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!)

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.


136 Responses to “Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes.”

  1. #
    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!


  2. #
    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.


  3. #
    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.


  4. #
    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.


  5. #
    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!


  6. #
    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!


  7. #
    Vanessaposted February 11, 2014 at 1:30 am

    Oooh these look amazing! :)


  8. #
    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!


  9. #
    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. :)

  10. #
    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.


  11. #
    Samanthaposted November 21, 2014 at 9:18 pm

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


  12. #
    Alexisposted December 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Can I use a different chocolate recipe without melting chocolate?


  13. #
    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.


  14. #
    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


  15. #
    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!

  16. #
    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


  17. #
    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.


  18. #
    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 :)


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