Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chip Frosting

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

Simple Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate 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 with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Cupcake towers: I love them.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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?! 😉

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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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 (42g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (167g) 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

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting by sallysbakingaddiction.com

274 Comments

  1. UMM DROOL!! These cupcakes are to die for- well that look that way anyways! Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream has and always will be my favorite. Especially on top of a chocolate chip cookie at Ghirardelli Square in San Fran or now Disneyland (10 minutes from me :)) I made mint and chocolate cookies yesterday and my parents are in love- takes a lot! Mint and chocolate are such a classic and beautiful combination. And perfect for this time of year 🙂 I used peppermint extract in my cookies, I almost forgot how strong it is! Only a little is necessary for the perfect minty taste. Can’t wait to give this frosting a try!

    1. mint chocolate chip ice cream on top of a chocolate chip cookie sounds like heaven right about now. I am ALL about the mint and chocolate these days =) Let me know how you like the frosting Elizabeth, thank you!

  2. Oh My! These are calling my name! Especially the mint chocolate chip frosting…it seriously looks like the ice cream! (=

  3. I think I just died and went to cupcake heaven. Mint chocolate chip ice cream in a waffle cone is one of my all time favorite treats too. Maybe we were separated at birth! This is going on the top of my to-bake list!

    1. between the love for salted caramel and now mint chocolate chip ice cream/waffle cone – I am now convinced we are taste bud twins. Love that Eva!

  4. Hello Sally – these look really yummy!! It’s me with another dumb question. So I take it when you frost cupcakes you don’t go all the way to the end?? I’ve noticed that on all cupcakes and was never really sure why – just easier to frost? Not as messy? Anyway, I will definitely be making these. Thank you again for another wonderful recipe!
    love
    donna

    1. Hi Donna! I’m not sure exactly what you mean, but it’s always best to wait for the cupcakes to cool before frosting to avoid the frosting from melting all over the cupcake.

  5. YUMMY thats all I can say Sally! I want to lick my laptop screen! Thanks for sharing, this is going in my recipe book!

  6. That chocolate cupcake does look perfect! And omg the boyfriend would flip over this frosting (mint choc chip ice cream is his faaave)!!

  7. Ooo, YUM!! I just wanna bite my screen! They look so GOOD! Mint and chocolate is one of my favorite combos!

  8. I can’t even take it. That frosting looks. To. Die. For!! I love mint chocolate chip ice cream. I need peppermint extract. Stat!

      1. I have to get to the store!! We may get a snow day (oh I hope so) and I need to stock up so I can bake to my heart’s content!! I made the dark chocolate caramel cookies. Wow!! I don’t even like dark chocolate or caramel…. LOL… some of my co-workers voted that one the best cookie!

      2. one of the BEST cookies? Meredith, that means the world to me to hear – thank you for letting me know! I love those dark chocolate cookies so much. Stay safe in the snow!

      3. I couldn’t wait for the snow day. I came home from school today and made them. They were FABULOUS! Holy cow…. My whole family loved them….not sure how many will make it into work! You’ve turned me into a baker!! Would I be able to make a cake, too, with this recipe?? What size pan? Cooking time? Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  9. The frosting looks SO good, Sally! And made with butter, not shortening! Most frosting recipes I have made have been with shortening (yuck). But, my mom was a cake decorator for several years and shortening is pretty much essential in decorating cakes like she did!

    I have never made a truly “homemade” cupcakes before, but I am hoping to change that as boxed mixes are so bad for you & I am very health conscious — but I have made homemade chocolate cakes! My mom’s homemade Chocolate Coca Cola-Cake with
    Coca-Cola Icing (no shortening!) is THE BEST!…..I bet I could make it into cupcakes….. now there’s an idea……

    Your cupcake recipe here sounds wonderful! Making a chocolate “sauce” to make them more moist was a brilliant idea!

    1. Coca Cola CAKE??? That sounds awesome Mandie! Shortening isn’t one of my favorites to bake with and especially not for homemade frosting on a cupcake! I like the taste and consistency of butter 🙂

  10. It’s amazing how versatile chocolate is, isn’t it? It’s yummy with mint, peanut butter, caramel, an old flip-flop…

    This looks like the perfect cupcake for St. Patrick’s Day!

    1. SO versatile, yes! Sometimes it’s hard for me to think of something that doesn’t go with chocolate! Thanks Anna.

  11. These cupcakes are so decadent. Frosting that tastes like Mint chocolate chips ice cream? I’m sold!!! Can’t wait to give these a try.

  12. Oh great minds think alike…my mint + choc recipe goes live in 6 hours 🙂 Remember I emailed you last week I was working on a bread/cake that was mint + choc and it kept failing. Well I *almost* made cupcakes instead, but was so sick of cake-ish things and didnt want another fail and was getting overwhelmed with recipes all promising The Perfect Choc Cupcake so said…screw it. And went in another direction. Glad I did b/c I pretty much almost made what you did! And you did them amazingly proud!

    I love the rustic look to the frosting (me and piping bags, no thanks) – glad you omitted it too. And the choc chips, the pale green color (not shocking bright green) – I love these, Sally! And dry cupcakes are the WORST…glad that you totally! avoided that!

    1. Thanks Averie! I do love using piping bags (just for the looks!) but going au naturale today was much easier for the thick frosting with chocolate chunks 🙂

  13. You had me at the first sentence with mint chocolate chip ice cream! I just love the mint and chocolate combo SO much, so I’ll have to try these out!

  14. Omg yum! I’m a fan of anything that tastes like ice cream (who isn’t?!), so I think I’ll have to try these soon! Great idea 🙂

  15. Sally, I love this idea of ice cream flavored frosting! Mint and chocolate are almost as perfect as pb and chocolate…Such a yummy combo. I just want to lick the frosting right off that cupcake 😉

  16. These look incredible! I love the sound of the frosting tasting like ice cream 🙂 I absolutely HAVE to make everything you put up, but I’m in a predicament today because I don’t like mint! Any suggestions for what I could replace the mint with, other than vanilla essence?

    1. Hi Nicole! I would just top the chocolate cupcakes with my homemade vanilla buttercream and add chocolate chips. Here is the recipe for the vanilla buttercream: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/12/19/easy-homemade-funfetti-cupcakes/

  17. These look so cute. That frosting definitely looks like mint chocolate chip ice cream. I would be scooping spoonfuls to my mouth in between each cupcake.

  18. Hey Sally,
    I haven’t seen peppermint essence in our shops here recently (small town in India). Must check in the city next time I make a trip. Do you think I’d get the desired effect by powdering a roll of polos and mixing them in? Will let you know how I fare!!! Pictures look yum.

    1. Hi Tripti, I’m not sure what polos are. But I’m sure a soft-powdery mint candy could be powdered up and give a similar effect. Thank you!

  19. I love chocolate mint cupcakes!!! these are very pretty Sally! You mentioned beating the butter for 20-30 seconds, to make it fluffy. I beat mine for 3-5 minutes (although using a stand mixer is obviously easier for that than a hand mixer (which I don’t own). You beat it until pale in color, you will be amazed how creamy and soft your frosting turns out 🙂
    Now, off to drool at these pictures some more!!!!

    1. Thanks for the tip Aimee! I tend to lose patience, but will try to beat it for longer next time with my hand mixer. =)

  20. I love a good cupcake, and this looks like a REALLY good cupcake! March is a good time of year, all the pink Valentine’s day stuff is over and the world turns into minty green foods and rainbows 🙂

  21. Step aside peanut butter and caramel…it is time for the yummy mint treats to take over!!! You had me when you said this is just like mint chocolate chip ice cream! Just hand over a spoon and a bowl. I always beat my butter first too…it makes such a big difference in the texture of your frosting. And salt is always a must in my frostings…that subtle taste it adds is wonderful!!!

    1. I agree, Jocelyn – beating the butter for a bit BEFORE adding anything else is a recent trick I learned. The consistency of the finished frosting is unbeatable!

    1. Nancy – yes! Totally. Anything I can do to avoid a dry chocolate baked good (or any baked good for that matter) is essential. Now, off to check out your mint chocolate chip pancakes (which, by the way, sound amazing!)

  22. Is is horrible that I want to take one of those cupcakes and lick all of the frosting off? Because I really want to. These look so good!

  23. I’ve always wanted to make cupcakes like these because mint chocolate chip is right up there on my list of top-3 favorite ice cream flavors. My son would love this, particularly the frosting! Ironically, I’m actually not a fan of buttercream unless there’s chocoalte involved – lucky you have plenty of chocolate here. They look great.
    PS – Way back when, I used to occasionally eat a mint choc chip ice cream cone for lunch while shopping during my lunch hour…these make me think of that! ; )

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