Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes.

Deep chocolate cupcakes flavored with peppermint and coffee, topped with peppermint vanilla frosting, candy canes, and a chocolate drizzle.

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes on Deep chocolate cupcakes flavored with peppermint and coffee, topped with peppermint vanilla frosting, candy canes, and a chocolate drizzle.

I’ve had this cupcake idea up my sleeve for months. And I was going to wait until after Thanksgiving to make them. After our belies are filled with turkey and when Christmas music is “allowed” to be played. (Mind you – I’ve been listening to holiday jingles for the past two weeks. No shame.)

But I couldn’t hold myself back anymore. I wanted a deep, dark chocolate cupcake with peppermint candies, swirls of mocha and chocolate drizzles. How can one honestly resist? Just look at all of this chocolate! Peppermint mochas are a seasonal favorite, but the combination of chocolate, mint, and coffee is on my mind all year long. Surely you remember these minty mocha cookies from August, right?

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes on Deep chocolate cupcakes flavored with peppermint and coffee, topped with peppermint vanilla frosting, candy canes, and a chocolate drizzle.

However, there is just something about this delectable combination of flavors when the snow is falling, family is gathered, and presents are under the tree. Nothing compares to sipping on a warm peppermint mocha during Christmas time. Unless, of course, you’re eating peppermint mocha in the form of a cupcake. NOTHING compares to that.

What we have here is a homemade chocolate cupcake (Death by Chocolate Cupcakes), enhanced with a touch of instant coffee and peppermint extract. The cupcakes are intensely chocolate flavored. The peppermint extract hiding inside the cupcakes is faint and is a complimentary background flavor to the light taste of coffee and powerful taste of chocolate.

Piled on top of that super-moist cupcake is a mountain of peppermint vanilla frosting. Just my simple vanilla frosting recipe flavored with a drop of peppermint extract. I finish them off with a simple chocolate drizzle (just pure melted chocolate) and sprinkles of crushed candy canes. And my, my, my. Aren’t they just fabulous? Better than I had hoped!

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes on Deep chocolate cupcakes flavored with peppermint and coffee, topped with peppermint vanilla frosting, candy canes, and a chocolate drizzle.

Let’s talk about how I messed up the first batch of these cupcakes. I was in a rush and I cheated. Something you should never do when you’re baking from scratch, especially chocolate cupcakes.

Baking science alert:

If you read my Death by Chocolate Cupcake recipe, you will notice that a lot of the ingredients must be at room temperature. Ingredients incorporate into batter much more easily if they’re at similar temperatures. Furthermore, using varied temperature ingredients (warm melted butter, cold buttermilk) may have a negative effect on the way your ingredients bond and trap air inside the baked good – this will, in turn, produce dense cookies, cakes, muffins, etc. When a recipe calls for a particular temperature of your ingredient, make sure you listen.

I also ask that you use a light hand when mixing the cupcake batter. Overmixing will develop the gluten in your batter. Apparently I was quite angry with my first cupcake batter and mixed with force. If you don’t listen to me about the about the temperature of your ingredients and you overmix the batter, the right cupcake is what you will get. (By the way, that mushroom top was crispy.)

How to make perfect cupcakes and mistakes to avoid.

If you do listen to me, this is what you will get. Soft, beautifully crinkled cupcakes. Bringing ingredients to room temperature does take extra time, but if you want a good chocolate cupcake from scratch, then you’ll have to follow the recipe’s instructions. Just try to plan ahead. I typically put out my buttermilk, eggs, and butter (for the frosting) one hour before I begin.

Let’s discuss the frosting. Because what’s a cupcake without frosting? It’s called a muffin. And this is not breakfast, it’s dessert. The frosting is my favorite vanilla frosting recipe. You’ll need butter, powdered (confectioners’) sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and a dash of salt. Beat it all until it’s fabulously creamy and smooth. To this creamy mixture, I add a touch of peppermint extract. Not too much – I don’t want the frosting to taste like mint. I want it to taste like buttery rich vanilla frosting with a hint of mint.

Mint is a very powerful flavor, so be a little cautious when adding it. A little goes a long way.

How to make Vanilla Peppermint Frosting |

Pile the frosting high on top of your mocha minty cupcakes. I use a Wilton 1M swirl to pipe my frosting. For the chocolate drizzle, I simply melted 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate and drizzled it on top of each one. Finish the cupcakes off with a toss of crushed candy canes on top.

I’m not sure if I can pick a favorite part of today’s festive dessert. The fudgy mocha mint cupcakes? The peppermint scented vanilla frosting? The extra chocolate on top? The crunchy candy canes? Please don’t make me choose, I want need it all. It’s the perfect cupcake for those who have flavor A.D.D. 😉

This is the cupcake to wow all of your holiday guests this year. It’s the show-stopping cupcake to bring to holiday parties. The decadent cupcake to fuel your shopping, decorating, and gift wrapping. And it’s most certainly the perfect cupcake to share with your loves.  Kevin enjoyed every single bite. No crumb left behind. (and the guy doesn’t even like coffee!)

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes, plus cooling

Print Recipe

Deep chocolate cupcakes flavored with peppermint and coffee, topped with peppermint vanilla frosting, candy canes, and a chocolate drizzle. Your favorite holiday beverage in cupcake form!



  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon instant coffee*
  • 1/2 cup (64g) unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour* (careful not to overmeasure)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk*

Peppermint Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3-4 cups (360-480g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • salt, to taste

Cupcake Decor

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
  • crushed candy canes


For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each time. You may also melt the butter and chocolate over low heat on the stovetop. Stir until combined, then mix in the instant coffee. Set aside to slightly cool.

In a medium bowl, toss the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract together until smooth. Add the cooled butter/chocolate and whisk until smooth. Add half of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk. Repeat until everything is added. Stir until *just* combined; do not overmix. The batter will be very thick like pudding.

Divide the batter between 12 liners in your cupcake pan. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting: beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes (the longer you beat, the creamier the frosting). Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. Add salt if frosting is too sweet (1/4 teaspoon).

Decorate the cupcakes: Frost cooled cupcakes. There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Top with crushed candy canes right before serving.

Additional Notes:

*Use instant coffee, not coffee grounds.

*Using cake flour instead of all-purpose flour is OK. I find the cupcakes to be slightly softer using cake flour.

*Buttermilk is required for this recipe. If you do not have buttermilk, make your own by mixing 2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice with 1/2 cup milk. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes until curdled.

*Using milk or half-and-half instead of heavy cream for the frosting is OK. However, your frosting won't be as creamy.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.



If you like today’s flavors, try these festive treats next!

Peppermint Crunch Puppy Chow

Peppermint Crunch Puppy Chow


Chocolate Fudge Cookies with Candy Cane Buttercream

Chocolate Fudge Cookies with Candy Cane Buttercream


Mocha Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Mocha Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Candy Cane Chocolate Swirl Fudge

Candy Cane Chocolate Swirl Fudge



See more holiday recipes.

See more cupcake recipes.

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes on Deep chocolate cupcakes flavored with peppermint and coffee, topped with peppermint vanilla frosting, candy canes, and a chocolate drizzle.


138 Responses to “Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes.”

  1. #
    Whitneyposted December 6, 2013 at 12:34 am

    This is my first time visiting your blog and it is delightful!
    I made the cupcakes this evening and they turned out great. So delicious. However, the icing turned out absolutely awful :( It was too buttery, etc. and seemed to melt. I am very new to baking and just wondering if you had any helpful tips for a successful icing? (I know, I’m such a rookie.)



    • Sallyreplied on December 6th, 2013 at 10:35 am

      Hi Whitney! So glad you enjoyed these cupcakes. IF you find the frosting too buttery, always add a bit more powdered sugar. That will soak up the butter. You can add more cream as well. Also, beat the frosting for awhile. The longer you beat, the fluffier (and less greasy) it can get.


  2. #
    Mayaposted December 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Hi Sally! I just made these cupcakes for a bake sale and they look wonderful! I can’t eat them (unfortunately no gluten for me) but they got rave reviews from my family, room temperature really does make a difference! I got perfect crinkly tops :). I am currently trying to make the chocolate to put on top and it keeps on coming out too thick. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, and when it was too thick the first time I added butter, still a no-go. Any suggestions?


    • Sallyreplied on December 8th, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      Hey Maya! Butter shouldn’t be used to thin out melted chocolate chips. Use shortening instead. Though both dense fats, shortening will work wonders with chocolate chips. Or try pure chocolate as suggested.


  3. #
    JenniferWposted December 12, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Oh. Em. GEE! I have been so bummed since my daughter started kindergarten about the “no home baked goods in school” rule. And my daughter signed me up to bring cupcakes to the winter party! I have compromised by planning to bring the kids Gigi’s cupcakes instead of the grocery store cardboard tasting fodder they’re used to. HOWEVER, I will be getting around the rule by baking THESE for all her teachers and staff! And our household of course :) Cannot wait. YUM.


    • Sallyreplied on December 12th, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      I think the kids will enjoy those cupcakes and the staff and teachers (and your family!) will adore these. They are a current favorite :) Thanks Jennifer! Let me know how they go.


  4. #
    Megposted December 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    OMG I am loving that chocolate cake recipe!! A friend of mine did a peppermint mocha latte frosting that would be amazing with this!!


    • Sallyreplied on December 13th, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      That frosting sounds and looks amazing Meg!


  5. #
    Jillian Mposted December 15, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    THESE ARE AMAZING!!! I’m not much of a baker, but thanks to the tips for dummies you included these came out absolutely perfect. I’m already obsessed. Thank you for posting this I cannot wait to share these with all of my family and friends!!


    • Sallyreplied on December 15th, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      Very happy these were a hit, Jillian! Thanks so much for reporting back. I appreciate it!


  6. #
    Amandaposted December 17, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Hi Sally!
    I’m a huge fan of your blog, you get so creative and fun with your recipes!
    I tried these gorgeous cupcakes out last night, and they turned out great! Except for one little problem… when I left them overnight, the crushed candy canes on top completely melted/bled into the icing. Not a big problem taste-wise, but it doesn’t make for the prettiest presentation. Does this ever happen to you? Any suggestions of how to possibly avoid this?


    • Sallyreplied on December 17th, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      Hey Amanda! I’m glad you love my blog – thank you! And I’m so happy you loved the taste of these cupcakes. I’ve never had the candy canes melt/bleed their color into the icing. I had these at room temperature overnight, too. To avoid it – possibly stick in the refrigerator before serving.


  7. #
    Racheleposted December 17, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    Just finished making these on this cold, snowy day — they are AMAZING!! Your website is the best, thanks so much for sharing all of these great recipes! :)


    • Sallyreplied on December 18th, 2013 at 8:56 am

      I love baking on snowy days. And then sipping hot cocoa or tea and eating said baked good looking out the window. I enjoy small things like that! So glad you love these, Rachele. Thanks for reporting back – appreciate it.


  8. #
    Carrieposted December 17, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    I saw this recipe and fell in love with it immediately! I am currently making this for my husband’s work Christmas party, I can’t wait to try them! I absolutely LOVE Peppermint Mocha!


    • Sallyreplied on December 18th, 2013 at 8:55 am

      Woohoo! I hope they are a hit at the party Carrie. And that you love them as well.


      • Carriereplied on December 19th, 2013 at 8:48 pm

        The cupcakes were a hit at my husband’s party and I fell in love with them from first taste!!! I can’t wait to make them next week for Christmas!!!

        • Sallyreplied on December 20th, 2013 at 9:16 am

          Perfect, Carrie! Love hearing that.

  9. #
    Tinaposted December 18, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Hi Sally,
    So the buttermilk, eggs and butter need to be at room temperature for the cupcakes. And I see the butter needs to be at room temperature for the frosting.

    Should the heavy cream be at room temp for the frosting too? I really wanna get this room temp thing right! Thank you!!


    • Sallyreplied on December 18th, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      Great question Tina! Nope, the cream can be cold for the frosting.


  10. #
    Janelleposted December 19, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    I made these tonight for my husband’s work party tomorrow. They are delicious, but I do think the cupcakes themselves could be moister. They are cooked perfectly–not overdone at all. With the frosting they taste fine, but if I were to eat just the cake, I would think it was a bit dry. Maybe I will add a bit of oil next time. Thanks for the recipe!


  11. #
    Pascaleposted December 20, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Huge hit! These were the last thing I baked before going into labour 4 days ago. They were the best thing I ate in the hospital!


    • Sallyreplied on December 20th, 2013 at 9:08 am

      Love it! And congratulations Pascale!


  12. #
    Janelleposted December 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Also, my peppermints looked all wet this morning. I kept them in the fridge overnight so I’m not sure why that happened. So others trying this may want to add them right before serving.


  13. #
    Rachelposted December 23, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    These are yummy! The first time I made them I didn’t listen and over mixed them but the still tasted great! So even if you do over mix them like I did, you can still eat them. They might not look as nice but they still taste good.


  14. #
    Fadtkposted January 2, 2014 at 5:00 am

    Sally! This calls for natural cocoa powder. We dont get those kinds here. Im using cadbury and as far as I know its Dutch Process. Any tips?



    • Sallyreplied on January 2nd, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Unfortunately, you can’t use dutch process cocoa in this recipe. Must be natural. I’m unsure how to adapt the recipe since I’ve never tried it myself. PErhaps you can search for a chocolate cupcake recipe using dutched?


    • Kristinreplied on December 9th, 2014 at 12:21 am

      You can get natural cocoa online from Penzey’s. I get all of my spices and extracts from them.


  15. #
    Lisaposted January 12, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Thank you for being honest in your post about messing up with room temperature ingredients. It is refreshing to see a blogger that doesn’t hide behind a curtain! Plus it was the answer I was looking for as to why my cupcakes for my daughter’s party turned out hideous. You are right about scratch baking being a science and I was racking my brain trying to figure out what happened and almost gave up on my recipe. Giving it another go today.


    • Sallyreplied on January 12th, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      Thanks Lisa. I learn in the kitchen through trial and error and am not afraid to admit it! Hey, we’re all human right? I make mistakes too! Happy you learned from this. I appreciate your comment so much!


  16. #
    Aniniposted February 3, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    If i were to emmit the peppermint extract would it make these…just mocha cupcakes? Could i replace it with more vanilla extract?



    • Sallyreplied on February 3rd, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Yes that would be fine. Enjoy!


  17. #
    Vanessaposted February 11, 2014 at 1:30 am

    Oooh these look amazing! :)


  18. #
    Jaquielynposted March 14, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Hi Sally! Thanks for a great recipe! Can’t wait to surprise my boss with some birthday cupcakes in her favorite flavor! If I want to bring these to work the NEXT day, any tips on how to prepare/store for serving 12 hours later?


    • Sallyreplied on March 15th, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      Hi Jaquielyn! You may certainly make these cupcakes the night before. Frost, cover, and let sit at room temperature overnight. Hope your boss enjoys!


  19. #
    Claraposted June 1, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    What can I substitute the coffee for? (I don’t drink coffee.)


    • Sallyreplied on June 2nd, 2014 at 6:44 am

      I wouldn’t make these mocha cupcakes if you do not like coffee. Or you may leave it out for a peppermint chocolate flavored cupcake.


      • Clarareplied on June 2nd, 2014 at 12:18 pm

        Thanks for the suggestion. :)

  20. #
    Angelaposted November 3, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I was wondering what changes would be necessary if I wanted to make this as a cake versus cupcakes. I was thinking more as a sheet cake.


  21. #
    Samanthaposted November 21, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    We had enough batter to make almost 18 cupcakes. We over filled the first time.


  22. #
    Alexisposted December 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Can I use a different chocolate recipe without melting chocolate?


  23. #
    TD Starposted December 26, 2014 at 1:58 am

    These cupcakes were amazing. Especially the mint taste. I didn’t do the icing and it was still good.


  24. #
    Samantha Elsworthposted February 10, 2015 at 5:01 am

    hi could you make this with out the peppermint extract so you just have a chocolate cupcake I no you have other recipes but I loved this so much with the peppermint in but was hoping I could use it again but with just the vanilla extract in. Thank you


  25. #
    Dimitraposted February 18, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Hi Sally! I’m planning to make these cupcakes this weekend for a friend’s birthday who loves peppermint. I wanted to know if it’s okay to make the cupcake batter on Thursday and leave it in the fridge until Saturday morning. On Saturday morning, I would bake them. Is that too much time to leave cupcake batter in the fridge? Will it affect the cupcakes moisture, texture etc? Thank You!


    • Sallyreplied on February 18th, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      The batter must be baked right away as the baking powder is activated once liquid is added. You can always bake them on Friday and cover tightly and keep at room temperature until Saturday.


      • Dimitrareplied on February 19th, 2015 at 6:17 pm

        Thanks Sally for responding so quickly! Another question I have is could I make the frosting ahead of time and store in the fridge overnight? Or would it get hard? Thank you!

  26. #
    Maryamposted February 21, 2015 at 3:30 am

    Hi, thank you very much for sharing this recipe. I just wanted to ask if the Dr Oetker fine dark chocolate powder is fine to use. thank you


  27. #
    arianneposted April 19, 2015 at 10:52 am

    hi sally,
    i really would like to know if i can leave out the peppermint totally so i will be left with mocha cupcakes. would this work?
    thanks :)


    • Sallyreplied on April 19th, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      Yes, you can leave out the peppermint extract.


  28. #
    Teresaposted July 28, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    My 11 year old daughter made these this evening and she did an awesome job on them! They are incredibly delishious! They melt in your mouth :)


  29. #
    Joanna Parkposted November 20, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Sally!

    My name is Joanna and my sorority, alpha Kappa Delta Phi really loves this recipe. My sorority is having a bake sale using your recipe and we were wondering if we could use your photos to help promote our event!

    It would really mean a lot for us! We will leave your watermark on the photos!

    Please get back to me at your earliest convenience. Thank you so much!!



    • Sallyreplied on November 21st, 2015 at 9:08 am

      Hi Joanna! Please email me if you’d like to use my photography: sallysbakingaddiction (at)


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