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Chocolate Cupcakes with Candy Cane Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate cupcakes with all of the peppermint flavor in the (to-die-for) buttercream frosting.
Servings: 2 + dozen cupcakes


For the Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar , packed
  • 2 extra-large or jumbo eggs , at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk , shaken, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream , at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Candy Cane Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 cups butter , at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces white chocolate bar , melted and cooled to lukewarm
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons peppermint extract (I used 1 1/2 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.
  • Source: Chocolate Cupcake recipe adapted from Ina Garten via The Food Network, Candy Cane Buttercream Frosting adapted from Peanut Butter and Julie