The classic holiday flavor is made extra sweet with these Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes! Topped with a Marshmallow Mint Buttercream, these cupcakes have a delightful, light ‘sweet mint’ flavor.
Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
Peppermint and chocolate are a match made in heaven. Give it to me all year round, but especially during the holiday season. I’ll take it in my cookies, my lattes, and, obviously, my cupcakes. These cupcakes have a light peppermint flavor along with lots of dark, chocolatey cocoa (you’ll want to use Dutched cocoa for these!). The frosting is an easy American buttercream made with marshmallow creme (fluff), which gives it a sweet-mint flavor. I opted for unflavored sprinkles and snowflake candies for my toppings to keep the peppermint under control. For maximum minty flavor, you can decorate with crushed candy cane pieces or even whole candy canes!
Some of the Ingredients You’ll Need + Substitutions:
- All-purpose flour: I like to use the unbleached kind for my cupcakes. For a healthier option, you can replace up to half of the AP flour with white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour.
- Dutch-process cocoa: this dark cocoa powder gives the cupcakes a richer flavor and color. Look for the Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder for an affordable, easy-to-find option.
- Unrefined cane sugar: white granulated sugar will also work.
- Eggs: for a vegan option, try using flax eggs in place of the eggs. Mix 3 Tbsp flaxseed meal with 8 Tbsp warm water; allow to thicken for five minutes.
- Oil: I usually use olive oil in all of my baked goods. You can use your favorite liquid oil. Avocado oil is tasteless and healthy. Melted coconut oil will also work.
- Plant-based milk: any plant “milk” will work!
- Coffee: this adds depth to the chocolate flavor and you won’t taste any coffee in the final cupcake. If you have no coffee on hand, you can use more plant-base milk in its place.
- Peppermint extract: be sure to use peppermint extract and not mint extract!
- Plant-based butter: you can use either stick butter or tub butter for this recipe. Whichever you choose, make sure it’s softened.
- Vegetable shortening: I like to add shortening to my dairy-free buttercream frostings for structure. If you’d like to omit it, you can use more butter in its place. You may need to omit the milk in your frosting if you do this.
- Powdered sugar: there is no sub for powdered sugar 😉
- 1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup unrefined cane sugar (or white granulated sugar)
- 3 large eggs (or 3 flax eggs)
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1 cup plant-based milk
- 1/2 cup strong coffee
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- 7oz marshmallow creme/fluff
- 3/4 cup plant-based butter, softened (see Note 1)
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening (or more butter)
- 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- ~1/2 Tbsp plant-based milk
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line cupcakes pans with paper liners (this recipe makes 18 cupcakes).
- In a large bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder. Whisk in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt until all is incorporated.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs. Whisk in the oil, milk, coffee, and peppermint extract. Slowly beat the liquid ingredients into the dry until totally combined - your batter will be runny.
- Fill muffin liners roughly 3/4 full. Bake at 350°F for 13-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcakes comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before gently removing to a cooling rack.
- Once the cupcakes are totally cool, you can make the frosting. In a large bowl, beat the marshmallow creme, plant butter, and shortening. Beat in the peppermint extract and plant milk. Finally, beat in the powdered sugar, cup by cup, until your frosting is smooth and stiff enough to pipe.
- Add frosting to a piping bag fitted with your favorite tip and begin frosting your cupcakes. To add sprinkles, pause between each cupcake to immediately add the sprinkles (the frosting begins to stiffen quickly).
- Finish each cupcake with a centerpiece topping (I chose candy snowflakes from the holiday baking aisle). Peppermint candies or other candy cane candies would be beautiful.
- Store any leftover cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Plant-based butter: you can use either stick butter or tub butter for this recipe. I've had success with both. I've found that I don't need the tub butter to sit very long at room temperature in order to be soft enough, so don't let it get melty.