkles: You could use holiday sprinkles, but for an authentic look you will need green sanding sugar.
- Red Frosting: I purchased a small tube of red frosting from the store. You can make your own frosting, but getting that deep red color is a little tricky.
COPYCAT LITTLE DEBBIE CHRISTMAS TREE CAKE RECIPE
- PREP: Line two cookie trays (half sheet pans 18″x 13″) with a slight lip up the side with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- CAKE: Add all of the ingredients for the cake into a mixing bowl and whisk until combined, roughly 1 minute.
- BAKE: Divide the batter, 2-1/2 cups each, into the prepared trays. Spread evenly over the bottom until even. Bake 12 minutes, or until the cakes are cooked through. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- COOL: Carefully remove the cakes from the pan onto a cooling rack, using the parchment paper to help remove them easily. Allow to cool.
- CUT: Using a cookie cutter that has been misted with baking spray, cut the tree shapes from the cake, placing on a parchment lined tray.
- FROST: Spread, or pipe frosting over half of the tree shaped cakes. Sandwich with a second cake.
- CHILL: Place the filled cake sandwiches in the freezer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until more firm and easy to handle.
- DIP: Melt the chocolate according to the package directions. Dip each cake sandwich in the chocolate, coating fully. Immediately add sprinkles and allow to set before adding red frosting lines across the top.
- Christmas Tree Cookie Cutter: You can make this any holiday shape. For the classic tree you would use a Christmas tree cookie cutter (affiliate), which is about $8 on amazon.
- Green Sanding Sugar: Sanding sugar (affiliate) is a coarse sugar that is perfect for decorating. It’s slightly larger sugar crystals that are colored green.
- Red Frosting: You can make homemade frosting, but I find a small tube of red frosting (affiliate) is honestly much easier. It can be difficult to get a deep red color in a frosting. This saves the hassle.
If you find that your chocolate is a little too thick to dip the delicate cakes, you can add a spoonful or two of shortening. Shortening will help to thin the chocolate without causing it to seize.
Yes. This cake is super moist and needs to be slightly frozen in order to dip in the chocolate. If you skip the chilling process, these cakes will fall apart inside the melted chocolate.
We’ve enjoyed these copycat Little Debbie cakes for up to 4 days after making. Keep them stored in an airtight container until ready to eat.
I like to use either vanilla almond bark, which tastes remarkably similar to the traditional cakes, or white candy melts.
My best tip is to spray the cookie cutter with baking spray. This is a bakers must-have item and will help the cookie cutter slip away from the cake without holding on to any of the crumbs.
Still looking for more holiday treats? Be sure to try my Christmas Muddy Buddies!
MORE MUST-TRY HOLIDAY RECIPES
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Copycat Christmas Tree Cake Recipe
For the Cake:
- 1 (15.25oz) white cake mix
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup sour cream room temperature
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 1 cup milk room temperature
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Marshmallow Filling
- 3/4 cup butter softened
- 1 (7oz) can marshmallow fluff
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Toppings:
- 24 oz vanilla almond bark melted according to the package
- 2 tablespoons green sanding sugar
- 1/4 cup red buttercream or frosting
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Line two cookie trays (half sheet pans 18″x 13″) and set aside for later.
- Whisk the cake mix, flour, sugar, sour cream, melted butter, milk, egg whites, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl.
- Spread 2-1/2 cups of the batter into each prepared pan.
- Bake 12 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Carefully remove the cakes from the pan onto a cooling rack, using the parchment paper to help remove them easily. Allow to cool.
- Add the soft butter with the marshmallow cream into a mixing bowl. Mix with a handheld or stand mixer until incorporated.
- Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Stir until combined.
- Using a cookie cutter that has been misted with baking spray, cut the tree shapes from the cake, placing on a parchment lined tray.
- Spread, or pipe frosting over half of the tree shaped cakes. Sandwich with a second cake.
- Place the filled cake sandwiches in the freezer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until more firm and easy to handle.
- Melt the chocolate according to the package directions, adding a spoonful or two of shortening if it needs to be thinned for easier dipping.
- Dip each cake sandwich in the chocolate, coating fully.
- Place on a parchment lined work surface and immediately add sprinkles
- Allow the chocolate to set and then add lines of red frosting to finish.
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