Hot Cocoa Peppermint Schnapps Cupcakes

Hey there and welcome to my blog!

So I know this post is wicked late for the holidays, but these cupcakes turned out to be absolutely FANTASTIC. After messing with the recipe a couple of times, I finally found the perfect combination of ingredients to capture the deliciousness that is one of my favorite holiday drinks, a steaming hot chocolate spiked with a tiny bit of peppermint schnapps.

Holidays can definitely be stressful–having family around, while great for the most part, can quickly turn into a train wreck. So if your family is hindering your ability to get on your holly-jollys, bake these cupcakes. They’re the perfect amount of nice (sugar) with a little bit of naughty (alcohol), so they’re sure to keep your spirits high.

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This photo was captured knee-deep in the snow in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, my hometown and basically the most picturesque place on the face of the planet.

The Cupcakes:
Chocolate cake
Godiva Chocolate Liqueur ganache filling
Peppermint schnapps buttercream
Crushed peppermint

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(Yes, they’re to die for.)

And here it is:

Chocolate cake (yields about 20 cupcakes):
2 1/4 C cake flour (or 2 C all purpose flour, if you don’t have cake flour)
1/3 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 C unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 2/3 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs (room temperature)
2/3 C cocoa powder
1 1/3 C cold water

Godiva Chocolate Liqueur ganache filling:
6 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 C heavy cream
4-5 tbsp Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

Peppermint schnapps buttercream:
1 C unsalted butter (room temperature)
6-7 C confectioner’s sugar
3-4 tbsp peppermint schnapps (or until it is minty to your liking)
dash of vanilla extract

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For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk and sift thoroughly into another bowl. Set aside.
3. Cream sugar, butter, and vanilla in stand mixer or with hand mixer until light and fluffy.
4. Add 3 eggs to creamed butter mixture. Beat thoroughly.
5. In another bowl, combine cocoa powder and water. Whisk until well-mixed.
6. Alternatively add flour mixture and cocoa mixture to creamed butter mixture. Mix well between each addition. Start and end with flour mixture.
7. Line a cupcake or muffin tin with paper cupcake liners (“cupcake pants,” as I like to call them).
8. Fill cupcake tins with batter (about 2/3 of the way full).
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until middle of cupcake is firm to touch.

For the ganache filling:
1. Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat.
2. Melt chocolate over double-boiler on low heat (or in microwave–heat in 10 second intervals, mixing in between, until melted thoroughly).
3. While butter and chocolate are melting, heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat.
4. Combine chocolate and butter when melted.
5. When heavy cream begins to boil, mix into chocolate and butter mixture and whisk rigorously until well-combined.
7. Add Godiva Liqueur and mix well.
8. Cover and refrigerate until solid.
9. Once solid, mix with a spoon and you’re ready to fill. (side note on filling cupcakes: I usually cut an inverted cone out of the cupcake. Basically, cut a circle into the top of the cupcake but point towards the center of the cupcake with the knife so that you’re making an upside-down cone. Pull the cone out and cut off the very top circle of it–you’ll put this cake circle back onto the cupcake after filling it).
10. Fill a pastry bag (or, for less advanced bakers, a Ziploc bag with one corner cut off) with the ganache filling, pipe the ganache into the hollowed cupcakes, and replace the top cake circles.

For the peppermint buttercream:
1. Cream butter with mixer.
2. Add all of confectioner’s sugar in 1-2 cup increments, mixing between each addition.
3. Add peppermint schnapps and vanilla extract and mix again, until the flavor is to your liking.
4. If buttercream is not stiff enough, add a small amount of confectioner’s sugar and mix well.
5. Fill a pastry bag (or Ziploc bag) with the buttercream and pipe out a generous amount of frosting in a circular motion.
6. Topped with crushed candy canes or another type of peppermint.

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen! The decadence of the hot cocoa peppermint schnapps beverage in cupcake form. Snuggle up in your blankets, watch excessive amounts of Netflix, and overindulge in chocolate. If that was an Olympic sport, I’d have the gold.

Enjoy! Peace, love, and cupcakes 🙂

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