Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons dutch processed cocoa
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, at room temperature

peppermint cream cheese frosting
red sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350. Line or grease and flour 6 wells in a cupcake pan. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, mix thoroughly. Meanwhile, mix together the cocoa powder, espresso powder and milk in a small bowl or measuring cup and set aside. Add flour, baking powder and salt to the butter mixture. Add the milk mixture to the rest of the batter and beat until well combined. Fill each well 2/3 of the way full. Bake 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted the center of a cupcake comes out clean or with just one or two dry crumbs. Cool briefly in the pan, then remove cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely before icing with peppermint cream cheese frosting. Ice, then sprinkle.

*I bought this at our local Italian grocery but I have seen it in most regular grocery stores in the coffee isle.

Yield: 6 cupcakes

My thoughts:

It’s that time of the year again- everyone is rhapsodizing about peppermint mochas from Starbucks. I admit, I am not a coffee drinker by any stretch of the imagination, but even I make an annual trip to Starbucks to get one. This year I thought it would be fun to combine those flavors into a new portable form: cupcakes. This recipe makes 6 cupcakes, which is a perfect number for a snack with friends, but can be easily multiplied to make more. The cupcake strikes a perfect balance of chocolate and coffee and the icing just elevates it to a whole new level.


  1. you’re a wicked, wicked girl! these sound wonderful.

    and loved the lion head, too. never heard of that one.

    hope t-giving was good!

  2. what do you think about adding peppermint flavor (I guess extract?) into the batter. Too much?

  3. Janet: I thought about it, but I think it would be overpowering. Peppermint extract is such potent stuff! This way you get some peppermint but a clear coffee-chocolate flavor as well.

  4. these are soooo perfect looking! I just want to stick my finger in that icing!

  5. This looks so delicious, I love cupcakes, so glad I stumbled upon your blog from TasteSpotting.

    I’ll be back!

  6. Ooh, these look amazing! I used to work at Starbucks and would take those drinks home to my family all the time. These cupcakes will have to be my new favourite dessert!

    Little known Starbucks fact: the peppermint syrup is actually available year-round. 🙂

  7. I could lick my computer these look so good!

    By the way, I loved the write up about you in Style Magazine!

  8. Yum, I love all of the pumpkin and harvesty flavors giving way to winter-wonderland: Peppermint, gingerbread, sugar cookies…sigh. This is a lovely-looking recipe!

  9. I made these cupcakes last night. And try as I might to screw up the recipe (used white instead of brown sugar, added 1/2 TBS vanilla instead of 1/2 tsp, etc etc) they turned out great.

    Also, don’t skip the red sprinkles, they make the cupcakes fun!

  10. so of course I had to make these right away. They are soooo delicious. I didn’t have espresso powder, so I just used strongly brewed coffee. I used about 1/4 cup of that, and added 1/4 cup of buttermilk in place of regular milk.

    Amazing! Thanks for the recipe!!

  11. Those look really good! I wonder how they would be without the Mocha, we aren’t fans of coffee flavoring in any form… but these do look so good!

  12. How To Eat A Cupcake

    that sounds absolutely delicious!

  13. these look wonderful. if i wanted to make a cake instead of cupcakes, would i still use the same amount of ingredients? or would double it?

  14. i finally got around to trying these yesterday, and they were wonderful! the flavor was translated perfectly into cupcake form. i didn’t have any cream cheese on hand for the frosting, so i just added peppermint to a basic buttercream, plus some melted white chips and a bit of whipped cream. i’m sending a link to your recipe over to my cupcake-loving friend 🙂

  15. I made these tonight, and I doubled the recipe but the cupcakes weren’t sweet at all… I wonder what I did wrong, like forgetting to double an ingredient or adding to much of something. I’m assuming that the cupcakes did have some sweetness to them. They were really moist and fluffy though! The icing complemented them well.

    I also put chocolate shavings on the icing, and it made them look beautiful. 🙂

    Thanks for the recipe!

  16. it’s getting toward the end of the semester for me, and one of my coping mechanisms is baking, so I made these. very tasty, but I think I overdid it on the peppermint, and the cake came out unexpectedly flat. old baking powder maybe? I don’t know. Anyway, super tasty, and my favorite drink at s’bucks, so thank you!

  17. Crispy Crust-This recipe only makes 6 cupcakes, no where near enough for a full cake.

    Crystal: Sounds like you must have made some sort of mistake. While they are not a sickly sweet cupcake like a lot commercially made cupcakes are and the flavors (chocolate and mocha) are not super sweet on their own but the cupcakes certainly are sweet! 1/2 a cup of sugar for only 6 cupcakes is a fair amount of sugar.

    Saskia: sounds like old baking powder was the culprit!

  18. I just made these today after stumbling onto this recipe through google search, really easy and really good, thanx!!