Mint Chocolate Cupcakes are ultra moist and easy to make with tons of refreshing chocolate peppermint goodness. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or Christmas!
Tessa's Recipe Rundown...
Taste: Mint + chocolate = heaven. Texture: The cupcake is super duper moist while the frosting is lusciously smooth. Ease: The cupcake batter is very simple to whip up, as is the frosting. I think the hardest part was waiting for the cupcakes to cool so I could frost! Pros: Fabulous dessert for any occasion. Would be especially great for St. Patty’s Day. Cons: None. Would I make this again? Yes.
Lately I’ve been craving the chocolate-mint flavor combination. Those flavors just seem to belong to each other. Plus I have such positive memories surrounding that specific flavor combination.
I remember as a kid my family took a cruise vacation. Every night when we were done with our activities on the ship, we’d come back to our room and discover our towels were folded in the shape of various animals and there were chocolate mints left on our beds.
That was one of my favorite parts of that vacation. I guess I was easily impressed as a kid. Or maybe I’ve just always been obsessed with food!
My memories of chocolate mint goodness also include selling Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies in my neighborhood, going door to door with my dad. There was one neighbor who loved the cookies so much she’s always buy an entire case, getting me closer to the coveted selling prize.
I wonder how much being a Girl Scout taught me about entrepreneurship now that Handle the Heat has been my full time business for years?! Kind of crazy to think about. All roads lead back to chocolate… and cookies.
How to Make Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
The cupcakes themselves use both bittersweet chocolate AND Dutch-process cocoa powder for as much chocolate flavor as possible.
Do I have to use Dutch Process Cocoa Powder?
Yes. Dutch-process cocoa actually works differently on a chemical level compared to regular natural cocoa. That’s why there’s vinegar in this recipe. You can learn more about the differences between cocoa powders here.
You can find Dutch process cocoa at many stores, such as Whole Foods, Sur la Table, and Williams-Sonoma. You can also order on Amazon. Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder should also work in this recipe, though the final cupcake color will be much darker than these photos.
Oil vs. Melted Butter
This recipe calls for vegetable oil instead of melted butter. Oil gives the palate the sensation of moistness because it’s liquid at room temperature (even though it has no water content!).
Be sure to use fresh vegetable oil. Give it a sniff before using it to make sure it doesn’t have any ‘off’ aroma. It also allows the chocolate mint flavor to shine through. Feel free to use melted coconut oil instead of vegetable oil if you’d prefer.
Be sure to use peppermint extract in both the batter and buttercream frosting. Do not use mint or spearmint extract unless you want your cupcakes to taste like toothpaste 😉
Feel free to adjust the amount of powdered sugar to cream until you get the consistency of frosting you prefer. If using food coloring, I much prefer gel coloring. It allows you to use just a small amount for an intense color. I like the Americolor brand the best, but Wilton gel food coloring should work too. Start small and add more as you blend.
Here’s the fun part! Feel free to get creative with piping tips and garnishes. Green sprinkles are what we chose. If you’re making these cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day, gold sprinkles, gold chocolate coins, or shamrock sprinkles would be perfect.
1/3cup(28 grams) Dutch-process cocoa(do not substitute)
3/4cup(95 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2cup(100 grams) granulated sugar
1/2cup(100 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/2cup(113 grams) sour cream or full fat plain yogurt, at room temperature
2large eggs plus one egg yolk, at room temperature
For the mint frosting
3cups(375 grams) powdered sugar,sifted
8ounces(227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 to 1/2teaspoonpeppermint extract* depending on desired intensity
1 to 2tablespoonsheavy cream
Green gel food coloring, if desired
6Sprinkles, chocolate shavings, or Andes mints,for garnish
Make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with foil or paper liners.
In a medium heatproof bowl add the chocolate and cocoa powder. Pour the boiling water over mixture. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk gently until smooth then set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, salt, and baking soda.
Whisk sour cream, oil, eggs, egg yolk, vinegar, and peppermint extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth, being careful not to overmix.
Using a spring-loaded scoop, divide the batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake until cupcakes are set and firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Let cupcakes cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely, about 1 hour.
Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.
Make the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes, or until the mixture is completely smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the salt, peppermint extract, and cream and beat on medium for 1 minute, or until light and creamy, adding more cream if needed. Add in green gel food coloring, if desired, and beat until evenly colored.
Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip and pipe onto each cupcake. Decorate with desired garnish. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day, or in the fridge for 3 days.
*Make sure to use peppermint extract and NOT mint or spearmint.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a picture and share it on Instagram with #handletheheat so we can all see!
This post was originally published in 2012 and recently updated with new photos, weight measurements, and recipe tips. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.
I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)
As a trained chef and cookbook author, I share trusted baking recipes your friends & family will love alongside insights into the science of sweets. I help take the luck out of baking so you *always* have delicious results! Learn more here.
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