These Chocolate Mint Cupcakes were my second offering at our annual RSPCA Cupcake Day morning tea at the day job (the first was these Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes). Pure chocolatey heaven cupcakes filled with a peppermint flavoured chocolate ganache and piped with a swirl of peppermint buttercream on top.
A truly easy chocolate cupcake recipe
I love, love, love this cupcake recipe. It’s my favourite hands down because it’s just so dang easy. There is no waiting for butter to soften, and hence no creaming of butter and sugar. These chocolate cupcakes use melted butter but it not only makes the mix easy, it also keeps the cupcakes supremely moist.
Never fail chocolate cupcakes
These are my never-fail chocolate cupcakes. It’s also a recipe that works well as a cake so I’ve used this recipe over and over again. For instance my Blackberry Chocolate Cake and my Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes.
The Peppermint flavour in these Chocolate Mint Cupcakes is subtle but definitely there. If you like a strong peppermint flavour you should add a little more extract but to me the flavour of these is perfect. Sometimes flavourings like peppermint can take over and for this recipe I wanted both the peppermint and the chocolate to have their places.
The peppermint extract gets added to the ganache and the buttercream only while the cupcakes stay pure, unadulterated chocolate. Of course, the ganache is totally optional but I do love a cupcake with a surprise centre. How about you?
That ermine buttercream
Ok, if you been round these parts before, you know my undying love for ermine frosting. Also known as boiled milk buttercream and cooked flour buttercream it is silky smooth and has just the right hint of sweetness as opposed to the sometimes sickeningly sweet powdered sugar buttercream.
Ermine buttercream starts by cooking a paste of flour and milk, but stick with me. That paste is what makes this buttercream end up with whipped cream like texture. It also means you can cut down on sugar which is often used to stabilise buttercream and it will hold its shape in warmer temps than a pure standard buttercream. It is best served fresh.
I made a slight change to the recipe by dissolving half the sugar in the flour milk mix first and the other half of sugar went straight into the butter for creaming. I do believe this is the best ever ermine buttercream.
Happy Baking xo
More minty treats
- Homemade Mint Slice Biscuits
- Peppermint Coconut Fudge Bites
- Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
- Peppermint Brownie Tart
- Peppermint Hedgehog Slice Recipe
- Peppermint Baileys Chocolate Mousse (with a Baileys Brownie base)
Chocolate Mint Cupcakes
For the Peppermint ganache
- 50 g / 1/4 cup dark (50-70%) chocolate
- 75 ml heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cupcakes
- 130 g / 1 cup / 4.6oz plain (all purp) flour
- 1/2 cup / 40g / 1.4oz unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup / 113g / 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup / 100g / 3.5oz caster sugar
- 1/2 cup / 100g / 3.5oz dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs, room temp
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup / 180ml buttermilk
For the peppermint ermine buttercream
- 1 cup / 200g / 7oz caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup / 33g / 1.2oz plain (all purp) flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 230 g / 1 cup / 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
For the peppermint ganache
- Finely chop the chocolate, place in a bowl then set aside.
- In a small saucepan, mix together the cream and both extracts. Heat over low heat until it starts to bubble.
- Pour the cream over the chocolate then let it sit for 5 minutes before gently stirring it all together until smooth.
- Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to cool and firm up a little.
For the cupcakes
- Preheat your oven to 180C / 350F (160C fan) and line your muffin tins with paper cases
- In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well to combine.
- In a separate bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the melted butter and both sugars until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl each time and beating well after each. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.
- Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture. Stir through gently until just combined. Now add half of the buttermilk,
- Mix gently again. Continue like this until all the flour and buttermilk is combined… just. It is important not to overmix or be too heavy handed otherwise your cupcakes will turn out dense and tough.
- Fill the cupcake cases only to about half full. Bake in the oven for around 18-20 minutes, turning the pan around in the oven half way through to make sure they bake evenly. When a skewer inserted comes out with just a crumb or two, they are done.
- Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely before proceeding
For the peppermint ermine buttercream
- In a small saucepan whisk together the milk, flour, half the sugar and vanilla until smooth. Heat over low heat for 5-6 minutes until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens to a very thick paste. It's thick enough when you can see the lines of the whisk in the paste and the smell of uncooked flour has disappeared.
- Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap making sure the plastic wrap is touching the paste (this will stop the top from forming a skin), then place in the fridge to cool completely.
- Once the milk paste is completely cool, beat together the butter and remaining sugar until really creamy (about 5 minutes). Make sure to regularly scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the milk / flour paste, salt and peppermint extract and beat on medium high for 5-7 minutes. If it looks like it separates at the start, don't worry, keep on beating and it will beat up into an almost whipped cream consistency.
- Use a sharp knife or a cupcake corer, to cut a hole in the top of each cupcake.
- Fill each hole with about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of ganache (not too much as it's very rich). Top the ganache with a little bit of the cupcake offcuts to seal it in.
- Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag and pipe in a big swirl on top of each cupcake.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
- For best results you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE
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