If you want to have a little glimpse of the thoughts that go through my head when writing one of these posts, I can tell you that there is usually an internal debate on what to title a recipe. Honestly, I sat here for about 15 minutes deciding if I should instead name these Chocolate Candy Cane Cupcakes for a simpler heading. But, reason won out with the fact that there are no candy canes in the actual cupcakes. They are just regular (but delicious!) chocolate cupcakes with all of the peppermint flavor in the (to-die-for) buttercream frosting.
Funny that I should characterize the frosting as "to-die-for." If anyone knows me well, they know I do not love the chocolate/peppermint combination. Leave the minty flavors for my toothpaste, chewing gum and holiday tea please. Do NOT ruin my chocolate! 😉 But, with white chocolate added into the buttercream, the peppermint flavor becomes so subtle that it actually is a refreshing delight! Yes, even mixed with the chocolate cupcakes.
I was very pleased with how the chocolate cupcakes turned out. What attracted me to this recipe was the added tablespoons of coffee brew, knowing that it enhances the chocolate flavor. They were also moist and perfectly puffed for a beautiful presentation. Both the cupcakes and frosting are easy to prepare, so I'll be keeping them as "go to" recipes (easily keeping out the peppermint extract flavoring.)
You can see from the photos that I decorated them a few different ways. Initially, I tried the swirl method of painting red food coloring into the pastry bag before adding the frosting, however, the two cupcakes above were the only ones that turned out right. I finished the rest with decorations of these very cute candy cane sprinkles...
and holly sprinkles...
...both given to me by Karen's Cookies when ordering another one of their products. This post is in no way sponsored by Karen's Cookies. I just love to share my good experiences and recommendations when possible. It was a super cool surprise to see an extra sample of another product with my orders!
Hope you enjoy these cupcakes as much as I do!
Chocolate Cupcakes with Candy Cane Buttercream Frosting
For the Chocolate Cupcakes:
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter , at room temperature
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar , packed
- 2 extra-large or jumbo eggs , at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk , shaken, at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream , at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
- 1 ¾ cups flour
- 1 cup good cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Candy Cane Buttercream Frosting:
- 2 cups butter , at room temperature
- 4 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces white chocolate bar , melted and cooled to lukewarm
- 1 to 2 teaspoons peppermint extract (I used 1 ½ teaspoons)
- Red food coloring (optional)
- Sprinkles (optional)
For the Chocolate Cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcakes pans with paper liners. Set an oven rack to the middle position of the oven.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until combined. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed back to medium and add the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream and coffee; set aside. Using another medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Turn the mixer to low speed and alternately add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture to the creamed butter in thirds, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended, then use a rubber spatula to fold the batter and ensure no flour pockets remain.
- Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake pans. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes (20 minutes was perfect for me.) Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove and allow to completely cool before frosting.
For the Frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the powdered sugar, salt and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the white chocolate until combined. Stir in the peppermint flavoring to your taste. Whip until the frosting reaches your desired consistency (*see recipe note below).
- If desired, color with red food coloring. Scoop frosting into pastry bag fitted with a Wilton 1M star tip and pipe frosting onto the cupcakes. Optional: Decorate with candy cane sprinkles.
- *Recipe Note: The original recipe calls for 3 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream in order to reach the desired frosting consistency. I didn’t need it, and therefore saved myself from having to open a package of whipping cream only to use up a tablespoon or two.