Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

If Thin Mints were cupcakes, they would be these. Dark chocolate, minty, cakey cupcakes.

Cupcake recipe is adapted from a Cook's Illustrated recipe for dark chocolate cupcakes. If you would like to frost the cupcakes, I've included two recipes for a mint-flavored frosting. The butter cream version is quite sweet, the cream cheese version is a little less sweet and has a tang from the cream cheese.

  • Yield: Makes 12 cupcakes.

Ingredients

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mint extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Optional Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

  • 8 Tbsp butter, room temperature (1 stick, 4 ounces)
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Optional Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 Tbps butter, room temperature (1/2 stick, 2 ounces)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
  • Fresh mint for garnish

Method

Cupcakes

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a muffin tin by lining it with cupcake liners. Use a double boiler or add an inch or two of water to a medium sized saucepan and place a metal bowl over it, bringing the water to a simmer. Add butter (cut into chunks), chocolate, cocoa to the bowl. As the butter and chocolate melt, whisk until the ingredients are well combined and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to touch.

2 In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

3 In a large bowl (can use a mixer), beat the eggs. Add the salt, the sugar, the mint extract and beat until well combined. Slowly add in the chocolate butter mixture and beat until combined.

4 Add in half of the sifted flour mixture, mix to combine. Mix in the sour cream. Mix in the remaining flour mixture.

5 Spoon the batter evenly into the lined muffin cups. Place in oven in middle rack. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

6 Let cool in muffin tin on a rack for 15 minutes. Then gently remove cupcakes from the tin and let cool completely before frosting.

Use frosting of choice, flavored with a little mint extract. Garnish with a little fresh mint. Recipes for simple butter cream or cream cheese frosting follow.

Frosting

1 In an electric mixer, beat the butter (if making buttercream) or butter and cream cheese (if making cream cheese frosting) at medium speed until creamy. Beat in milk (if making buttercream) and mint extract.

2 Slowly add in the powdered sugar on low speed, stopping every now and then to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until light and fluffy. Taste and add more mint extract if it isn't minty enough for you, or powdered sugar if it isn't sweet enough for you.

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Comments

  1. Bittermelon

    This is just too perfectly timed. I’m making chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for my son’s birthday later this week and you’ve provided me with a recipe just in time.

    I was also wondering if you have a brand of mint extract you’d recommend. I’ve tried some which are plain awful and I’d hate to ruin another cake experimenting. It ain’t cheap.

    Thanks!

    I think I’m just using McCormick’s. ~Elise

  2. Garrett

    As one who was there for the eating of these cupcakes, allow me to address that these are phenomenal. Elise and I literally were licking the batter out of the bowl.

    We were licking the batter out of the bowl! Got chocolate all over our faces like little kids. :-) Elise

  3. Gira

    Hi Elise, do you think I could sub more regular chocolate for the cocoa?

    I have no idea. I was wondering the same thing and searched far and wide around the Internet to see if I could find a clue but came up empty. If there are any experienced bakers out there who could shed some light on this, please chime in! ~Elise

  4. Irene

    As one who doesn’t really care for the taste of powdered cocoa in her chocolate recipes, be it brownies or cake, I found the following substitutions helpful, and they work in reverse as well:

    Chocolate – 1 ounce= 3 tablespoon cocoa + 1 tablespoon shortening
    Chocolate chips – 1 ounce = 1 ounce sweet cooking semi-sweet chocolate
    Chocolate – 1 ounce = 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa plus 1 tablespoons fat
    Cocoa – 1/4 cup = 1 ounce chocolate and omit 1/2 tablespoon fat

  5. CAROLYNK

    Try mint ganache on simple chocolate eupcakes. Use a little Creme de Menthe in the ganache or your mint extract. Quite exquisite.

  6. Rick Levine

    Elise, if you’re up for a more delicate mint flavor, you could try using heavy cream instead of sour cream, and infusing it with mint. We create great mint truffles by boiling cream, infusing mint for 15 minutes, and then straining. Might need to adjust the soda/powder combo lacking the sour cream, or maybe use infused buttermilk? Also, adding a touch of cinnamon can help reinforce flagging mint, as the cinnamon masquerades as menthol to our palates in small doses.

    Great suggestions, thank you! ~Elise

  7. woodley park-zoo

    I once made some form of chocolate cake with a mint chocolate ganache… I remember it involving chopping bunches of mint, boiling it in cream and then straining the cream (which was then very minty.) Not sure how you would be able to work the cream into a cupcake recipe. What if you made a mint butter?

  8. Kate

    I think spearmint is a more delicate flavour and finds it harder to stand up to the taste punch of chocolate. I think spearmint and cream. Maybe milk chocolate. Maybe a milk chocolate and spearmint ice cream? Or a spearmint ice cream with a milk chocolate ribbon? Or milk chocolate shavings. So it’s just a little chocolate. Make it Elise! I hate making ice cream.

    The cupcakes look delicious as they are, though.

    Maybe that’s the issue then. Even if I can figure it out, spearmint just might not be the right mint for the job in chocolate cake. I do have a fresh mint chocolate chip ice cream made with garden spearmint if you are looking for one. Totally love it. ~Elise

  9. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    A perfect cupcake for Girl Scout Cookie season! I have lots of spearmint in my garden in the summer, and find it tough to incorporate into anything except drinks without the mint overpowering everything around it. I’ve had better luck letting the mint leaves soak in a simple syrup for 24 hours, then straining and using the mint-flavored syrup in ice cream and fruit salad.

  10. Sara

    I (gasp) actually made this recipe without the mint! I’m sure it wasn’t nearly as good as the “Girl Scout” version, but hey, it was my daughter’s naptime and I used up my mint extract last week! No store run today, but I did mix a healthy dose of green colored sugar in the cream cheese frosting in honor of St. Patrick’s Day!

    Even without the mint, though, these cupcakes were great! Very moist, and just the perfect level of sweetness. Will definitely make again after I get to the store to restock my mint! :-)

  11. Karivery

    Perfect timing! I saw this recipe yesterday and made them this morning for a friend at work’s birthday! They are fabulous!

  12. Liz

    These look AWESOME! The spearmint discussion is very interesting, because I had a mint-related snafu this week. I made some mint chocolate brownies for St. Paddy’s Day, and the grocery store had both “mint” extract and “peppermint” extract. I chose the mint (pretty much randomly) and was NOT a fan of the result– the mint was spearmint and made the brownies taste like mouthwash! Peppermint would have been far better… more Thin Mint, less Scope.

    Lesson learned– it just stinks that the tiny bottle of icky spearmint extract was $6.00. =(

  13. Stephanie

    Mmmm… these look fab! As far as the spearmint goes, why not use it with a lemon cake? I love lemon and mint together in a bundt cake with a simple glaze, and I bet the spearmint would be wonderful!

    Now that’s an idea, thanks! ~Elise

  14. Amy

    I made these yesterday and my husband went wild over them! I *accidentally* put in too much peppermint extract and powdered sugar in the frosting, but it was still fantastic. I’ve never made cupcakes from scratch before, but they turned out great and it was so easy. After melting the chocolate, cocoa, and butter together it was sorely tempting to just pour it in warmed milk and have hot chocolate, but we persevered and absolutely LOVE the result! Made half the buttercream frosting green for a belated St. Patty’s day celebration and enjoyed every bit of it.

  15. Alice

    Stop reading these comments and go make these cupcakes. These are divine. They are melt-in-you-mouth tender and minty, chocolately delicious.

    Another Elise recipe homerun.

  16. Amy

    I made these this weekend and while they were super yummy (as is everything on this site) mine were kind of dense and dry. What could I have done wrong?! I’m definitely going to make them again, but I was hoping they’d be moister (is that a word?) Other commentors said they were so it must be something I did.

    Use room temp eggs. Make sure your baking powder is fresh (less than 6 months old, if older throw out and get new). Don’t over mix batter. Work fast and get cupcakes into oven as soon as you get the batter mixed. Test for doneness at 15 minutes, as your oven may be running hot. ~Elise

  17. susan

    I made these last night and they do not disappoint! I used peppermint extract and the buttercream frosting. I will be making them again and next time will give the creme cheese frosting a go.

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  18. Tory

    Process the spearmint leaves to a pesto consistency and blend in to the buttercream or cream cheese mixture. Add a drop of green food coloring for a hint of green and then it wou’t look like dip, but pale green frosting with green “chips” :)

  19. Rocqui

    Hi Elise,

    I recently made some mint jelly and discovered I made a bit much. When I saw your recipe for Chocolate Mint Cupcakes, I became more interested and after reading the ingredients and instructions, became more excited and decided that this is a Must Do. I really enjoyed making them and my family experienced something new and different and loved it. I decided to add something special and fill the center of the cupcake with mint jelly and was a hit. Thank you for sharing.

    Rocqui

    Oh, what a great idea, thanks! ~Elise

  20. Monique

    Anything that resembles a peppermint patty or thin mint gets my vote! I made this recipe and I used cake flour thinking it would make them velvety. Instead the cake flour made them dense and almost mealy. FYI use regular flour! I also grabbed a bottle of McCormick’s Pure Mint extract and much to my dismay, their “Mint” is spearmint, not peppermint. Sadly, I was already in the throws of mixing up the batter so I used it anyway. Yech! I went back to the store and noticed that McCormick’s does have peppermint extract and it is labeled “Peppermint,” so make sure you don’t just grab a bottle of “Mint,” or you’ll end up with a really funky tasting cupcake! I have not remade these with the peppermint yet as I have a bag of organic carrots in the fridge and Elise’s Carrot Cake recipe with pineapple and coconut looks mighty fine. And I still have cream cheese left over for the frosting from the cupcakes!

  21. Carol

    I made these last night; they are thin-minty delicious as promised. I used a 2 oz. Dagobo Rosemary-Mint dark chocolate bar and super dark cocoa; my cupcakes are a beautiful pitch black. I only had enough extract for the batter, so for the frosting I pulverized a candy cane and dissolved the fragments in the milk. My buttercream came out smooth, minty and a lovely shade of pale pink. I also think these, like most bundt cakes, are even better the next day. Thank you Elise!

  22. Nourhan Kay.

    Thank you so much for this recipe! All of the other chocolate mint recipes required actual chocolate mints, which I cannot get, and this recipe seemed perfect.
    My friend is a HUGE fan of chocolate mints, and she absolutely loved this when I made it for her birthday. They even turned out looking adorable! Thanks again! :)

  23. Sportsgirl

    Thanks for this recipe. I made it today for a party and they were very well received. I looooove choc mint recipes – rich but refreshing. I used pure peppermint essential oil instead of the extract and it was wonderful.

  24. ruen

    Thanks to everyone who mentioned that McCormick’s mint extract isn’t peppermint extract! I was uncapping the bottle to measure out the ingredient when I remembered reading those comments–just in the nick of time. These cupcakes came out extremely moist and tender–almost *too* tender; even after spraying the muffin pan, I still had to use a knife to get the suckers out. Be forewarned: use muffin tins or risk decapitating your little creations.

  25. Stacey

    Delicious cupcakes! Made a batch for a friend’s birthday. This being the first time I’ve ever made cupcakes, I made the mistake of overfilling the cups. I was using individual foil-lined baking cups, didn’t realize how much these guys rise, and completely missed the part about spooning the batter “evenly”! Got about 10 and 1/2 of them filled and assumed my tins were just bigger than normal. So of course I ended up with one normal cupcake, and 10 totally funky-shaped cupcakes :). Haven’t gotten to frosting them yet, but from nibbling on the little bits that fell off the overflowing ones, I can already tell these will be awesome. I might even make a second batch of normal-shaped ones to give away. I’m sure I can easily make the first batch disappear… into my stomach, that is. Thanks so much for this recipe!

  26. Lizzy

    HELP! I made these tonight– I used “Simply Organic Peppermint Flavor” as opposed to mint extract. I’m thinking that was a big mistake: the mint is OVERPOWERING and disgusting. I can’t even taste the chocolate bc all I can taste and smell is mint. I only baked half the batter, and still have half left. Is there any way of salvaging this? Adding milk or vanilla yogurt maybe? ugh :(

  27. Eva

    Alright, I need some help here. I made these tonight and tasted the batter before baking. It was delicious!! I was so excited about these cupcakes after reading all the reviews. I baked the cupcakes exactly as directed and when I pulled them out of the oven, the middles were saggy. :( Rather than rising in the middle, the middles drooped lower than the pan. I’ve had this happen once before with a different cupcake recipe. What might I be doing wrong?

    Great question, I have no idea. Anyone else with a suggestion, feel free to chime in. ~Elise

  28. Theresa

    I made these for my wedding, froze them for a week before and they were FANTASTIC! The hit of the night. I also made lemon and red velvet cupcakes with lemon and cream cheese icing respectively. These were good but the chocolate ones were the first to go. I wish I had made more (cause they were the easiest to make out of the three–tough to screw up).

    Also, EAT THEM FROZEN with chocolate butter icing on them. Oh dear, dear God…how yummy art thou’s creations!

  29. berries

    can’t try these as of now, but i agree with liz. i chose mint extract over peppermint and it was a terrible waste. couldn’t use the rest of the bottle and ruined my batch. what a disappointment. i just bought some peppermint extract, so can’t wait to try these

  30. Stephanie

    I made these last night for a co-worker’s birthday, and took them to work to share with everyone today. I made them without any mint (as we have someone with a severe mint allergy at my work), and EVERYONE LOVED THEM!!! *Especially the sour-cream frosting. I can’t wait to make these again. Deeeeee-licious! :o)

  31. Theresa

    Attention all people with muffins that sag in the middle! The same happened to me so I Googled it, and found it could be a few different things:
    1. the oven temperature is too hot
    2. over-beating the batter
    3. over-filling the cups/liners (should be 2/3 full before baking)
    4. underbaking
    Even though I cook a lot, I am a very inexperienced baker, and I think I probably did get overzealous with the mixer. BUT…these cupcakes were still the perfect balance of mint and chocolate, and very moist! I made the cream cheese frosting and used McCormick’s peppermint extract, turned out fantastic! I will try to make a proper dome-top batch next time ;-)

  32. Corina

    These cupcakes are AMAZING & come out just as fabulous everytime!! I just love the luxurious creaminess of the mixture & the cupcake is the best I have ever tasted – thank you SO much for sharing! :)) I accidentally used Self Raising flour the first time instead of plain flour but still with the baking powder & baking soda, & the result was so deliciously light & fluffy I do this everytime now! :) For any Australian readers, 1 tspn Queen’s Peppermint Essence is just perfect in the cupcakes, and I cook 15min @ 170C fan forced. Thanks again Elise! :D

  33. Chelsea

    I made these last night and they were absolutely delightful :) I dyed the buttercream with one drop of green food coloring and it turned out to be a beautiful mint color. A wonderful cupcake :)

  34. Sandra

    hi elise! we have so much mint growing in our garden, and i’d really like to try baking these or anything really, with it, and i don’t know how exactly you’d get the flavor from the leaf into something you could use for the cupcake. i’m not an experienced baker, but i cook all the time, and i’m using the summer to “hone my skill”. :) anyone have any suggestions? maybe boil the leaves in milk or water or something…? thanks! :)

    I would recommend either making mint tea with your mint (put leaves, not stems, into a tea pot, cover with boiling water, let seep for 5 minutes), or mint ice cream. My attempts to bake with garden mint didn’t turn out that well. ~Elise

  35. Jenny

    Hi Elise,

    I was wondering how to replace the Dutch processed cocoa with natural processed cocoa because that is all I have. Thanks!

    Check out David Lebovitz’s post on Cocoa powder FAQ: Dutch-process and natural cocoa powder. I’m guessing that a straight substitution in this recipe will work. ~Elise

  36. Aileen

    I didn’t want to go out and buy a whole bottle of peppermint extract, so made these with vanilla extract instead and they were absolutely delicious – very chocolatey and moist! Can’t wait to try them with the peppermint extract now. Thank you so much for another great recipe! I can always count on your website for yummy treats!