Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chip Frosting

Homemade chocolate cupcakes topped with thick & creamy mint chocolate chip frosting.

chocolate cupcake topped with mint chip frosting

Mint chocolate chip ice cream in frosting form.

Yes. It tastes like ICE CREAM. And frosting. At the same time. WHAT!

chocolate cupcakes topped with mint chip frosting

I don’t know about you, but I feel there comes a time when peanut butter and caramel need to step aside from all the chocolate. (Did I really just say that?) Mint and chocolate are meant to be. Like peas and carrots, ketchup and french fries, sprinkles and ice cream. Diamonds and ring fingers. 😉

A giant scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream in a waffle cone has and always will be one of my favorite summer desserts. And today, I played around with butter, sugar, peppermint extract, mini chocolate chips, heavy cream, and a drop of food coloring. And boy, is it tasty.

The bed for my mint chocolate frosting is a homemade chocolate cupcake. Prior to this chocolate cupcake recipe, I’ve made dozens of dense brownie cupcakes and semi-homemade chocolate cupcakes using cake mix. But I have yet to share a purely “from-scratch” chocolate cupcake before. Trying to find that perfect recipe to test out, retest, or even develop, etc is overwhelming! Butter or oil? Cocoa powder or melted chocolate? Brown sugar? White sugar? Whole milk? No milk? Ahh!

However, I found a recipe in my prized Joy of Cooking cookbook that was begging to be made. And the result is perfection. I am SO pleased with my choice!

chocolate cupcakes topped with mint chip frosting

Today’s cupcakes are SO moist, just like the texture you get from a cupcake made from a convenient box mix. It’s a very simple chocolate cupcake recipe. The intense chocolate flavor comes from a chocolate “sauce” made from unsweetened cocoa powder and boiling water. The rest of the ingredients are nothing special; just easy, familiar items you already have in your kitchen: creamed butter & sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, salt, vanilla, and not much else. I love that!

One thing I will note: be very careful not to burn the cupcakes. Overbaking them will give the cupcakes a dry texture. There is nothing I dislike more than a dry, crumbly baked good! Especially when I’m looking for a moist, soft, tender chocolate cupcake.

Have you ever biten into a dry, flavorless chocolate cupcake or cake before? Yuck. Steer clear of overbaking these! I took them out of the oven at 17 minutes. Stick a toothpick into the center of the cupcakes. If they come out *mostly* (or completely) clean, they are done. You don’t want too many crumbs on the toothpick and you don’t want black, burnt edges. Watch the cupcakes closely after 16 minutes and do not bake longer than 19 minutes.

stack of chocolate cupcakes topped with mint chip frosting

Cupcake towers: I love them.

stack of chocolate cupcakes topped with mint chip frosting

That mint chocolate chip frosting. Oh my heavens. It’s like winning the lottery… if the lottery prize was all frosting. Can I please play that lottery?

The frosting is based off of the vanilla buttercream recipe I used for my homemade funfetti cupcakes. However, I wanted the frosting to be thicker, sort of like my cookie dough frosting recipe. I reduced the heavy cream to thicken things up. I also added mini chocolate chips, peppermint extract, and 2 drops of green food coloring.

The best part? The frosting is so easy to make! Even easier than the cupcakes. When you begin to make the cupcakes, set out two extra sticks of butter. Like most buttercream frostings, you want the butter nice and soft to make a creamy frosting base. By the time the cupcakes are baked and cooled, the butter will be the perfect consistency.

I like to use a hand mixer when I make my frostings. I have much more control over the beating process and can really isolate each and every spot inside the mixing bowl – sometimes my stand mixer will miss the butter at the very bottom of the bowl and I, consequently, have to manually scrape the bottom up to have it mix thoroughly.

An electric hand mixer makes things much easier for me when I make frostings, so I prefer it over a stand mixer.

chocolate cupcakes topped with mint chip frosting

chocolate cupcakes and mint chip frosting on an icing spatula

Unlike most, I mix the butter by itself on low speed for a good 20-60 seconds before adding anything else. It creates the perfect creamy base for the rest of the frosting ingredients. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar, then 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream, 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract, and 2 drops of green food coloring.

So here’s the thing: this frosting recipe is very forgiving.

The amounts of heavy cream and powdered sugar you use can be adjusted for what you prefer. After adding 3 cups of powdered sugar and 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream, if you find the frosting to not be thick enough, add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add more heavy cream. Truly, it’s just based on what you prefer.

By adding more powdered sugar, keep in mind that the frosting will taste sweeter with each addition. You may not see this in a lot of frosting recipes, but I add 1/8 teaspoon of salt to cut all of the sweetness, while still keeping the frosting’s thick texture from all the powdered sugar.

chocolate cupcakes topped with mint chip frosting

Also forgiving about this frosting recipe:

You can add more or less peppermint extract or green food coloring. If 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract is not enough, add more (carefully…that stuff is potent!). Not green enough for you? Add more green food coloring. 2 drops gave the frosting the same mint green color you see in most mint chocolate chip ice creams.

This frosting gives a new meaning to “ice cream and cake,” right?! 😉

overhead image of chocolate cupcakes topped with mint chip frosting

When you reach your prefered frosting consistency, color, and minty flavor – add mini chocolate chips. I used mini chocolate chips because it makes the frosting much easier to spread. You could also leave the frosting plain and sprinkle with chocolate chips on top, but I wanted to replicate the look of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Any sort of chip will make this frosting impossible to pipe, so I went with the “rustic” frosting look today and just used a knife.

So there ya go. Mint and chocolate are taking over my kitchen, which is perfect timing for the green month of March. The chocolate cupcakes are so soft and moist with lots of chocolate flavor. The frosting is fluffy, super thick, minty and so easy to adapt to fit your frosting needs. Plus, it looks like ice cream. Mint chocolate chip ice cream in frosting form. Can I just eat this stuff with a spoon please?

Ok I’m done. Make these NOW.

chocolate cupcakes topped with mint chip frosting

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chocolate cupcake topped with mint chip frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 14 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Simply homemade chocolate cupcakes topped with thick & creamy mint chocolate chip frosting.


Ingredients

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 cup (240ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (41g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (166g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 34 cups (360-480g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream*
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (or more, see recipe instructions)
  • 2 drops green food coloring
  • salt, to taste
  • 2/3 cup (120g) mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line 14 muffin cups with liners.
  2. Over high heat, boil the water in a small saucepan. Pour the unsweetened cocoa powder into a medium sized bowl and mix with boiling water until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature by placing in the refrigerator as you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, using an electric hand or stand mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat only until *just* combined. In a steady stream, add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.
  5. Fill each muffin tin 3/4 of the way full with batter. Bake for 16-19 minutes, keeping an eye on them to avoid even the slightest burning (which will lend dry cupcakes). My cupcakes took 17 minutes and a toothpick inserted in the middle came out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool before frosting.
  6. Make the frosting: beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric mixer. Beat for about 30-60 seconds until smooth and creamy. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar, cream, peppermint extract, and food coloring. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin (up to 4 cups) or more cream if mixture is too thick. Add salt if the frosting is too sweet. You may also add more food coloring if desired or more peppermint extract if it is not minty enough. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
  7. Frost cooled cupcakes. There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake. Makes 14 cupcakes. Cupcakes taste best the day of or 1 day after they are made. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes

  1. Heavy Cream: Replacing the heavy cream in the frosting with milk or half-and-half will result in a less creamy consistency.
  2. Cake: You my make these cupcakes into a 9-inch cake, filling the pan halfway full, and then using any extra batter for cupcakes. I am unsure of the exact baking time for this cake – it will be done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

Keywords: mint chocolate cupcakes

2 images of chocolate cupcakes topped with mint chip frosting

24 Comments

  1. I made these for my sister’s birthday. They were a bIG hit!!! THanks!!

  2. Do you think the frosting would work on top of brownies?! I have to bring something to a party this weekend and brownies are much easier to transport!

    1. Hi Jill! Yes, you may use this frosting for a 9×13 pan of brownies and you will have some leftover depending how thick you layer it on.

  3. I made these for Mother’s Day because my mom LOVES mint choc chip ice cream. They turned out AMAZING!!

  4. My daughter and I just made these for her 13th birthday party. They were a hit. Delicious!

  5. I made these last night, seeing as they looked scrumptious and I was in the mood to bake cupcakes. They were AMAZING! The most failproof recipe ever! My family and I loved them so much! I am now subscribed to your blog and will be checking it out often! Thank you!

  6. can you add some peppermint extract to the cupcakes too?

    1. I’m sure that would be fine, I’d go easy on it though – it’s quite potent.

  7. Renee Stricker says:

    Just wanted to thank you for this AMAZING recipe! So glad I stumbled upon this site – there are so many other recipes I want to try. Delicious just as printed!

  8. Okay, I can’t resist that mint chocolate chip frosting anymore, I have to make these for St. Patrick’s Day next week!

    Quick question – can the frosting be made a couple days ahead of time and refrigerated? Trying to save some time, I was going to whip up the frosting on Sunday and make the cupcakes on Monday night to bring to work on Tuesday. I’m assuming it’s okay as long as I keep in the refrigerator and maybe let ‘thaw’ a little bit before putting on the cupcakes but wanted to check. 🙂

    1. Yep– just cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. Take it out of the fridge about 1 hour before frosting to let it soften.

  9. Hi Sally,
    I would like to use the frosting recipe for a filling in my daughters birthday cake. 6in round 3 layers, would 1 recipe of frosting be enough.

    Thanks,
    Patti

    1. I would maybe double the frosting.

  10. I just made these and oh.my.gosh. they are amazing! The cupcake is light and chocolatey- like boxed but better! This frosting is absolutely delicious! It’s so fluffy and minty it’s just like eating ice cream. I doubled the recipe a day it came out great, I feel that I generously frosted the cupcakes and still had quite a bit leftover. Thanks so much!!

  11. These cupcakes were a huge hit for Father’s Day! The frosting is the bomb & the chocolate cupcake is perfect with frosting. I omitted the mini chips but found a bag of mint oreo cookies and stuck a cookie in the frosting. Amazing!!!

  12. Hi Sally! Love your website. Just wondering could you use Dutch Processed Cocoa in this recipe? I made it today with the DPC and it seemed not as sweet as usual to me.

    1. Hi Meagan! Thank you so much. Yes, you can use DPC instead of natural. I usually use natural style though. It’s funny because DPC isn’t as bitter as natural style, so I’m surprised the cupcakes weren’t as sweet. Feel free to add a little extra sugar!

  13. These look amazing! I’m hoping to make them as mini cupcakes for a work function so there are lots to go around. How should I adjust the baking time for the smaller size? Thank you!

    1. Fill mini liners only halfway and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350°F (177°C). Enjoy!

  14. This is my first time making a mint cupcake and I have to say I’m very pleased. I too added mint extract and made a vanilla mint buttercream.
    simple and simply delicious. I will be making these again.

  15. Wowza!
    I just made these and OMG, these are quite simply the BEST cupcakes I’ve ever had! The mint frosting pairs so perfectly with the moist chocolate cake!

  16. Patricia Anderson says:

    I just made the frosting today. It was the first time a buttercream turned out great for me. Your ingredients or instructions or both is what I attribute my success to!!! I’ll make the cupcakes someday. {I’m pretty good in the kitchen but find frostings challenging) Thank you!

  17. I tried this recipe today! I was a bit hesitant because I love the ice cream so much but it turned out cute! I appreciated the thorough directions. I used an ice cream scoop with this and the frosting stayed in tact and my cupcakes looked like they were topped with scoops of mint chip ice cream, just like I wanted 🙂 tasted yummy, too! Not overwhelmingly minty. I recommend.

  18. Stephen R B Harris says:

    The cake mix was so moist before baking the cupcakes, I worried I had made a mistake following the recipe. But they baked fine. Tasted one when cooled. Tasted like brownie to me. The icing turned out lovely, soft and with a very nice taste.

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