Mint Chocolate Cupcakes with a big scoop of mint buttercream frosting on top tastes just like mint chocolate chip ice cream but without the mess of melting everywhere!

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes a scoop of mint frosting on top

Is it true? Is Sunday *really* St. Patrick’s Day? What happened?

I swore yesterday the groundhog predicted an early spring then we went from snow to spring back to snow back to spring. The flowers in Pittsburgh bloomed a month early!

Then my friend texted me that shamrock shake are back at McDonald’s.

Yes! That to me is the kickoff to all things green and mint.

Even though mint chocolate chip is acceptable all year round, I can’t help but associate it with March. Probably because most things are artificially green, making them perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.

Take these Mint Chocolate Cupcakes for example. They’re small batch chocolate cupcakes with peppermint extract.

They’re moist and delicious chocolate peppermint cupcakes from scratch without a cake mix and taste like a shamrock shake in cupcake form.

I even scooped the mint frosting on top to look like mint chocolate chip ice cream. Clever, aren’t I?

Of course you can pipe your mint buttercream on top like normal cupcakes. Nothing wrong with that.

Make them for birthdays, St. Patrick’s Day, and really any day of the week.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcake unwrapped with mint frosting

Ingredients For Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

To make your chocolate mint cupcakes, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Semisweet chocolate: Baking chocolate is made from ground cocoa nibs containing both cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Look for semisweet chocolate that is around 55% cacao.
  • All-purpose flour: I make all of my cakes with all-purpose flour, the standard flour in almost every pantry. Make sure you’re spooning it into your cup. Using the scoop and pack method means you’ll end up with more flour than directed.
  • Cocoa powder: Adds a deep chocolate flavor you cannot accomplish with baking chocolate alone. Make sure it says unsweetened.
  • Baking soda: This leavening agent is what makes your cake rise.
  • Espresso powder: Adding coffee to chocolate really brings out the chocolate flavor. Don’t worry – adding a small amount won’t make your cake taste like coffee. It’s only noticeable if you leave it out.
  • Salt: Nobody wants bland cupcakes! Salt makes sure you get as much flavor as possible out of your cake.
  • Butter: Not only does fat add flavor, butter helps the cake rise from its steam when it melts, trapping carbon dioxide in the batter as it bakes. This creates a tender crumb texture. Do not substitute margarine.
  • Granulated sugar: Sugar helps sweeten the cake.
  • Brown sugar: Because brown sugar includes molasses, it helps make the cake a little more moist than using all granulated.
  • Egg: Use 1 standard large egg that’s been brought to room temperature. Using a cold egg means the batter won’t rise as much.
  • Peppermint extract: Similar to vanilla, it’s extract made with peppermint leaves. This has a different flavor than spearmint and wintergreen, so it’s important you use one labeled peppermint. This is also not the same as peppermint oil. Oil is much more potent than extract.
  • Buttermilk: The acidity from the buttermilk is needed to activate the baking soda. If you don’t have any, substitute whole milk plus lemon juice or vinegar. I highly recommend whole milk and not low fat or skim because the extra fat helps keep the cupcakes moist.
  • Hot coffee: As mentioned, coffee enhances the chocolate flavor. If you don’t want to use coffee, substitute hot water.

Making Mint Chocolate Cake

Want to make a cake instead of cupcakes? Follow my small chocolate cake recipe, adding 1 teaspoon peppermint extract to the batter.

Mint frosting on top of mint chocolate cupcakes

How To Make Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

Here’s how to make mint chocolate chip cupcakes from scratch:

  1. Sift flour and cocoa powder then stir in baking soda, espresso powder, and salt.
  2. Cream butter and both sugars until smooth. The airiness will help your cupcakes rise with a tender crumb.
  3. Beat in egg, peppermint, and melted chocolate, scraping down your bowl as necessary.
  4. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk and coffee, adding the flour in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions (begin and end with dry ingredients).
  5. Scoop batter into your cupcake pan with paper liners.
  6. Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs (but not wet batter).

Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You don’t need to refrigerate if using a buttercream frosting, but you do need to refrigerate if using a cream cheese frosting.

Chocolate mint cupcakes with scoop of mint buttercream frosting

How To Decorate Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

As shown, I scooped mint frosting on top to look like ice cream.

Scooping does mean you use twice the amount of frosting than piping, so you’ll likely need to double the recipe if going that route.

Want to double the chocolate flavor? Make my small batch chocolate frosting, adding 1 teaspoon peppermint extract.

Chocolate cupcakes with mint buttercream frosting

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes FAQ

Can I use peppermint oil instead of peppermint extract?

Substitute 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil for 1 teaspoon peppermint extract.

Can I substitute the buttermilk?

Yes, use 1/4 cup whole milk plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice added.

Can I double this recipe?

Yes, double the ingredients then bake as directed.

More Cupcake Recipes

Love to bake cupcakes? Here are more small batch cupcake recipes to try:

For a full list of recipes, check out my Small Batch Cupcake Recipes guide.

Chocolate mint cupcakes with scoop of mint buttercream frosting

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 8 cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes with a big scoop of mint buttercream frosting on top tastes just like mint chocolate chip ice cream but without the mess of melting everywhere!


  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (or 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or whole milk with 1 teaspoon lemon juice added, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons hot coffee or water
  • 1 recipe Mint Frosting (will need to double if scooping frosting instead of piping)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cupcake pan with 8 paper liners.
  2. Add about an inch of water to a pan and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and place a heatproof bowl over top. Add the chopped chocolate and melt until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool 10 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa then stir in the baking soda, espresso powder, and salt.
  4. In a large mixing bowl (with paddle attachment if using stand mixer), beat together the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until light and creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Scrape down the bowl then beat in the egg and peppermint then beat in the melted chocolate.
  6. Mix together the buttermilk and coffee in the measuring cup.
  7. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture, adding the flour in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions (begin and end with dry ingredients).
  8. Transfer the batter to the cupcake liners, filling them halfway full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs (no wet batter). Cool for about 15 minutes then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  9. Decorate with mint frosting (get directions here). Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


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First published February 26, 2015