It's beginning to look a lot like...peppermint! It's after Thanksgiving, so I'm now (officially!) in full Christmas mode. Peppermint is just something that screams the holidays to me. I'm not a big fan of peppermint on its own, but pair it with chocolate and I am IN. Better yet, let's add some espresso, too. These Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes will get you in the holiday spirit!
These little beauties are mocha cupcakes topped with peppermint Swiss meringue buttercream. The chocolate/espresso cupcakes are the stuff dreams are made of! And the buttercream? Swiss meringue buttercream is smooth, silky, and not too sweet. The addition of peppermint extract makes the buttercream a perfect pairing with the cupcake.
In my post about my Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies I admitted that I've never actually joined the cult following of the PSL, having never had one. My story is the same with the peppermint mocha...never had one. I a) don't frequent coffee shops and b) will happily stick with my tried-and-true mocha. The peppermint mocha isn't a big step from my usual, so maybe I'll have to make that happen at some point. You know, someday.
I've found it difficult to find espresso powder (especially one that isn't already hard as a rock) at my local grocery store. I use King Arthur Flour's brand (link [here]), as it's very fine and made specifically for baked goods.
I topped my cupcakes with crushed candy canes and crisp chocolate pearls. You can use the little chocolate pearls to dress up baked goods year-round. I can only ever find them online. If you're interested in getting yourself some, you can find them [here].
Sometimes it's hard for me to feel "into" the holidays since we moved to Texas. No family, no cold weather... As a result, it looks like Christmas threw up at my house. 😀 We have two trees, garlands, mistletoe, and a thousand decorations. I also already have dozens of cookies nestled in the freezer for holiday cookie trays (more on those later).
While it's sometimes hard to feel like it's the holidays far from home, my little family is making new traditions that keep the spirit alive. Regardless of everything else, it does feel like Christmastime in my kitchen, where I'm making old favorites and new sweets to share with you. These Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes have me feeling Christmasy already. 🙂
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Recipe adapted from Baker's Royale (link here).
Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
Peppermint Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- 5 egg whites
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 2 cups unsalted butter, diced and softened (4 sticks)
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- crushed candy canes
- crispy chocolate pearls (see note)
- Preheat oven to 350F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt). Mix briefly to combine.
- Add melted butter and eggs and beat until combined. Add half the coffee, mix to combine. Add the second half of the coffee and beat until smooth.
- Divide batter evenly among greased or paper-lined cupcake pans. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes completely on a wire rack.
- In a medium heatproof bowl, combined egg whites and sugar. Place over a small saucepan of simmering water, taking care that the water doesn't come into contact with the bowl.
- Cook mixture over medium-high heat, stirring often, until it reaches 160F.
- Once mixture has come to temperature, transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed using the whisk attachment until bowl is nearly cool to the touch and mixture has doubled in volume, 10-12 minutes.
- Add butter one piece at a time, allowing each piece to incorporate before adding the next. Keep mixing until buttercream is smooth. Add peppermint extract and mix to combine.
- Cupcakes can be frosted with the buttercream once they are completely cooled. Top with crushed candy canes and crisp chocolate pearls, if desired.Enjoy!