These Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes are delicious at any time of the year, but they’re dressed to impress for the holiday season! The combination of a fluffy, rich chocolate cupcake base, peppermint buttercream frosting, and crushed candy canes make this recipe one of our favorites.
How to Make Peppermint Cupcakes
I like to use my favorite Chocolate Cupcake recipe for the base, but you can use any cupcake recipe that you love. (You could even use a box cupcake mix if you’re really in a hurry.)
If you don’t like chocolate cake, swap in vanilla or another flavor you love. I would, however, caution against using that has an intense flavor profile — step away from the pina colada cupcake recipe — since you want something that will complement, not compete with, the peppermint. Don’t make this middle school all over again.
If you want to add some peppermint flavor to the cake batter, start with 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract, so you don’t overpower the chocolate flavor.
How to Make the Chocolate Cupcake Base
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with 12 liners.
- Gather your dry ingredients and place sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and Dutched cocoa powder in small bowl. Stir until fully mixed. Set aside.
- Place chocolate chips in small bowl. Bring one cup of water to boil and pour 3 fl. oz. over the chips. Whisk to combine.
- Whisk egg, buttermilk, vanilla, vinegar, and oil together in medium bowl.
- Pour the slightly cooled chocolate mixture on top of the egg mixture. Whisk until combined.
- Pour dry mixture into wet mixture and stir until fully mixed.
- Use ¼ cup scoop, measuring cup, or size 16 disher to fill your liners with batter.
- Bake for 24 minutes or until tops bounce back slightly when touched.
- Remove and let cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
- Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let them cool completely on the cooling rack.
How to Make Peppermint Buttercream Frosting
Once you’ve made your chocolate cupcakes, you’ll want to top them with this creamy peppermint frosting. To quickly bring your your butter to room temperature, place it in the microwave for 5-8 seconds.
- Attach the paddle to your electric mixer, place the room temperature butter in the mixing bowl, add powdered sugar, and cover bowl unless you like your kitchen covered in powdered sugar.
- Turn mixing speed to medium and mix until mixture resembles pebbles. Then reduce the speed and add 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract and milk to the mixing bowl. (I prefer milk to heavy cream for this frosting.)
- Turn speed to high. Keep the bowl covered!
- Adjust consistency of frosting as needed, then add ¼ cup crushed candy canes.
- When the cupcakes have cooled completely, transfer the frosting to a piping bag and decorate them using an open star tip.
These Festive Cupcakes are Perfect for Christmas
One of the things I love most about baking is how the flavors change through the seasons. Because while you can certainly eat cupcakes year round — and I do! — if you’re like me, you probably prefer strawberry cupcakes in the summer and these closer to Christmas.
Because here’s the thing: I hate the cold. Growing up in Detroit will do that to a person. But, winter flavors are some of my favorite. Gingerbread, chai, and cardamom are close to the top of my list, but the combo of chocolate and peppermint? That’s where it’s really at.
After college, I lived in New York and had a habit of going to Starbucks almost every day in December and getting a Peppermint Mocha Latte after work or on my lunch hour. Then, I’d wander around the city, admiring the holiday lights. New York is pretty magical in December and these remind me of those days.
This recipes also combines two of my favorite flavors. In each bite, you get rich, pillowy chocolate cake, luscious peppermint-studded buttercream frosting, and crunchy peppermint candy cane sprinkles.
In short, it screams Christmas, but in a more tolerable way than your two-year-old nephew. Love you, Jaden!
More Peppermint Dessert Recipes to Try This Holiday Season!
- Peppermint Bark Crepe Cake – i am a food blog
- Chocolate Peppermint Truffles – Let’s Eat Cake
- Homemade Peppermint Patties – Dinner at the Zoo
- Instant Pot White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake – Simply Happy Foodie
- White Chocolate Candy Cane Macarons – The Little Blog of Vegan
Peppermint CupcakesPrint Recipe
- 1 cup sugar
- 4.1 ounces all-purpose flour (just shy of 1 cup)
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. coarse kosher salt
- ¼ cup Dutched cocoa powder
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. white vinegar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp. chocolate chips (1 ounce)
- 3 fl. oz. boiling water
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners.
- Place sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and Dutched cocoa powder in small bowl. Stir until combined. Set aside.
- Whisk egg, buttermilk, vanilla, vinegar, and oil together in medium bowl. Set aside.
- Place chocolate chips in small bowl. Bring one cup of water to boil and pour 3 fl. oz. over chips. Whisk to combine. Pour into egg mixture and whisk until combined.
- Pour dry mixture into wet mixture and stir until combined.
- Use ¼ cup scoop or measuring cup to fill cupcake liners with batter.
- Bake for 24 minutes or until tops bounce back slightly when touched.
Peppermint Buttercream Frosting
- Add butter to electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add powdered sugar. Cover bowl.
- Turn speed to medium and mix until mixture looks like pebbles.
- Add peppermint extract and milk. Turn speed to high.
- Add ¼ cup crushed candy canes.
- Add powdered sugar and/or milk as needed until you reach desired consistency. Add additional extract if needed.
- Use open star tip to decorate cupcakes with peppermint buttercream frosting. Top each with remaining crushed candy cane.
- Cupcake Liners: I think the red and white liners look pretty against the chocolate brown cupcake and the candy cane peppermint frosting.
- Chocolate: I prefer 53% dark chocolate for my chocolate cupcakes, but it's ok to use a different percentage or to use milk chocolate.
- Batter: The chocolate batter will be on the liquid side when you fill your liners.
- Frosting consistency:. If you find the mixture is too dry, add a tablespoon of milk. Too wet? Add a 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Repeat until it's just how you like it.
- Extract: I used 1/2 teaspoon of the Nielsen-Massey peppermint extract in my frosting. How much you add really depends on your palate and the intensity of the extract you use.
- Decorating: Wait for the cupcakes to full cool, then top each with a swirl of frosting. I do this using an open star tip, and sprinkle more crushed candy cane on top. If you really want to go for it, add a shard of Chocolate Peppermint Bark and a drizzle of dark chocolate.
My background is in publishing (I've worked at Parade, Men's Journal, Us Weekly, Stuff, Blender, Beachbody, and more), mostly with a focus in health, fitness, and entertainment. I've also run my own baking company and competed on Cupcake Wars, so hit me up with your baking questions!
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