Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Recipe By Tessa Arias
December 16th, 2013

Celebrate winter with these beautiful Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes which taste better than your favorite coffee shop drink!

Yield: 15 cupcakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Just like the name says – Peppermint Mocha! So delicious and perfect for this time of year.
Texture: The cupcakes are incredibly moist and tender while the frosting is luscious with little bits of candy cane dust on top. YUM.
Ease: I love this cupcake recipe because you don’t need to let butter come to room temperature or use an electric mixer so it’s quick and easy.
Appearance: Don’t these look positively dreamy?
Pros: Fun, flavorful, and festive.
Cons: Dirties a few dishes.
Would I make this again? Yes, this is a great go-to dessert recipe for holiday gatherings.

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Everyone loves cupcakes. Even though it seems we were a bit oversaturated with cupcakes throughout the past few years between the hoards of cupcake bakeries and scripted reality television shows that followed them, people still love to eat and make them. It’s not a mystery, cupcakes are much easier to make and transport than a full-sized cake and they are the perfect adorable portion. Every time I share a cupcake recipe on my Pinterest or Facebook, it always gets way more likes or repins than usual. This one pin comparing different cupcake decorating tips got over 2,600 repins! I usually get 30 repins if I’m lucky. So, I’ve determined that cupcakes are still well-adored.

Today’s cupcake recipe is perfectly festive and flavorful, and looks quite heavenly if I do say so myself. It’s your favorite seasonal coffee shop drink in cupcake form. What’s not to love about that??

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

How to make
Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Yield: 15 cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Celebrate winter with these beautiful Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes which taste better than your favorite coffee shop drink!


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hot plain coffee

For the peppermint frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

For decorating:

  • Crushed candy canes


For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 standard muffin pans with 15 paper cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk the sugar, flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt. In a liquid measuring cup whisk together the milk, oil, egg, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk vigorously until the batter comes together. Add the coffee and stir until combined.
  3. Fill each cupcake liner three-quarters full with batter. Bake until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin pans to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

  1. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, peppermint extract, and cream with the mixer on low speed. Beat until incorporated then increase speed to high and beat for 3 minutes, or until ultra light and creamy. Add additional powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or additional cream if too thick.
  2. Scoop the frosting into a large piping bag fitted with a plain open tip, such as the Ateco 804 or 806. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. Bring to room temperature before serving if desired.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

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!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Cookbook Queen — December 16, 2013 at 4:40 am

    I love a good cupcake!! These are so perfect for Christmas. I don’t drink coffee — but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t mind eating it with frosting on top 😉

  2. #
    Denise H. — December 16, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Can I ask where you get instant espresso powder? I’ve checked the coffee aisle in my local grocery stores and haven’t found any. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • #
      Tessa — December 16, 2013 at 9:19 am

      I usually get it at Sur la Table, Williams Sonoma, or Whole Foods but you can also order it online from King Arthur Flour or Amazon. If you can’t find it anywhere you can substitute with 3 teaspoons of instant coffee, though I really prefer the taste of the espresso powder.

  3. #
    Gaby — December 16, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Love peppermint mocha! Must have these cupcakes!!

  4. #
    Tieghan — December 16, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Cupcakes will never get old in my mind! These are awesome and I LOVE the mocha!

  5. #
    Samantha — December 20, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Denise – I was able to find it in my small Kroger… it was Medaglio D’Ora brand. It was the only brand on the shelves, and was rather hard to spot.

  6. #
    Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) — January 2, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    These cupcakes look so fabulous!!

  7. #
    Dina — January 6, 2014 at 8:21 am

    they look yummy!

  8. #
    Rachel — December 9, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    The ingredients mention equal quantities of baking power and baking soda, but the baking soda isn’t mentioned in the directions. Does it get added with the rest of the dry ingredients, or was it listed by accident?

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