Deep chocolate cupcakes flavored with peppermint and coffee, topped with peppermint vanilla frosting, candy canes, and a chocolate drizzle.
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter
- 2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
- 1 heaping Tablespoon instant coffee*
- 1/2 cup (41g) unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
- 3/4 cup (94g) all-purpose flour* (spoon & leveled)
- 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 pure 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 pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- salt, to taste
- optional for garnish: 4 ounces melted semi-sweet baking chocolate and crushed candy canes
- Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-count 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.
- Make the frosting: beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar, heavy 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 confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. Add salt if frosting is too sweet (I add about 1/8 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.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare cupcakes 1 day in advance. Keep cupcakes covered tightly at room temperature and frost the day of serving. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting and serving.
- Coffee: Use dry instant coffee, not coffee grounds.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk is required for this recipe. You can make your own DIY version of buttermilk if needed. Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1/2 cup. (In a pinch, lower fat or nondairy milks work for this soured milk, but the cupcakes won’t taste as moist or rich.) Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe.
- Cream: Using milk or half-and-half instead of heavy cream for the frosting is OK. However, your frosting won’t be as creamy. I strongly recommend heavy cream for the best texture.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!
Keywords: peppermint mocha cupcakes