I wish I had some rave review or anecdote to make you want to eat these cupcakes, but I don’t.  The truth is that mint chocolate is simply not a flavor combination I enjoy.  Well, the chocolate isn’t the problem – it’s the mint that is the problem.  If you’ve been reading for a while then you’ve probably caught on to the fact that I don’t like mint.  However, I know that I’m in the minority here and that many people think the mint-chocolate combo is a wonderful thing.  This cupcake is for all of you.

Of course it was only a matter of time before this was the birthday cupcake du jour, and I’m actually a bit surprised that it wasn’t chosen sooner.  Even though I knew I wouldn’t be partaking in this particular treat, I did my best to create a combination that others would enjoy.  I used my favorite chocolate cupcake base, filled them with a mint-infused dark chocolate ganache, and topped them with a mint Swiss meringue buttercream.  Though I can’t personally attest to the final result, I did receive plenty of positive feedback from friends and coworkers.  If you are a mint chocolate lover, try them and let me know what you think!

  • Yield about 32 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¾ cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1¼ tsp. coarse salt
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2¼ cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature

For the filling:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. heavy cream
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
1-2 tbsp. creme de menthe (optional)

For the frosting:
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-3 tsp. mint extract


  • 01

    To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

  • 02

    In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar over medium heat.  Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until the butter is melted.  Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-low speed, 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled.  Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.

  • 03

    Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ of the way full.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 04

    To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl with a fine mesh strainer set over the top.  Add the cream to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate.  Let stand about 1 minute.  With a whisk, gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles.  When the ganache has become smooth, whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time until incorporated.  Whisk in the creme de menthe, if using.  Transfer the bowl to the freezer or refrigerator to chill and thicken the ganache a bit.  Whisk every 5-10 minutes to help it cool evenly.  Once the mixture is slightly thickened and no longer runny, you are ready to fill the cupcakes.

  • 05

    To assemble the cupcakes, cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake with a small paring knife.  Cut off the pointed end of the cone and discard (or eat) so you are left with a cap of cake to cover the filling.  Drop a spoonful of ganache into the center of each cupcake and recover the hole with the cap.

  • 06

    To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.

  • 07

    Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (don’t worry, it will come together!)  Stir in the mint extract and mix just until incorporated.  Tint with gel icing color as desired.

  • 08

    Add the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip (I used a large, unlabeled closed star tip).  Frost the cupcakes.  Garnish with chocolate shavings or fresh mint leaves as desired.