Belated Birthday Decadence

My husband's birthday landed right in the middle of my recovery from foot surgery. I couldn't cook. Heck, I couldn't stand! So we celebrated with pizza and some very nice European shortbread cookies, but it felt like cheating. You see, I love baking and I really love baking for loved ones. So I decided I'd get around to birthday treats once I was back on my feet. Better late than never, right?

You can say that again! This week, March began with Mint Mocha Cupcakes as a special treat for him. He loves chocolate and mint and these cupcakes are loaded with both of them. If you don't have a birthday -- belated or otherwise -- to celebrate, never fear. They are also perfect St. Patrick's Day treats. Whatever the excuse, er … reason, you and yours will love these great cupcakes! Enjoy.

Mint Mocha Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon mocha hot chocolate mix (or instant coffee mix or hot cocoa mix)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peppermint extract
  • Food coloring, if desired
  • Nutella, for filling
  • Dark chocolate, for grating

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.

Measure the flour, sugar, cocoa, oil, eggs, sour cream, baking powder, soda, and salt into a mixing bowl. Dissolve the mocha hot chocolate mix in the hot water, and add to the mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes until smooth; the batter will be thin. Fill the paper liners 2/3 full.

Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until an inserted wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar until the mixture takes on the consistency of frosting. Add the peppermint extract and beat until smooth. If desired, add green food coloring to give the frosting a light green color.

To assemble the cupcakes, remove a small bit of the top of each cupcake using a melon baller. Fill the hole with Nutella and carefully spread the frosting over the top of the cupcake and Nutella, covering generously and completely. Grate a little dark chocolate over the top of the frosted cupcakes. Store the finished cupcakes in the refrigerator.

  • Yields: 24 cupcakes
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

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