Homemade Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes

Homemade Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes – the homemade version of your favorite childhood holiday snack, with tender yellow cake, whipped cream, and white chocolate.

White chocolate covered petit fours.

Homemade Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes

Do you remember the Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes from the grocery store? These were a fan-favorite at my house growing up. On special occasions, like field trips, my mom would surprise us with a Little Debbie treat. And oh! What a treat these were! Yellow cake, filled with whipped cream and dipped in chocolate. Yum!

While my taste buds have matured quite a bit since then, the nostalgia of these little tree cakes remains the same.

Christmas Tree Cakes with sprinkles on a plate.

I couldn’t have been more excited when an Instagram follower suggested I make a homemade version of the Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes. What a great idea – because we all know the packaged ones don’t taste nearly the same as they used to.

How to Make Homemade Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes

  • Make one Classic Yellow Cake (recipe below) in an 11″ x 15″ rectangular cake pan or similar size.
  • Cool the cake completely and then you have two options: first, you can start by torting (cutting in hang lengthwise) the entire sheet cake. After torting the cake, keep the two layers stacked and then cut your tree shapes using a cookie cutter (I used THIS ONE). OR, you can do the reverse: cut your tree shapes using a cookie cutter first and then split each tree in half. Either way, you’re looking to create 2-layer, 4-inch trees.
  • Make stabilized whipped cream, using E-Z Gel.
  • Fill each tree cake with whipped cream, making sure the whipped cream goes to the edge of the tree shape. You don’t want gaps between the cake layers, otherwise the chocolate won’t cover the cake as smoothly.
  • Place the tree cakes on a baking sheet in a single layer, seal with a fitted cover or plastic wrap, and then freeze overnight.
  • Freezing the tree cakes is essential for dipping the trees in white chocolate.
  • Melt good quality white chocolate.
  • Dip the frozen trees in white chocolate and the place on parchment paper.
  • Immediately decorate the trees with sprinkles.
  • Allow the chocolate to harden and then pipe additional designs with vanilla buttercream. You’ll only need about 1/4th batch of the buttercream for the piping designs.
Homemade Christmas Tree Cakes cut in half.

Tips for Making Christmas Tree Cakes

We just went through the steps for making the Christmas tree cakes, but let’s review the important tips you need to know to ensure the process is smooth sailing!

  • If possible, use a sheet pan that has 2-inch tall sides. If you don’t have a sheet pan/cake pan with tall sides, you may want to consider dividing the batter between two sheet pans (also known as jelly roll pans), so you don’t have cake batter bake over the sides.
  • Cool the cake completely before cutting your shapes.
  • Use a metal cookie cutter, not plastic.
  • Make sure to add E-Z Gel to your gelatin to stabilize it. If you can’t find E-Z Gel, you can bloom gelatin for your whipped cream.
  • Use a knife or icing spatula to smooth the whipped cream along the sides of the cakes.
  • Freeze the mini cakes overnight before dipping in white chocolate to ensure the cakes don’t break and fall apart as you dip.
  • Use good quality white chocolate, similar to what I linked above.
  • Add sprinkles while the chocolate is still soft.
Overhead shot of homemade Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes.

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White chocolate covered petit fours.

Homemade Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes

5 from 40 votes
The homemade version of your favorite childhood holiday snack, with tender yellow cake, whipped cream, and white chocolate.

Ingredients
 

For the Cake

  • 3 cups (345 g) cake flour
  • 2 tsp (8 g) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (6 g) salt
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (72 g) grapeseed oil can use vegetable or canola
  • 5 whole eggs at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks at room temperature
  • 2 tsp (8.4 g) clear vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240 g) sour cream at room temperature

For the Whipped Cream

  • 3 cups (693 g) heavy whipping cream cold
  • 1 cup (125 g) powdered sugar measured then sifted
  • 2 tbsp (3 g) E-Z Gel
  • 1 tsp (4.2 g) vanilla extract

For the White Chocolate

  • 2.5 lbs good quality white chocolate

Instructions
 

For the Cake

  • Set your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray an 11" x 15" rectangular baking sheet with nonstick spray, line the bottom with parchment paper, and spray again. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, oil, and sugar on medium-high for 3 minutes, until light in color and fluffy in texture.
  • With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. Continue to beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until smooth. Add extracts and stir to combine.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add in internals, blending after each addition: ⅓ dry ingredients, ½ sour cream, ⅓ dry ingredients, ½ sour cream, ⅓ dry ingredients.
  • Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Cool completely before cutting into tree shapes.

For the Whipped Cream

  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip cream, E-Z Gel, powdered sugar, and vanilla on high speed until stiff peaks form.

For the White Chocolate

  • When ready to dip: using a double boiler or microwave safe bowl, melt the white chocolate.
    If using the microwave, heat in intervals to ensure you don't burn the chocolate.

For Assembly

  • Using a tree-shaped cookie cutter, cut the cake layer into 24 to 26 trees.
  • Split each tree in half, using a serrated knife.
  • Pipe whipped cream on one tree, making sure to pipe to the edge of the tree. Place a second tree on top of the whipped cream and gently pat into place to secure the trees.
  • Once all of the trees have been assembled, cover and freeze the trees overnight.
  • When you're ready to start dipping, gently dip a frozen tree into the melted white chocolate, using a fork to help you lift the tree up and onto parchment paper.
  • Cover in sprinkles while the chocolate is still wet.
  • Allow the chocolate to harden before serving.
Cuisine Cake
Course Dessert
Keyword Christmas Tree Cakes, Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes, Mini Christmas Tree Cakes, Whipped Cream, White Chocolate, Yellow Cake

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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