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Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
Adapted from Food Network
Makes 24 cupcakes

1 cup sugar
1 cup real mayonnaise
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Pinch of salt
½ to 2 tablespoons of milk
10 peppermint candies, crushed, for decoration*

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard muffin tins with cupcake papers.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and mayonnaise until blended. Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts and blend.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the mayonnaise mixture in 3 batches alternating with the buttermilk.
4. Divide the batter among the prepared pans, filling each cup 2/3 full (about 2 tablespoons worth of batter). Bake for 18 minutes, or until the tops are firm and spring back when lightly touched. Cool in tins for 10 minutes. Remove from tins and place on wire rack to cool completely.
5. When cupcakes are completely cooled, make frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add peppermint extract and salt, and beat until combined. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add milk as necessary to thin out to desired consistency. Pipe or frost onto cupcakes. Top with a sprinkle of crushed peppermint candies.

*Note: For extra peppermint flavor, place crushed peppermints in a fine mesh sieve, and sift out the candy dust into a small bowl. Add a tablespoon or more of the dust to your confectioners’ sugar and whisk together before adding to butter mixture.

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