I love to cook and bake. There is something about this process that my creative side can really get into. With cooking, you can really embrace adventure (right side of the brain), but baking is a little a little more left brain (scientific, and precise). When baking if you move one way or another on the ingredient list, a pinch or dash more of this, can really make the difference between a flop or a fantastic result. Why am I telling you this? Because the very first time (2 years ago) I made these peppermint mocha cupcakes they came out perfect. I mean PERFECT. This year, well, we seemed to have some technical difficulties.
Maybe it was that we tried to rush them.
Maybe we didn’t read the recipe carefully enough (read: knowing the difference between 3-4 cups vs. 3/4 cup – I’m looking at you, Alexandra!!).
Maybe we were multitasking too many things instead of being present in the moment.
Maybe, when making the second batch, someone (guilty!) shut off the new oven instead of the timer and stood there wondering why the cupcakes STILL weren’t done even after adding more to the timer. They were still jiggly after 40 minutes – when I realized what I’d done with the oven temp and timer!
Annnnnd then, when we finally had gotten them just right, photographed, and ready for a sweet reward at the end of the day, I, yes, me, ruined the cupcakes one last final time. You see, I placed the plateful of cupcakes in the oven so the cat wouldn’t attempt to snack on them while I was working in the office. Then I forgot about them. Come suppertime, I needed the oven. Can you see where this is going? I hit preheat and went about my business. And lo and behold, when I went to plop the casserole into the oven, I found rock hard, burnt, frosting melted all over the bottom of the brand new oven, cupcakes. Were they still even cupcakes at this stage? I honestly don’t know. These cupcakes were clearly not meant for us to enjoy this time. I guess someone wants me to stick to my diet this time around. Sigh. Open trash can. Dump. Sigh again.
Anybody else ever feel defeated with their baking/cooking attempts? The baking gods were clearly not on our side this week. Growing up, I remember hearing a lot of grumbling from the women in my family about how this cake that didn’t rise, or the buttercream kept melting, or the stollen (a German Christmas tradition) was too dry. Makes me giggle because I also heard every excuse as to why that happened – the weather, wasn’t the right ingredient (someone mixed it up), I couldn’t read her handwriting, and here’s the best one, it was that time of the month. HA! I have no excuses except for not being in the moment. Lesson learned.
But there is one thing that I know. These cupcakes are NOT hard. They’re really quite easy and so, so worth it. They are delicious, decadent, sweet, and minty, with just a hint (a wonderful hint) of chocolate and mocha. And they were PERFECT the first time I made them. I will make them again. Next week. 🙂
Original source: Sally’s Baking Addiction
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
- 1 heaping tablespoon instant coffee (use instant coffee, not coffee grounds)
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- ½ cup buttermilk (If you don't have buttermilk, you can mix ½ cup milk with 2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir and let stand for 5 minutes until curdled.)
- 1 cup unsalted buter, softened to room temperature
- 3 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar (also known as powdered sugar)
- ¼ cup heavy cream (Using milk or half-and-half instead of heavy cream is okay, but your frosting may not be as creamy.)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- salt, to taste (optional)
- crushed candy canes or peppermint bark
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each time. You may also melt the butter and chocolate over low heat on the stovetop. Stir until combined, then mix in the instant coffee. Set aside to slightly cool.
- In a medium bowl, toss the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract together until smooth. Add the cooled butter/chocolate/coffee and whisk until smooth.
- Add half of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk. Repeat until everything is added. Stir until just combined; do not overmix. The batter will be very thick like pudding.
- Divide the batter between 12 liners in your cupcake pan. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Add confectioners' sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes (the longer you beat, the creamier the frosting).
- Add more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin, or more cream if frosting is too thick. Add salt if frosting is too sweet (1/4 teaspoon).
- Frost cooled cupcakes. There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake. Top with crushed candy canes or peppermint bark.
More from our 12 Days of Christmas Cookies and Crafts blog series:
- Mrs Fields Eggnog Cookies
- Sharpie Paint Pens: Christmas Glasses
- DIY Holiday Hostess Gifts
- Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe
- Glitter Heart Ornaments
- Tuxedo Brownie Bites Recipe
- DIY Christmas Ornaments
- Noodle Bake Recipe
- Christmas Cocktails: Cranberry, Pomegranate & Prosecco
- DIY Gold Glitter Mason Jars