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

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

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 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 a good quality white chocolate, similar to what I linked above.
  • Add sprinkles while the chocolate is still soft.
Christmas Tree Cakes
White chocolate covered petit fours.

Homemade Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes

5 from 22 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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Everything you need to know about decorating a cake like a pro!

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Comments

  1. This cake alone is phenomenal!!!! I can’t ever eat or make another cake. Thank you for sharing this recipe. The sheet pan I used I feel like may have been too small even though it was the size you said and I didn’t get that many cakes out of it. I also did use a plastic tree cutter but I think next time I’ll have to use a metal one. Thank you so much!! You make phenomenal looking cakes. I can only imagine the taste in your cakes.

  2. Is there anything that you can substitute to E-Z Gel for? I can’t find it anywhere local and don’t have time to order it!

  3. Do I just melt the chocolate, or do I need to do something fancy like tempering it? (which I don’t have a clue how to do!) Thanks

  4. Looking forward to adding these to Cookie Box 2021 (which is starting to have a Little Debbie theme?) But worried about the whipped cream. How long can these last & how do you store them? Thanks for such a nostalgic treat!

  5. I’m getting ready to make these with my kids this week – Can’t wait! Quick question – if the trees are frozen when dipped and decorated, how long does it take for them to come to room temp to eat? Thanks so much

  6. How long can the cakes stay out at room temperature? I’m thinking of adding these to a mix bag of cookies as holiday takeaways.

  7. 5 stars
    These are so cute and a big hit. A coworker said “I’m sure these took a long time to make. They were worth it!”

  8. This cake texture and flavor is heaven! I found using a metal tree cutter was best. I used Lindt white chocolate and tempered it. The dipping process was so easy, a little messy but easy. I used whip n ice from my local cake supple store for the stabilized whip cream. It’s in liquid form and then you just whip it up in the mixer. I tested these before Christmas to make sure I could correct any mistakes I made the first time. But surprisingly, I didn’t! I post baking videos on tik tok and I’ll be sharing this on there and I’ll be sure to tag Cake by Courtney! Thanks for such a wonderful recipe. I’ll be making this for all the holiday.

  9. 5 stars
    Best homemade yellow cake I’ve ever had! I made these for our Christmas party and they were a huge hit! I may be overlooking it, but is the butter extract missing from the recipe?
    Thanks for such a yummy recipe😊