My life was changed forever last night.
I discovered Swiss meringue buttercream frosting. Ridiculous.
I put off trying it for a while because, frankly, it seemed like a lot of work. No, I thought. I’ll just stick to my regular ol’ buttercream, thankyouverymuch.
I may never go back again. Yes, it’s that good. And not as hard as I thought it’d be! It, for sure, required more effort, but toootally worth it.
So here’s the story: I have approximately 10 cents in my bank account until my next payday in a week! I wanted to make some cupcakes but had to shuffle through all of my Pinterest recipes to find one that didn’t require me going to the grocery store. This proved to be more difficult than I thought, but I finally landed on this one. I was hesitant because of the frosting, but I decided to branch out. Add another thing to my repertoire, if you will. I did have to make a few changes, because of what I had on-hand, which I noted below.
Incidentally, I think these should be renamed Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes. For what it’s worth.
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes (aka Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes)
makes 24 cupcakes (I got 32 out of the recipe!)
3/4 cup strong hot coffee
3 teaspoons instant espresso powder
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder (I had 1/2 cup dark, then I used 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups brown sugar (I used 1 3/4 cup brown sugar, then 1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar blend)
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt (I used regular salt)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons mayonnaise, room temperature
5 egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with 24 cupcake liners. Whisk together the coffee, espresso powder, and cocoa in a small bowl and set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in another small bowl and set aside. Add the vanilla to the buttermilk and stir.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add in 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix well. Add half of the buttermilk mixture and mix well. Repeat, ending with the last of the flour mixture. Add the coffee mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in the mayonnaise.
Divide equally among the cupcake liners and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.
To make the frosting: Find a large saucepan big enough for the bowl of your stand mixer to set in it without touching the bottom (kind of like a double boiler). Put about 2 inches of water into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down so that the water is simmering. In your stand mixer bowl, whisk together the egg whites and sugar until blended. Place over the simmering pot and whisk constantly until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees) and the sugar is completely dissolved. Place the bowl on the stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until egg whites have increased in volume, are thick and glossy, and the outside of the bowl is warm to the touch. (This may take as long as 10 minutes, but it only took me about 5.)
Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until the egg whites have completely cooled. Increase speed to medium and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Scrape the bowl and continue to beat on medium-low until the buttercream is glossy, smooth, and thick. It will probably separate at first, but keep beating it and it will emulsify and become thick. Add the vanilla, salt, and peppermint and beat until combined. Add food coloring, if desired. Use immediately.
I’m not going to lie. I ate the frosting by the spoonful. I had to stop myself so I’d have some to frost the cupcakes with. It’s like…if you could eat Heaven…it would be like this frosting. I’m sure of it.
Make these now! (They’d be perfect for winter, but I love peppermint stuff year ’round. Certainly I’m not alone here.)