Mint-infused milk, along with mint extract, adds flavor (but not color) to pale buttercream; the dark chocolate cupcakes are also flavored with mint. A cluster of chocolate mint leaves on top suggests the primary flavor component of the finished treat. The leaves may admittedly not be an “any day” endeavor, but they can be prepared a day or so in advance. You can, of course, serve the cupcakes without any topping other than the frosting, or garnish them with a few chocolate curls shaved from a mint-flavored bar.
- Yield: 18
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
- ¾ cup warm water
- Mint Buttercream
- Chocolate Mint Leaves, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, extract, and the water; beat on low speed until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks to cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
- To finish, fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip with buttercream and pipe small mounds onto cupcakes; flatten top slightly with an offset spatula. Cupcakes can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature or 3 days in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and garnish with chocolate mint leaves before serving.