Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes are moist, chocolatey-peppermint cupcakes with espresso baked right inside.  The cupcakes are topped with a dark chocolate peppermint ganache, whipped cream frosting, and peppermint bark.  Say good-bye to those expensive coffee drinks — you can now eat your peppermint mochas instead!

flavor the moments

Happy day after Christmas!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  Even though I didn’t host Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, I took it upon myself to whip up a million dishes and baked goods to take where I was going.  Sometimes I think it’s easier when I host because then I don’t feel like I need to help out more by bringing extra. 😉  I figure most of you are either at home relaxing or shopping for all of those sales.  I’m staying out of stores today, and opted to go to spin class and get caught up on my blog, among other things.

flavor the moments

I’m almost sorry to be posting a sugary treat today as if you’re like me, you’ve been in a sugar coma for a few weeks now.  At least I’m not posting more cookies…those are coming later. 🙂  I couldn’t wait to post these because I’ve been wanting to make peppermint mocha cupcakes, and my vision finally came to life.  Some of my favorite holiday flavors are peppermint and chocolate, so I made Peppermint Bark every year.  This year, I decided I was using the peppermint bark as a garnish for something bigger.  Yup — these Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes.

flavor the moments

The cupcake recipe is very simple, and I got it from school.  The cake is moist and springy, yet nice and chocolatey.  It’s a fairly light cake, which is nice, and there is 1 cup of espresso coffee baked inside.  I’m in love with these because I love my espresso.  The batter looks liquid-y, but bakes up just beautifully.  These cupcakes got high marks from my family of critics. 😉

flavor the moments

I always go the extra mile and dip my chocolate cupcakes in ganache, because in my mind, you can never have enough chocolate.  This isn’t just chocolate ganache, however — it’s dark chocolate peppermint ganache — and it’s one heavenly way to ice these cupcakes!  We’re not stopping there, though.  It’s not really a peppermint mocha without being topped with whipped cream, so each cupcake has a lovely swirl of whipped cream frosting.  The cream is stabilized with gelatin, so it won’t go getting weepy on your yummy cupcakes. Garnish the cupcakes with peppermint bark, mini chocolate chips, and peppermint crunch, and they’re even more festive than ever.  Dark-chocolate-mocha-peppermint heaven. 🙂

flavor the moments

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes are moist, chocolatey-peppermint cupcakes with espresso baked right inside, and they're topped with a dark chocolate peppermint ganache, whipped cream frosting, and peppermint bark. Say good-bye to those expensive coffee drinks -- you can now eat your peppermint mochas instead!
Serves: 18 cupcakes
Ingredients
Peppermint Bark recipe for garnish, optional
Chocolate-Mocha-Peppermint Cake:
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup espresso or strong coffee, HOT
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Ganache:
  • 1 cup dark chocolate (I used Guittard 63% All Natural Extra Dark Chocolate Chips)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Stabilized Whipped Cream:
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin powder
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
Instructions
Prepare one recipe of peppermint bark first, if using. Can be made ahead!
Prepare the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place 18 cupcake liners in standard-sized muffin pans.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, and salt on low speed. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, peppermint extract, butter, and hot coffee. Add half of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on low speed till just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the remaining wet ingredients until the batter is smooth. The batter will look thin and liquid-y. Using an ice cream scoop, pour the batter about ¾ full into each muffin cup. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
Prepare the dark chocolate peppermint ganache:
  1. Fill a large sauté pan about 2 inches high with water and bring to a boil (this is your bain marie). Turn the heat down to low. Add the chocolate chips and cream in a heat proof bowl and place in the bain marie. Stir the chocolate and cream together constantly to emulsify. Once the ganache is chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth, remove from heat and stir in the peppermint extract. Allow to cool slightly, which will thicken the ganache and make it dipping consistency. Keep your bain marie ready for the gelatin for the stabilized whipped cream.
Prepare the stabilized whipped cream:
  1. Place the tablespoon of water in a small glass dish. Sprinkle the teaspoon of gelatin over the water and allow to soften 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, place the gelatin in the warm bain marie. When the gelatin has melted, place the 1 cup of whipping cream in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed, adding the ¼ cup of sugar once soft peaks form. Add the gelatin in a slow steady stream towards the back of the bowl and continue to whip until the cream leaves tracks or peaks. Be careful not to over whip -- we don't want very stiff peaks -- just enough to pipe or swirl. Place in the refrigerator until ready to frost the cupcakes.
Assemble the cupcakes:
  1. Dip the tops of each cupcake in the ganache and place on the wire rack to set. Pipe or dollop the whipped cream decoratively over the set ganache, and top with a piece of peppermint bark, mini chocolate chips, and peppermint crunch or crushed candy canes just before serving. Enjoy!
Notes
Prep time above includes preparing peppermint bark, cupcakes, ganache, and stabilized whipped cream. The total time above reflects the set time for the peppermint bark (about 30 minutes for each chocolate layer), and 15 minutes for the gelatin to soften for the whipped cream frosting.

Do not garnish with the peppermint crunch too far in advance as it will dissolve into the whipped cream frosting.

Peppermint bark can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

Store leftover ganache in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Cake recipe adapted from Tante Marie Cooking School, San Francisco, CA.

Ganache and whipped cream frosting recipe by Flavor the Moments.