Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

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Rich, dark chocolate cupcakes made with real hot cocoa and topped with a fluffy peppermint frosting. Sprinkled with crushed candy canes, these fun and festive cupcakes are perfect for the holidays!

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Heather Mubarak

Heather is the sweets maker, picture taker and food writer behind Browned Butter Blondie where she shares her passion for deliciously simple and indulgent baked goods. Heather’s insatiable sweet tooth inspires her to create decadent twists on everyday classics that are perfect for any occasion. Through tried and true recipes and drool worthy photos, Heather strives to be a trusted source for home bakers to get their daily fix of all things sweet - heavy on the chocolate!

12 cupcakes
Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 2 ounces Bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup All-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • ¼ cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon Baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ⅓ cup Canola (vegetable) oil
  • 1 cup C&H® Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ½ cup Sour cream (or Greek yogurt), room temperature
  • ½ cup Hot cocoa, made with hot water
Peppermint Swiss Meringue
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 1 cup C&H® Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Peppermint extract
  • 1 cup Unsalted butter, softened but still slightly cold
  • A Pinch Salt
  • ¼ cup Crushed candy canes for sprinkling
For the Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Step 2

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Carefully remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Step 3

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine well. 

Step 4

In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil and C&H® Granulated Sugar to combine. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir to combine well.  

Step 5

Stir in the melted chocolate followed by the sour cream.

Step 6

Add one half of the dry ingredients and use a large spatula to fold it into the oil and egg mixture. Add the remaining dry ingredients and continue folding to combine, stopping when a few streaks of flour remain.

Step 7

Add the hot chocolate (it should be almost boiling). Using a spatula, mix to combine until the liquid is incorporated. Do not over mix.

Step 8

The batter will be a bit thick. For best results, use a large cookie scoop or measuring cup to transfer the batter into the prepared cupcake liners. Fill each liner ⅔ full. Do not over fill.

Step 9

Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean or with a few crumbs remaining. Do not over bake. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

For the Peppermint Swiss Meringue Frosting

Step 10

Separate the eggs and add 4 egg whites to the clean mixer bowl. Make sure there are no yolks. Add the sugar to the bowl and whisk to combine.

Step 11

Whisking often, heat the eggs and sugar over a double boiler on medium heat for about 6-10 minutes, or until the mixture reaches 150°F. Carefully remove the bowl from the heat and wipe away the moisture on the bottom of the mixing bowl.

Step 12

Set the bowl on the stand mixer and whisk on high speed for 7 to 10 minutes. The meringue is ready when the bowl is cool to the touch and you can invert the whisk attachment and the meringue stays upright. If the meringue droops on the end of the whisk attachment, continue mixing for another 2 minutes and test again.

Step 13

Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter to the mixer one tablespoon at a time. Allow about 30 seconds between each addition to let the butter incorporate. Once all the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium high and beat until the meringue is smooth and fluffy.

Step 14

Add the peppermint extract and pinch of salt. Mix for one minute more. 

Assemble the Cupcakes

To assemble the cupcakes, transfer the Peppermint Swiss Meringue Frosting into a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Swirl the frosting onto the tops of the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle the tops with crushed candy canes or sprinkles.

For the double boiler: 
To make a double boiler, fill a small pot with 2 to 3 inches of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Do not boil. Top with a heat-safe bowl and add the chopped chocolate. Stirring occasionally, melt the chocolate until smooth and shiny.

For the Peppermint Swiss Meringue Frosting:
To make the Peppermint Swiss Meringue frosting, prepare your mixing bowl by wiping down the bowl and the whisk attachment with vinegar (or lemon juice). Be sure that there is no grease or fat on the bowl or whisk or the meringue will not come together properly.

If the meringue becomes soupy or curdles while mixing, continue mixing on high speed until the mixture comes back together. 

Make sure cupcakes are completely cooled before frosting.

Store cupcakes tightly covered in a cool, dry place for 3 days. May be frozen.