One sure-fire way to get myself into the Christmas spirit is to retreat to the kitchen, put on some Christmas carols, and bake something festive. This year I tried a new recipe that I had been meaning to attempt for more than a year (seriously). I decided to finally unveil it for Christmas as I felt that the mint flavour of the cupcakes would pair well with a sprinkling of festive candy cane.
The recipe created a lot of batter so I divided it up to make some mini-cupcakes (perfect to take to parties, or for kids) and some bigger sized cupcakes to snack on over the next few days before I have to return to work. I will absolutely be making these again next Christmas (or whenever the need arises for mint chocolate cupcakes). I was impressed with the cake, which was very moist, the butter-cream was dangerously good, and the candy cane pieces add a nice bit of texture. Happy Holidays!
Christmas Mint Cupcakes – Makes about 36 large cupcakes
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ cup warm water
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, water, and peppermint extract, and beat with a mixer on low speed until smooth.
Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes (For mini cupcakes 10-14 minutes). Let cupcakes cool in tins on wire racks for 10 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to racks, and let cool. Undecorated cupcakes will keep, covered, for 1 day, or frozen for up to 2 months.
Spoon butter-cream into a pastry bag fitted with a large, plain tip. Pipe small mounds on tops of cupcakes. Flatten mounds with an offset spatula, then top with chocolate-mint leaves.
1 cup butter, softened
5 cups sifted icing sugar
½ cup whipping cream
½ tsp vanilla
In a large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Alternately beat in sugar and cream, making 2 additions of sugar. Beat in vanilla and frost cupcakes once they have cooled.