Soft and rich chocolate cupcakes topped with a creamy, mint buttercream frosting! If you love mint choc chip ice cream, you’re going to love these classic mint chocolate cupcakes. They’re perfect for all occasions including birthday, Christmas or St. Patricks Day.
If there’s one flavour that I’ve found that can divide dessert lovers, then it’s mint chocolate!
For some, it’s an absolute classic combo that strikes a perfect sweet and fresh taste. Just think mint-choc chip ice cream! For others, it’s like taking a bite of chocolate cake straight after you’ve brushed your teeth.
I was always surprised at how popular these mint chocolate cupcakes were when I had the bakery. They’d sell out quickly, and I’d often get phone calls to but some aside on ‘mint choc day’.
And for family visits, there’s always a request for a couple from my sister-in-law, whilst my brother satisfies his sweet tooth with strawberries and cream!
Ready to switch to the Classic Combo Team?
You’re going to love these cupcakes
Trust me! Even if you’re not a mint chocolate fan these cupcakes are going to absolutely change your mind!
Because let’s be honest, anything sweet and chocolatey with a creamy buttercream always hits the spot! And the minty taste cuts through the sweetness for the perfect balance.
- Maybe it’s because they use my no-fail chocolate cupcake recipe?
- Or perhaps it’s the creamy and delicate peppermint frosting?
- Or is it the best flavour combo ever… mint chocolate?
If there was ever any doubt, then I suggest you take a wander over and check out my Mint Oreo cake.
How to make the best mint chocolate cupcakes
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card
I’m sure I don’t need to convince you to make these cupcakes, just look at them. That deep, intense chocolate sponge and that beautiful minty buttercream.
And believe it or not, they’re pretty simple to make too!
The Chocolate Cupcake
These cupcakes are made using my favourite chocolate cake recipe, that also works well for layered cakes, like my Creme Egg cake!
You can make these cupcakes using either a stand mixer or handheld mixer, by creaming together the butter and sugar; before beating in the eggs.
For the cocoa powder, I love a really deep and dark chocolate cupcake so use an amazing intense cocoa powder. Think of that distinctive Oreo chocolate taste!
And finally, the secret to a silky smooth cake batter and keeping the cake rich and moist is a dollop of sour cream, a little extra melted chocolate and a shot of cooled Espresso! All of these work together to bring out the intense flavour and work with the cocoa powder to stop it drying out your cake batter.
TOP TIP: Cocoa powder can be drying, so I swap some for melted dark chocolate instead. It’s definitely worth including!
The Mint Buttercream Frosting
This buttercream frosting is incredibly easy to make in less than 10 minutes and with just a few simple ingredients whipped together:
- Softened Butter
- Icing or powdered sugar
- Peppermint extract
- Green food colour gel
Softened or room temperature butter is the key to a light and airy, and easily piped frosting. It will give you a really smooth and creamy flavour as well.
You should be able to leave an indentation in the butter with your fingers. It shouldn’t be too hard that you have to really push down; nor too soft that your finger goes straight through.
I take my butter out of the fridge the night before, and it’s perfect for whipping with the balloon attachment of my stand mixer.
TOP TIP: If possible take the butter out of the fridge the night before, or 4-6 hours before you want to make the buttercream frosting.
Don’t forget to check how to adapt this recipe below to see what else you can do with them…
How to get the right minty flavour
The real beauty of these cupcakes is getting the balance of the mint and chocolate just right. Too much peppermint extract in the frosting and you might think that you’ve eaten toothpaste. And that’s not what we’re looking for!
Should I use mint or peppermint extract?
When it comes to desserts or sweet recipes, peppermint is the flavour you want to go.
- Mint extracts are usually a blend of peppermint and spearmint, rather than just peppermint. The spearmint is more suited for adding into savoury dishes.
- Peppermint extract is more suited to sweet dishes and desserts and works perfectly with chocolate and citrus flavours; so I recommend this for the buttercream frosting.
How much should I use?
As we’re using peppermint, the buttercream frosting should be sweet with the minty flavour coming through gently as you tuck in, rather than hitting your taste buds full on.
- Use a peppermint extract or peppermint flavouring
- Add a little at a time, start with 1 teaspoon and taste test
- If you want more mint, add a 1/4 teaspoon at a time, being careful not to add too much
TOP TIP: Let your nose and tastebuds be the judge of how much flavouring to add. If you’re not sure, start with a couple of drops and add slowly building up the flavour.
Top tips for the best cupcakes
- Add a dollop of sour cream – Cocoa powder can dry out cakes, so for moist chocolate cupcakes add a tablespoon of sour cream. If you don’t have sour cream, Greek yoghurt works well instead.
- Add a shot of Espresso coffee to the cupcake batter – The coffee helps to intensify the chocolate flavour and you can’t taste it. Give it a try! You can use an espresso powder or a barista-style instant coffee.
- Invest in an ice cream scoop – To get your cupcakes all the same size, try an ice cream scoop for dividing the batter into the liners. You will need about 1 scoop per liner; to about 3/4s full.
- Use room temperature butter – For a light, creamy buttercream take the butter out of the fridge the night before, or 4-6 hours before you want to make the buttercream frosting.
- Use a mint extract or flavouring – Peppermint oil is super concentrated so you only need a tiny amount; too much and you’ll have super minty frosting. An extract or flavouring will give you more control over the mint taste.
- Use a food colour gel – Unlike liquid food colouring, food colour gels do not alter the consistency of your buttercream frosting. As they are a higher concentration, you also get a stronger, brighter colour. I prefer ProGel food colouring gels but Americolor gels are great too!
View my Amazon shopping list with equipment and ingredients.
Frequently asked questions
The recipe makes between 12-16 cupcakes, depending on how full you fill the cupcake liners.
The cupcakes will keep fresh for up to 3 days.
The cupcakes are best kept in an air-tight container at room temperature.
Yes, you can freeze the un-iced cupcakes in a sealed freezer bag for up to 1 month. Remember to defrost thoroughly before eating.
If you have any buttercream leftover, pop it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or the freezer for 3 months.
Adapting the recipe
- To make a smaller batch – If you only want to make a small number of cupcakes, this recipe can be easily halved; for both the cupcakes and the buttercream frosting. Alternatively, you could make a full batch of cupcakes and freeze half and use them to make rainbow pinata cupcakes.
- Make a layer cake instead – This recipe is great for celebrations and can be easily adapted for an easy 6-inch three-layer cake, or two 8-inch layers. Just remember you will need to increase the baking time to about 20 minutes at 180C/ 350F.
- What if I don’t have intense cocoa powder – Don’t worry if you don’t have or can’t get dutch process intense cocoa powder, regular cocoa powder can be used as a substitute. The only difference is that it won’t be as dark in colour.
Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
For the Chocolate Cupcakes
- To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 180C and line a deep muffin tray with cupcake cases.
- Add the chocolate to a small heatproof bowl, place over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure that the bowl does not touch the water. Heat until all the chocolate has melted. Alternatively, melt in the microwave. Set aside to cool.
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until softened. Alternatively, you can make the cake batter, in a large mixing bowl, by hand or with an electric hand whisk.
- Add the sugar to the softened butter and cream until light and fluffy. Add the soured cream and mix through.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, to the creamed mixture. Beat well between adding each egg.
- Add the cooled espresso coffee, and mix until well combined.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together, and add to the mixture. Gently mix together until the cake batter is soft and smooth.
- Add the melted chocolate and mix through the batter until fully combined.
- Use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter between the cupcake cases, approximately 1 scoop per case.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
- To make the Peppermint buttercream: In a large bowl or stand mixer with the balloon attachment, whip the butter until pale and creamy. Start on low speed for 2-3 minutes, increasing to medium/high for 4-5 minutes
- Add the icing sugar a 2-3 tablespoons at a time, and gently beat in. Continue until all the icing sugar is combined and the butercream is light, airy and smooth.
- To decorate: Fill a piping bag fitted with a round star nozzle (Wilton 2D) with the buttercream.
- Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and then decorate with mint chocolate pieces or fresh mint leaves.
- The cupcakes are best kept in an air-tight container at room temperature.
- The cupcakes will keep fresh for up to 3 days.
- You can freeze the un-iced cupcakes in a sealed freezer bag for up to 1 month. Remember to defrost thoroughly before eating.
- If you have any buttercream leftover, pop it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or the freezer for 3 months.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.