Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

I can’t lie – there was a period of a couple weeks where the grand extent of my cooking was browning ground turkey for tacos and opening a bag of pre-shredded cheese.

Now, don’t get me wrong – tacos are one of my favorite foods – but the point is that I was seriously slacking on making headway in terms of trying new recipes and expanding my culinary abilities. It was just so cold here, and work was so busy, then I was out of town… ok, ok enough with the excuses. Luckily, I’ve snapped back into action! I have quite a few recipes ready to share, from these sweet holiday cupcakes to a tasty Thai curry.

I may even dare to say that this is my best food photography yet (?) Remember, I am a total beginner when it comes to the visual side of things. I can write for days, but when it comes to taking/finding a picture to go in an article? Meltdowns have occurred.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

Anyway, I made these chocolate cupcakes with peppermint buttercream frosting for an early holiday party, and they were a big hit! After some searching on Pinterest, I decided against the super fancy, mine-will-never-look-like-this reindeer/present/elf cupcake designs. I’ve found simplicity is usually better. As always, I made mine mini cupcakes. I love tiny desserts in general, and they’re perfect for the party scene when people want to try different treats and not commit to one giant cake.

Also, I have a short-for-time secret: You could totally use a chocolate cake mix, and just make the homemade frosting to go on top (And still channel the decorating spirit of Martha Stewart). It’s typically the frosting that gives away the store-bought taste ; )

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

Martha’s Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 36 to 48 cupcakes (or more mini)

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin cups with paper liner. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add buttermilk, vegetable oil, and 1 1/2 cups warm water; whisk to combine. Add eggs and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth.

Divide batter among muffin cups (filling each about 2/3 full) and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pans on wire racks, 5 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to racks and let cool completely. Frost with the frosting below, then sprinkle with crushed peppermint.

Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 T vanilla extract*
  • 1 t skim milk
  • 2-4 cups of powdered sugar, depending on desired thickness
  • 6 candy canes, crushed

Mix all ingredients together, adding one cup of powdered sugar at a time. Generously sprinkle the crushed candy cane pieces on top of the cupcakes after frosting.

*You can also sub peppermint extract for vanilla if you want it more minty!


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