Chocolate Candy Cane Cupcakes
Updated: Dec 13, 2020
The perfect Christmas dessert. Lots of pictures!
I love a good cupcake, and a peppermint chocolate cupcake with actual candy cane chunks and little chocolate Christmas trees!? Sign. Me. Up.
If you follow me on Instagram you know that I crunch up a candy canes and melt it in my homemade mocha. It's delicious. The perfect amount of peppermint without being overpowering.
Being that it's Christmas time, anything peppermint fits in perfectly with pretty much every setting.
These little cuties are super easy, and I have a few tips to make them extra moist (terrible word, great cupcake texture). The candy cane crunch, and festive little trees on top make it the perfect holiday dessert.
*Click any photo below to enlarge.
I was given a trick from a friend a few years ago that will literally makes the softest cake no matter what recipe you use. Her tip, along with a few of my own make even the easiest box cakes, taste like you got them at a bakery. But there's no bakery. It's just you. Killing it in the kitchen.
This alteration works with any type, flavor, or brand of cake. You're going to follow the recipe as far as the eggs go but substitute the oil for melted butter, and water for milk. Use exact measurements for both substitutions. If it calls for 1/4 cup of oil, add 1/4 cup of melted butter and so on.
The secret ingredient here is mayonnaise. You hate mayo? Join the club. I swear on the life of my cat you won't be able to taste it. I've served this to many mayo haters and they cannot taste it, even though they try. The mayo simply adds a richer flavor because of its ingredients. I don't have a specific measurement for this, just get a spoon and give the batter a big scoop. See second photo above.
Mix this magical recipe together until its smooth, and then fill your cupcake liners 3/4 full and follow the baking instructions in your recipe.
I find that peppermint is one of those flavors that is SUPER specific for people. Some just like a hint of it, others really want to clear their sinuses with it. Using candy canes seems to be just the right amount of peppermint for everyone.
If you have a food processor you can put these babies in there and have them mashed up in no time. I was feeling lazy and my food processor takes forever to clean so I decided to take the long lazy way and put the entire box of unwrapped candy canes in a ziplock bag and beat the life out of them.
I left them with a mix of finer pieces and little chunks because I really wanted the festive candy cane colors and patterns to show.
This is one of those details that literally makes this simple dessert look like you are Martha Stewart. These take little to no skill, but add so much magic to these cupcakes. My toddler literally asked if she could just sit and look at them. I'm not even kidding.
First, lay wax or parchment paper over a cookie sheet.
Next, you are going to melt semi sweet chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds so you don't burn the chocolate. Yes, you can burn chocolate in the microwave...don't ask me how I know this. Once melted all the way through, spoon or pour it into a piping bag. If you don't have one on hand, you can literally use a ziplock bag.
Cut the very teeny tip off the end (start small, and give it a squeeze to test the thickness) cut more if you need to. You for sure want these to be thick enough that they don't break into a bunch of pieces when you go to pick them up.
Super simple. Draw a straight chocolate line, then zig zag top to bottom. Start small and end up wider at the base....like a tree. Keep the size of the cupcake in mind here. Let's not stick a 12 inch chocolate tree on top of our four inch cupcake.
I decided each cupcake would get three trees so I made a bunch in all sizes so I could stagger them on top of each cupcake. Every so often I piped a little star on top because it just felt right. If you wanted to get SUPER fancy here, you could gently put colored nonpareils (those little sprinkles that are in the shape of balls) on the limbs of your trees while the chocolate is still melty. Or once the chocolate hardens, you could dust the trees with colored Luster Dust.
Put your tray in the freezer and let these little guys harden.
For frosting, I use Betty Crocker. Listen to me, I've tried many frosting recipes but this is what I like.
Once the cupcakes are cooked, let them cool completely before frosting.
I put my frosting into a piping bag and attached this 8 point star tip. Typically I do three larger stars, some medium ones and then fill in the rest of the cupcake top with little ones. I like the dimension the three shapes create.
It's around this point in the process that people start to sniff around. It's good to have a decoy cupcake on hand for such instances.
Now that they are all frosted, gently roll them on their sides through the candy cane pieces.
Lastly, arrange your little trees however you like. I did a larger tree in the back, and two smaller trees in front of it on either side.
That's it! You did great! How cute are they!?
If you made these I would LOVE to see them. Send me an email to email@example.com and don't forget to sign up for my newsletter below!