My extended family members are very traditional eaters. While I'm always wanting to try out new recipes, my mother is forever reminding me that my audience for holidays likes to stick to familiar desserts. As much as I'd love to tell her she's wrong (as daughters often do), unfortunately she's got a point. So for Christmas this year, I wanted to make something chocolate that wasn't too off the beaten path from the brownies, chocolate chip cookies, or apple pies that my family loves. These Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes have a traditional chocolate cake base and a lightly flavored peppermint vanilla buttercream frosting. They were the perfect combination of traditional and new (a new treat for them and a new frosting recipe for me!).
The chocolate cake recipe that I used is my "go-to" for chocolate cakes. It's Paula Deen's recipe and I'm so glad to be writing it out for my own record. Like all of my favorite recipes that I've found on the internet, I'm always afraid that one day I'll go to open the link, and it will have disappeared forever. I don't know what I would do without this recipe, especially! The cake is so fluffy, moist and flavorful. And somehow, I have never messed it up (knock on wood!). It's also easy to modify. I've added espresso powder to add extra richness. For this recipe, you could easily add a touch of peppermint extract too. And I've cut the recipe down to a third or two thirds before without incident. As much as I love trying out new recipes, I don't know that I will ever stray far from this chocolate cake!
Recipe (Makes approximately 30 cupcakes)
Chocolate cake recipe slightly adapted from: Paula Deen at Food Network
Frosting recipe and decoration inspiration adapted from: Sally's Baking Addiction
On Christmas night, my mom told me that these cupcakes reminded her of a cake that her family used to eat when she was a child. Granted, it was a packaged, grocery store cake, but it was a great compliment! Food can definitely bring you back and make you reminisce. I know her family didn't get the chance to indulge in too many luxuries when she was a kid, so the fact that these cupcakes brought back such a distant and happy memory was probably the best compliment I could ever get!