Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

I manufacture a million ways to guarantee that I get my coffee fix every day.

I always start my morning with a cup of coffee. That goes without saying. I sneak it into my post-workout protein shake. I add espresso powder to basically every chocolate dessert I make. (Did you know that it highlights chocolate’s deep, rich flavor without actually imparting any of it’s own coffee-y flavor on the dessert? Fact.)

Coffee in my ice cream. Coffee in my alcohol. Coffee in my pudding. Coffee in my pork chops. (Try it. It’ll change your life.)

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

The only thing I don’t put coffee in is pasta. And salad. And quiche. And broccoli…okay, so there are actually a lot of things I don’t put coffee in. I get my coffee fix in. I’ll leave it at that.

So it’s only natural that I should make a Christmas dessert that contains coffee. Correction: features coffee. Front and center. Star of the show. Because what is a mocha cupcake without coffee? A cupcake. Just a lonely, boring cupcake, that’s what.

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

And of course there should be peppermint. It’s Christmas, after all. What other time of year allows you to unashamedly add peppermint extract to every dessert that comes out of your kitchen? The answer is none.

This cupcake is literally a Starbucks peppermint mocha in cupcake form.

I. kid. you. not.

And just when you thought Christmas couldn’t get any better.

You’re welcome.

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Active time: 30 minutes
Start to finish: 1 hour
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients
For the cupcakes
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 heaping tablespoon instant coffee/espresso powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

For the frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
salt, to taste

Directions
For the cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring regularly. 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.

For the frosting
Beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add powdered sugar, 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 powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. Add salt if frosting is too sweet (1/4 teaspoon).

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