Monday, August 30, 2010

mint chocolate cupcakes

I was a little nervous when I brought these cupcakes into the office for a recent birthday. I wanted to showcase the mint flavor, but with peppermint extract and Andes Mint pieces in both the cake and the frosting, I was afraid I was veering dangerously close to toothpaste territory.

You all know what I'm talking about. Everyone has encountered cakes and brownies, usually making their appearance around the holiday season, that look benign but are so overwhelmingly minty and sweet that you feel like you're eating Crest with your chocolate.

Thankfully, this recipe manages to be very minty while still staying far away from toothpaste territory. The rich chocolate cake is laced with mint extract and studded with mint chocolate pieces, and the light mint buttercream is sweet and refreshing. Now that's something to smile about.

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
Adapted From Martha Stewart
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
3/4 cup Andes Mint pieces (or Andes Mints, chopped)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil and water and whisk or beat in a stand mixer on low speed until smooth. Stir in the Andes Mint pieces and divide batter between muffin cups evenly, filling each about 2/3 of the way (I got about 20 cupcakes). Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Place the tins on wire racks and allow cupcakes to cool there for about 1o minutes. Then, remove the cupcakes from the tins and allow them to finish cooling directly on the racks.
Mint Buttercream
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Beat the butter in a stand mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, the milk, the salt and the peppermint extract. Beat for another 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar until the frosting is the flavor and texture that you want. The buttercream should be light, fluffy, and thick enough to spread. You probably will not need all of the powdered sugar.


Beth said...

What lovely cupcakes! My youngest daughter loves mint and chocolate more than anything, so I'll have to try these out!

grace said...

I LOVE the combination of chocolate & mint and yours look absolutely lovely :) Saving the recipe to try soon!

Jeannette said...

um, these look fab and i have to try them.

just for kicks, you should add a minty green shmear in the frosting and make toothpaste gag cupcake out of them ;)