I’m not sure why we don’t pair up chocolate and mint all year long, but I’ll take the opportunity to experiment with one my favourite flavour combinations! I experimented with two tone frosting and it was pretty fun! It ends up looking a lot like a little bit of a watercolour stroke, which is a happy surprise. Here are the instructions that I followed for my first time.
Let’s talk about the cupcakes, though! They’re based on my favourite chocolate cupcake recipe but amped up with a little extra coffee so as to complement the mint frosting. The cake itself is moist, light, very chocolately and all kinds of amazing. I didn’t want to end up with a toothpaste frosting, so I played it real cool with the peppermint extract and used plenty of vanilla – the results, well, it just might be my favourite yet.
Dark Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (Here is my gluten-free one; use brown as the rice flour component)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot brewed coffee
1 cup canola oil, or other neutral oil
3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used soy because it is beautiful, rich and thick, but it’s your choice)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon egg replacer + 1/2 cup water, mixed well
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 F. Place liners in cupcake tins. In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined. The batter will be relatively thin, but it should look dark and make ripples when you lift some of it out. Fill each liner with about 2 tablespoons of batter, about 2/3 full. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cake bounces back at your light touch. Cool on baking racks.
Vanilla Peppermint Buttercream
Enough for 30 cupcakes
1 cup non-dairy margarine, softened
1 tablespoon non-dairy cream cheese (optional)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
~1 kg icing sugar
1-3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
2-3 peppermint candy canes, crushed to a fine powder (optional)
1 or 2 drops of red food colouring, or 1 teaspoon beet juice (optional)
Using a hand, or stand mixer, cream the non-dairy margarine and cream cheese, on high, for several minutes. You’ll want to see the colour change to a lighter shade. Add the vanilla, peppermint extract and about 1/2 cup of the icing sugar and beat to combine. Once combined, start to add the rest of the icing sugar in small batches. If it starts to look dry, add a tablespoon of non-dairy milk at a time until the desired texture is achieved. If you’d like to do two tone frosting, separate the buttercream into two bowls and mix one with the candy cane and a drop or two of red food colouring or a couple of drops of beet juice.
Use whatever piping tip you like, but be careful to use one with a large opening, as the candy cane may get stuck.