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. Noelle is almost 3 months old (my baby girl!!), 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 Noelle 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!)
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, real white chocolate 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 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
- ¼ cup (60ml) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (reduce to 1/4 tsp 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.
- 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 overmix. 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. 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.
- Make the frosting: Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or use the microwave. If using the microwave, melt in 20 second increments stopping and stirring until completely smooth. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Switch to medium-high speed and beat in the confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Once combined, switch to low speed and slowly pour the white chocolate in with the mixer running. Taste. Add the salt if you’d like. (I always do. You can add a pinch extra if you want, too.)
- Frost cooled cupcakes however you’d like. 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 | Wilton 1M Frosting Tip | Americolor Food Coloring Kit | Coarse Sparkling Sugar | Cute Mini Bowls
- 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.
- Why Room Temperature? Whole milk and sour cream are strongly recommended for the best taste and texture. A full fat plain yogurt would work instead, 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 #2 in this post about piping a tall swirl.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!