There’s a lot we complain about when it comes to winter.. below freezing temperatures, wind that cuts you straight to the bone, scraping inches of ice off your car windows after digging it out of 3 feet of snow.. “Oh what fun,” right? Well this year I made the choice to shift my focus to the little things you can enjoy, like baking holiday treats and watching the snow fall. I combined the two in cupcake form, creating a delicious new reason to enjoy winter some more! Moist, fluffy dark chocolate cake, airy buttercream frosting, and topped off with dark chocolate “trees” with flaked coconut for a snowy effect. These cupcakes not only look the part of a winter wonderland, but with their chocolate and pepperminty finish, they taste like it too!
(makes 1 dozen)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
2-3 Tbs flaked coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup brewed coffee
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sour cream
Peppermint Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 tsp peppermint extract*
*Feel free to add 1/4 to a 1/2 tsp more of peppermint extract, but taste test before you do. If there’s too much, the peppermint over powers the other flavors in the cupcake.
Line a large baking sheet with wax paper and set aside.
Add chocolate chips to a small saucepan over low heat. Stir every few minutes until smooth. Transfer chocolate to an icing bag with a fine tip or use an icing bottle.
Drizzle chocolate on prepared baking sheet, creating a tree shape by zig-zagging back and forth. Sprinkle a tablespoon of flaked coconut across them and place in the refrigerator or freezer to harden up.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In a medium saucepan, combine butter, coffee, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder over low-medium heat. Melt butter and whisk ingredients together until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream and egg. Slowly pour in chocolate mixture while continuously whisking together.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in wet ingredients. Stir together until just mixed and no lumps remain. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Give them about 15-20 minutes to cool completely before frosting.
While waiting on the cupcakes to bake and cool, prepare your frosting.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar a half cup at a time, scraping down the sides as needed. Beat in peppermint extract. Transfer frosting to a large icing bag and once cupcakes are completely cooled, pipe frosting on. Sprinkle remaining flaked coconut across the tops, add dark chocolate trees, and serve.
These can also be made the night before, just keep covered and refrigerated so your trees don’t wilt!
Enjoy and happy holidays!