Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Embrace the holiday season with these festive chocolate peppermint cupcakes. They’re topped with ganache, peppermint buttercream and crushed candy cane.

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes |

I absolutely love making cupcakes, but it’s not something I get to do very often. We have a small family, so eating an entire batch is almost impossible. That all changes when the holidays roll around. Suddenly we have a long list of friends and neighbors to deliver treats to. These chocolate peppermint cupcakes are something different, not your standard sugar cookies, fudge or nut clusters. They were the perfect addition to our goodie boxes.

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes |

I used my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe for the base (although a boxed mix would work too). As the cupcakes were cooling, I made the ganache- it’s all done in the microwave. After spreading a thick layer of ganache over top, I got to work whipping up a batch of peppermint buttercream. To make the candy cane swirl, I grabbed a extra large piping bag fitted with a large tip, a toothpick, and red gel food coloring. Using the toothpick, I swirled the gel in the bag, then filled it with frosting. The fun swirl appeared as the frosting was pipped on. Such a fun little trick, don’t you think?

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes |

All that was left to do was add a pinch of crushed candy cane on top. These chocolate peppermint cupcakes would be a great party treat or neighbor gift. They’re decadent yet refreshing!

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes |

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes Recipe

Embrace the holiday season with these festive chocolate peppermint cupcakes. They're topped with ganache, peppermint buttercream and crushed candy cane.
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Course: Cupcakes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 38 mins
Cook Time: 22 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Servings: 18 cupcakes
Calories: 518kcal
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For the Cupcakes
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter - melted
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil - OR canola oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate - melted
  • 2 eggs - room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks - room temperature
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder - sifted*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sour cream - OR buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tsp expresso powder
For the Ganache
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
For the Peppermint Frosting
  • 1 cup butter - room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • pinch salt
  • 4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp heavy cream
  • red gel food coloring
  • 1/4 cup candy cane - crushed


For the Cupcakes
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard size cupcake pans with 18 liners, set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, oil, sugars, vanilla extract and melted chocolate until smooth. With mixing speed on low, add the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sifted cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. With mixing speed on low, gradually add the dry ingredients along with the sour cream (or buttermilk) and the warm water/espresso mixture. Mix just until combined. Allow the batter to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Divide batter evenly among cups, filling ⅔ of the way full (I like to use a large scoop, a #20). Place in the oven and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched and a cake tester comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake! Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Ganache
  • In a 2 c. glass measuring cup, combine chocolate chips and heavy cream. Microwave on half powder (mine is usually power 10, so I did 5) for one minute, stir, then repeat. Stir chocolate until all of the chips are melted and it becomes smooth. Beat for 1 minute and then spoon over the cupcakes.
For the Peppermint Frosting
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter until smooth, about 1 minute. With mixing speed on low, add the vanilla extract, peppermint extract, salt, and powdered sugar. The mixture will look clumpy, that's ok. Add the heavy cream and gradually increase mixing speed to high. Beat for 2-3 minutes or until the frosting is light and fluffy. Remove and place into a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip, swirled with red gel food coloring (just take a tooth pick and swirl it all around inside the bag, it'll look like a mess but it works), pipe onto the cupcakes. Sprinkle with crushed candy cane.


-Feel free to use your favorite chocolate boxed mix for the base of this recipe.


Serving: 18g | Calories: 518kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 215mg | Potassium: 152mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 639IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg

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Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes |




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About the Author


Wife, mother, baker and photographer. Recipe developer & author of Life Made Simple. A self-professed peanut butter lover and fond of anything that involves pumpkin, cookie dough, or sprinkles

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  1. I tried your swirl technique with the frosting and colored gel and the swirl faded out far too fast. I got maybe 3 – 4 cupcakes out of a dozen. Maybe using a food dye with a decorating brush would work better and last longer?