Cupcakes are a thing now – like a big thing – a cultural phenomenon if you will, and I’ve totally jumped on the bandwagon.
These miniature little cakes have always been present and people have always loved them, so why is it that when it comes to desserts all people can talk about nowadays are cupcakes? Everywhere you turn there’s a cupcake shop popping up or a cupcake show on the Food Network or TLC, there’s even cupcake food trucks now!
I think maybe the difference lies in the fact that you can get as creative as you want with your cupcake making, whereas before it was your typical chocolate or vanilla flavor and there was no real imaginative ideas or unique flavors. Now, the sky’s the limit.
Love peanut butter and jelly? Why, make a PB&J cupcake. Love S’mores, go ahead make a cupcake out of it. Do snickerdoodles strike your fancy? Yup, make a cupcake.
It could be a fad, or a trend, or whatever you want to call it, but this girl thinks that inspired cupcakes are here to stay. Just as long as we don’t get into the jelly bean territory where people were coming with all kinds of revolting flavors like… ok I won’t go there because I want you to actually have an appetite when you’re done reading. You remember though… Ick, is all I’ll say.
Let’s keep the cupcakes tasty, please and thank you.
Today’s creation is inspired by Starbucks’ ever so popular peppermint mocha holiday drink. Since there is practically a cult following on this festive drink, I thought it would be fun to take the flavors that everyone covets and turn them into a cupcake.
These get a double dose of chocolate from Dutch processed cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate chips. The addition of some good strong coffee adds just a touch of coffee flavor in the background while also enhancing the chocolate flavors.
While I love the chocolate part of the ensemble, the peppermint butter cream is definitely my favorite element. I’ve never really been one to care for super sweet icing on anything, so when I discovered Swiss meringue butter cream about 10 years ago, I was hooked.
Swiss butter cream has more of an understated sweet flavor that is juuust enough; it’s light and airy, and buttery, and ahhh everything wonderful in this world. I add just a touch of peppermint extract to get that minty aroma, but not so much that you feel like you’re eating a candy cane.
Like the sugar content in the icing is juuust enough, the peppermint flavor is also juuust enough, making for the perfect minty/chocolatey combination cupcake.
- 1 stick of butter, softened
- 1 cup of sugar
- ⅔ cup milk
- 2 eggs + 1 egg white
- ½ cup of strong coffee
- 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup cake flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Peppermint Swiss Butter cream Frosting:
- 3 egg whites
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 sticks of butter, softened
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with liners.
- Cream butter and sugar together in the bottom of a stand mixture on medium high until light and fluffy.
- Lower speed to medium, add eggs one at a time, making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the other.
- Add coffee and vanilla. Mix until combined.
- Sift baking powder, salt, flours, and cocoa powder together in a large bowl.
- With the speed on low add the flour and milk alternating first with a third of the flour then half of the milk, ending with flour.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Fill each muffin about ¾ full and bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Be sure to not over bake. Remove from tins and cool.
- Peppermint Swiss Buttercream:
- In the bottom of a stand mixer add egg whites and sugar, place over a low flame, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm, about 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form on a high speed, about twelve minutes.
- Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium add the softened butter one tablespoon at a time, making sure each addition if fully incorporated.
- Once butter is incorporated add the vanilla and peppermint extract.
- If the mixture begins to separate, turn the mixer back on the highest speed it will go and mix until it is cohesive again.
- After cupcakes have cooled, pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Garnish with crushed peppermints.