Another birthday at work meant another round of birthday treats. This time my coworker’s pick was chocolate mint cupcakes. Chocolate and mint is a classic combination that comes in many different forms; mint oreos, york peppermint patties, grasshopper bars, and my favorite – Andes. I made this cupcakes last Christmas and they were well received then, so I knew I had a winning recipe to repeat.
The base of the cake is a peppermint version of Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake. A lot of food bloggers bash on this cake, but I think it’s the perfect amount of chocolate, plus it’s extra light and fluffy. It made the perfect base for creamy mint swiss merguine buttercream. To get the green and white swirl effect, I (aka James) placed my prepared piping bag in a large beer glass and cut a piece of poster board to fit right down the middle of the bag, vertically. Then I filled one side with green frosting and one side with white frosting and carefully pulled the poster board out. I would suggest doing a practice cupcake first (I always pick the ugly duckling of the bunch) so the white and green is coming out evenly.
Like I said earlier, my favorite chocolate and mint combo treat are Andes, so I chopped up a few to sprinkle on top of the frosted cupcakes which I think adds a bit of additional interest.
Chocolate Mint Cupcakes (makes 24 cupcakes)
for the cupcakes:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 muffins pans with cupcake papers and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in eggs, milk, oil and extracts. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour in boiling water and whisk to combine. Batter will be thin.
Fill each cupcake paper 2/3 of the way full with batter and bake for 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
for the frosting:
6 egg whites, room temperature
1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tbs of sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) of butter, room temperature
2 tsp of vanilla extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
green food coloring, as desired
Whisk together egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set bowl over a small pot of simmering water and whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves. You know it’s ready with the you cannot feel the sugar when you rub a small amount of mixture between your fingers.
Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and use the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites into stiff peaks, about 10 minutes. The bowl should be cool to the touch before you move on.
Switch over to the paddle attachment and set the mixer to medium speed. Add the butter 2 Tbs at a time, letting it incorporate before adding another piece. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat until the frosting comes together. This will take a while, so don’t worry if it looks soupy or curdled at any point. I find that it helps (if it’s not cooperating) to briefly chill in the fridge for a few minutes and then remixing.
Place half of the butter cream into a small bowl and whisk in vanilla extract. Set aside. Using the remaining half of frosting in the stand mixer bowl, mix in peppermint extract and green food coloring. Alternately, you can mix 1 tsp of vanilla and 1 tsp of peppermint into each bowl if you want the peppermint flavor to be consistent through both colors. I’ve done it both ways and don’t have a particular preference. Place frosting in piping bag as detailed above and pipe as desired. Sprinkle cupcakes with chopped Andes or other chocolate mint candies.