I tried two different things: one batch with bits of the Peppermint Bark I made earlier sprinkled on the top of the cakes and another without. One thing I've learned is that white chocolate does NOT bake well. It gets all gunky and brown and it's not real chocolate so I don't know what's going on with it. They tasted fine; there was a crunchy-but-not texture to the top. But I'm a traditionalist and I ended up enjoying the plain cake-with-peppermint-icing ones better. It was important to leave the cake unflavored as I used peppermint oil again and it was very crisp and sharp. The icing is flavored and the cake wonderfully takes the edge off so the whole thing goes together well.
Also to note? The peppermint pieces sprinkled on top go all melty and watery the next day so frost and sprinkle at the last minute if possible (OR frost and sprinkle and then freeze). In case you're wondering, I just threw some candy canes in a double bagged baggie and went to smashing with the edge of a can.
(Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home)
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup good cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it’s completely blended.
Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Adapted from Ooh You Tasty Little Things
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil (less if desired; use to taste)
Mix butter in a large mixing bowl with 4 cups of sugar. Add cream and peppermint oil. On medium speed of electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. Chill for about 15 minutes in the refrigerator before using, and only use to ice cold cupcakes.