Mocha cake with peppermint buttercream and crushed candy canes.
Nothing says Christmas to me like the cool flavor of peppermint. Mix that with the warmth of mocha and you always have a winning winter flavor1 This cupcake is a simple variation of two recipes I've used before, a basic chocolate cake with coffee added to it and regular buttercream with peppermint added to it. Easy peasy! If you want to use a boxed cake mix, you certainly could, and I'll add instructions for modifying a box mix and frosting at the end.
Chocolate Mocha Cake
- 2 cups sugar
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- 3 Tbsp instant coffee granules
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill muffin trays with paper liners (or grease and flour).
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir coffee granules into boiling water and stir into batter. Batter will be very thin. Don't worry, it will be fine. You could substitute 1 cup of very hot, very strong coffee for the instant granules and boiling water if you like.
3. Pour the batter into prepared liners, filling the cups 2/3 full. You can fill them a little more if you want big, overflowing cupcakes. I like mine to sit neatly within the liner, so I fill them 2/3 full.
4. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Set pans on wire racks. Cool in pans until completely cooled. This keeps them from falling completely apart when you pick them up.
Beat butter until light and fluffy, then add in the sugar. Beat until well mixed, adding the milk as needed to thin. Whip in oil or extract - use a light hand with this until you get the flavor you want. When the frosting is light and spreadable, separate about 1/4 of it into a smaller bowl and stir in red coloring.
Frost your cupcakes after they are completely cool. To achieve the swirly colored frosting, use a pastry bag or ziploc with the corner snipped off to frost. Smear some of the red frosting against one side of the bag, then fill with white. As you squeeze out the frosting, the white will drag a little red with it giving you a pretty swirl.
Sprinkle with some crushed candy cane and you're good to go!
If you crave this cupcake but are a box-mix kind of baker, you can make simple subtitutions and get similar results. Use a chocolate cake mix, and whatever water is called for, substitute coffee. Make it strong. If you want to use canned frosting, go for it... just add a little peppermint flavor. It's that easy.
Whether you make them from scratch or use a mix, make these cupcakes. They taste like the holidays, and will make you happy. Promise. :)