Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

I'm a little bit obsessed with Costa's Christmas menu, but then again, aren't we all. I'm an absolute sucker for the mint hot chocolate and so this bake was inspired by them. Plus, peppermint is a classic Christmas flavour, and chocolate and mint just works no matter what. These little guys are super easy to make and taste absolutely gorgeous, so I'd definitely recommend giving them a go!

If you aren't a huge fan of mint, no need to worry! You can hold off on the crazy decorations that I went for, and just stick with a chocolate cupcake and peppermint buttercream. Or if that's still too much for you, can could totally skip putting peppermint in the buttercream and use vanilla instead for a traditional favourite. It's a very versatile recipe with lots of room for customisation, so you can really tailor it to your liking. You could also decorate it much more simply with festive sprinkles or edible glitter!

You will need:
300g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
120g self-raising
30g cocoa powder
Half teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
250g icing sugar
Teaspoon peppermint extract
Semi-skimmed milk (optional)
100g milk chocolate
12 candy canes
Mini marshmallows

  1. Preheat your oven to 190c/160c fan and line a muffin tray with cases.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the caster sugar and 150g of butter until it's smooth and light. Beat in the eggs gradually until the mixture is combined.
  3. Sieve over the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, before gently folding them in. This should make your mixture quite thick, but try to be as gentle as possible!
  4. Spoon the mixture into the cases so that they're about two thirds full. 12 cases should be enough! Bake in the oven for around 18-20 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before turning them out on to a wire rack to completely cool.
  5. Whilst they're cooling, you can make your buttercream. Beat the remaining 150g of butter in a large bowl to soften it up. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat each time to prevent being smothered in an icing sugar cloud. Add in the peppermint extract and beat, and a splash of semi-skimmed milk if the mixture is too thick.
  6. Melt your milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Whilst it's melting, cut your candy canes in half so you're left with a curved part and a stick. Place your sticks into a frezzer bag and smash them up to into smaller shards and dust.
  7. Once your cakes have cooled, pipe your icing on top. Drizzle over your milk chocolate, sprinkle over the crushed candy canes and add marshmallows. Stick a piece of curved candy cane into the icing and down into the cake to finish them off.
These cupcakes are gorgeously light and soft with a beautiful chocolate flavour, which contrasts with the fresh peppermint flavour so perfectly. It would be the ideal treat for this time of year, and they would look perfect as a party centrepiece! Thank you Costa for inspiring this bake - I had so much fun creating and making them!

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