Vanilla peppermint cupcakes with white chocolate frosting swirled on top. Sparkling sugar and crushed candy canes finish these festive Christmas cupcakes!
I’m running on fragments of sleep. My baby girl is almost 3 months old, I talk and sing in a high pitched baby voice/dog voice all day long, and can’t find one of my left shoes. Is this what it’s like to be a mom?
Let me walk you through one of my recent mornings.
Put baby down for a nap. I had plans to bake beautifully red and white swirly peppermint cupcakes. Like peppermint swirl candies, but in a cupcake wrapper. Oh my gosh they were going to be GORGEOUS for dessert when our friends stopped by that night! And they’d photograph like a dream for my blog, too. (Always a bonus.)
I took everything out to bake them. Noelle’s binky fell out, so let me fix that.
I’ll use my vanilla cupcakes as the base. Peppermint extract for a festive flavor and white chocolate frosting to top it all off. Cake flour, check! Sour cream, check! Egg whites, check! (Anyone remember how Monica Geller packs a suitcase? Check!)
Cupcakes are cooling, frosting is made, UPS man is here, and the pups are going bananas. Break time to tend to baby girl and herd these dogs.
Now let’s D-E-C-O-R-A-T-E cupcakes!
Oh wait, where’s the red food coloring? How can I make adorably swirled frosting in shades of red, pinkish, and white? I have virtually nothing in my cupboards to make red frosting. But I have green. An entire bottle of green. Can the frosting be swirled white and green? Or will it look like spearmint frosting? Will anyone even care? Why am I being weird about frosting right now? Is that my left shoe under the Christmas tree?
This was the day after I baked a chocolate cake and forgot to add the sugar.
I piped the green and white swirled frosting on and LOVED how it all turned out. They still remind me more of spearmint than peppermint, but I’m definitely the only one who cares. Red swirly, green swirly, or plain white frosting… these white chocolate peppermint cupcakes taste like Christmas no matter how you decorate them. (By the way… I have since made them with red and white swirled and they’re so fun!)
And if you can’t get enough of mint during the holiday season, also keep this mint chocolate cake in mind for your holiday parties and get togethers. The single layer cake makes it perfectly manageable during this incredibly busy time of year! These Andes mint chocolate cookies are also a wonderful addition to cookie platters.
The cupcake starts with my vanilla cupcakes. We’ll take out the vanilla bean and add peppermint extract. We’re topping the cupcakes with white chocolate frosting. We’ll add a little peppermint extract to the frosting as well. I promise it’s not overpowering!
For the frosting we are adding peppermint extract to white chocolate buttercream frosting. You’ll start with real white chocolate that is melted down and beaten into a vanilla buttercream base. It produces the smoothest, silkiest frosting I’ve ever had. It’s not fluffy in the slightest– it’s like pure and dense white chocolate.
For the swirling, use my two-toned frosting rose tutorial as a jumping off point. (Read/watch that if you’re confused about how to make the two-toned look.)
Tint half of the frosting green (or red!!!!) and spoon both of the frostings into one piping bag. I usually line the piping bag with one color and spoon the other color inside of it. I sloppily did that with these:
Both colors are in the piping bag, now pipe! I used Wilton 1M piping tip in these pictures.
What I love most about swirling two frosting colors together is that no two cupcakes look alike. Some cupcakes have more green, others have more white, and some are covered with a pretty pastel green. And same goes with the red. You end up with lots of pastel pink that way. Never a bad thing!
New mom life is pure chaos, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. ♥Print
White Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
- Prep Time: 35 minutes
- Cook Time: 22 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes
- Yield: 14 cupcakes
- Category: Cupcakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
White chocolate peppermint cupcakes are soft and fluffy, topped with incredible white chocolate frosting!
- 1 and 3/4 cups (207g) cake flour* (spoon & leveled)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1/2 cup (120g) full-fat sour cream at room temperature*
- 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk at room temperature*
White Chocolate Frosting
- 6 ounces (170g) white chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups (240g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (reduce to 1/4 teaspoon for less intense flavor)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- optional: green or red food coloring, crushed candy canes, coarse sugar sprinkles for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners—this recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set aside.
- Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg whites, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in the sour cream. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk until combined. Do not over-mix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.
- Pour/spoon the batter into the liners—fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides when they rise. Bake for 19–22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 30 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11–13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
- When the cupcakes are nearly cool, melt the white chocolate for the frosting: Place chopped white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl (I usually use a glass liquid measuring cup), and microwave in 20-second increments, stirring after every 20 seconds until completely smooth. Set it aside to cool at room temperature for 20 minutes. (Be sure the melted white chocolate has cooled for 20 minutes, so it’s still melted but not scorching hot, which would melt the butter.)
- Make the frosting: In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Switch the mixer to low speed and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar. Stir the cooled white chocolate so that it is smooth, and then add it to the butter/sugar mixture. Switch the mixer to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes until combined and creamy. Add the cream, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and salt. Beat for 1 minute until combined. Taste. Add 1 more Tablespoon of heavy cream/milk if needed to thin out, if desired. Add another pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
- Frost cooled cupcakes. See Note for the swirled frosting. Top with crushed candy canes and coarse sugar sprinkles, if desired.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3–4 days.
- Make Ahead Instructions: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2–3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Cupcake Liners | Cupcake Pan | Frosting Bags (Reusable or Disposable) | Wilton 1M Frosting Tip | Americolor Food Coloring Kit | Coarse Sparkling Sugar
- Cake Flour: If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, you can make this homemade cake flour substitute. I suggest doing this twice, mixing it all up in 1 bowl then removing 1/4 cup since you need 1 and 3/4 cups in this recipe.
- Whole Milk and Sour Cream: Whole milk and sour cream are strongly recommended for the best taste and texture. A full-fat plain yogurt would work instead of sour cream, though the cupcakes may not be as light. Same goes with a lower-fat milk.
- Swirled Frosting: I use a Wilton 1M piping tip and my method for two-toned frosting. Watch the video in that post for how I fill a piping bag with two colors. For the pictured cupcakes here, I left half of the frosting white and tinted the other half green using 1–2 drops of green coloring. In the video for two-toned frosting, I pipe roses. In today’s cupcakes, I piped a basic tall swirl using the same piping tip. See this how to use piping tips tutorial about piping a tall swirl.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!
Keywords: White Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
Reader Comments & Reviews
These were inedible for our whole family. I used the lower amount of peppermint and it was overwhelming in the frosting, to the point where we all spit it out. The cupcakes weren’t much better, dry and a weird dense texture. I read all the comments here before making and was skeptical based on a few so I followed the instructions and every recommendation In comments and pre script to a T .
I loved this recipe! They tasted delicious. My only problem was with the frosting. When I mixed the smooth white chocolate into the frosting, somehow it hardened into little chunks, making piping difficult as the pieces kept getting lodged in the tip. I ended up just using a knife to frost my cupcakes. I could only find white chocolate morsels at the store; should I have used something else? I’d love to make them again. I’m a newbie baker and am wondering where I went wrong!
Hi Sara, thank you so much for trying this recipe. We’re glad you loved it! The white chocolate morsels may have been the problem. We use pure white chocolate baking bars melted down.
Hi there !
I want to bake a cake for my bfs birthday and I am curious what you think about me making this cupcake base and the frosting without the mint. Is that too much sweetness or is that genius ? Would this recipe work for a 9x 9 round bake pan!?
Hi Rylee, Without the peppermint in the cupcakes, they would simply be these vanilla cupcakes. The cupcake batter fits perfectly into 3 6 inch cake pans. Or for a 9 inch round cake you can use this recipe for White Cake. You can certainly leave out the peppermint extract in the frosting for a delicious white chocolate frosting.
I don’t know what happened but i somehow ended up with bread??? it’s kind of flavorless bread but still good all together at least, defiantly not a cupcake though
Hi Nina, Did you happen to make any ingredient substitutions or stray from the directions at all? They should be soft and fluffy with plenty of flavor! If you decide to try it again be sure to follow the recipe closely.
So light and fluffy and perfect balance of flavours.
The cupcake was very fluffy with a perfect amount of peppermint flavoring and the frosting was very light with a little more peppermint flavoring.
I made this recipe and for the buttercream used about a cup and a half of cream because I made your amazing https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/tiramisu-crepe-cake/comment-page-1/?unapproved=995334&moderation-hash=1b1468cff74b854543635fe771390b78#comment-995334 (tiramisu crepe cake) for my brother’s birthday and had leftover cream. It worked perfectly! Thanks for this amazing recipe.
Loved your shoe story and these cupcakes were amazing. The only problem was my piping set. It is too small to do that lovely piping that you did. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!
Can the frosting for this recipe be frozen? Thank you 🙂
Hi Frances, absolutely — you can freeze the frosting for up to three months.
Do you think substituting dark chocolate for white chocolate would work in the frosting?
Yes, it would! Enjoy!
I made these yesterday using 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract in the frosting, and these were amazing! My dad loved them! The peppermint flavor is not overwhelming at all. It paired very well with the white chocolate in the frosting. I will be making these again and will try the gel food coloring next time. Thank you so much!
The cupcake looks pretty but agree with the review that the it has a dense texture, it also didn’t have much taste overall and with the frosting, tasted slightly like toothpaste for me. A chocolate cupcake base paired with mint frosting is a better combination in my personal opinion.
Hi DT, Make sure you are using cake flour and using the spoon and level method to measure it for the lightest texture! Also for your frosting be sure to use peppermint extract. If you use “mint extract” it does taste like toothpaste!
I love these cupcakes. they came out amazing.
OMG I LOVED THIS CUPCAKE!!!! I was nervous about the mint in the frosting and almost took your 1/4 teas suggestion but I’m glad I didn’t, the frosting is A-Mazing!!! It went very well with the cupcake and I even made snowflake sugar cookies (from the sugar plum fairy cupcakes) to top off this already beautiful cupcake. This might be my new favorite cupcake for the holidays. Hummm.. I may even try the frosting with a chocolate cupcake. Oooo.. I’ll definitely be making these again before next Christmas! LOL Thank you so much!
Sally, I just made these & they look & taste great! For me, the recipe made 12 regular-sized cupcakes & 24 mini-cupcakes. Do you have a recommendation for the food coloring for the icing? I used a kit where I had to mix yellow & blue & the color was more lime green, unfortunately! Thanks for the recipe & Merry Christmas!
Hi Terre, For food coloring I recommend AmeriColor Gel food colors. Gel colors are so much brighter which means you don’t have to add as much to get vibrant shades.
I made these today and they are amazing. The cake texture is the best! I learned That I’m not a fan of peppermint extract. I had a couple of technical difficulties but I think I know why. Thanks for sharing this wonderfully festive recipe!
Sally, I LOVE chocolate cupcakes. Would this beautiful, yummy frosting work on chocolate cupcakes??? If so, would you put some of the peppermint in the chocolate cake batter too, or just the frosting?? THANK YOU
Hi Michele! Yes, you can definitely use this frosting for chocolate cupcakes. Feel free to add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract to the cupcake batter, too!
Hi Sally. I love your recipes!! I have had great success with them and have rekindled my love for baking because of you! I like making 6 inch cakes as we are empty nesters. From reading your recipes and idea filled notes, it looks like I can use your cupcake recipes to make 6 inch cakes? This recipe caught my eye and will be my next one in the oven. This would be so helpful! Thanks so much!
Hi Kathy, This makes me so happy to read! Just about any cupcake batter that produces about 12-15 cupcakes is the perfect amount for a 3 layer 6 inch cake, and this one would be delicious! You can read all of my tips and baking instructions for a 6 inch cake in this post: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/6-inch-cake-recipes/
Made these and 2 of your other cupcake recipes for co-workers and my husband’s game night buddies and they were devoured and much loved by everyone! Was unable to track down any kind of peppermint to crush for the topping as I decided June was a good time to make these but crushed mint M&Ms worked and tasted great!
Can this amazing recipe be turned into a cake instead of cupcakes?
Absolutely! I recommend making my white cake recipe, which is very similar to the crumb of these cupcakes. Add peppermint extract to the cake batter. And you can double or 1.5x this frosting for the cake.
I just baked these last night as a trial run for Christmas dessert and they were DELICIOUS! I always go to your blog for any cookie or cake recipes! I have never been disappointed.
I was just wondering if I could double the recipe or is it better to mix each batch seperate?
Hi Kaleigh! I suggest making each batch separate.
I was so excited to make these, but had a hard time with the frosting. Everything was room temperature, but as I added the melted, cooled white chocolate to the frosting, the white chocolate hardened and then there were small chunks in the frosting. That wouldn’t have been so bad, except that I had a very hard time piping the frosting because the white chocolate kept getting stuck in the piping tip. I ended up scraping the frosting off many of the cupcakes and starting again. I did white frosting with red and white sanding sugar. They’re very pretty. I haven’t tasted a cupcake yet, but the frosting is delicious!
I made these today for my daughters birthday. The cake is a good cake, but I think the peppermint is WAY too strong, especially with the mint frosting. I would make these again with 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of peppermint in the cake. Perfect texture, though, and I love that I can usually count on your recipes to be perfect! I hope everyone else likes these better than i do; I feel as though I just ate toothpaste!
Hi Velentina, you can use a full fat yogurt instead of the sour cream if it’s not available!