mint chocolate cupcakes and wooden skies.

mint chocolate cupcakes, with my absolutely favourite frosting.
 This week has been a very "little suzy homemaker" week.

Tuesday was spiced apple muffins from smitten kitchen, and as I type this homemade pizza, inspired by one of my lovely Anna magazines is in the oven.  These were Wednesday's adventure.

Although muffins are delicious and a most delightful snack they are not dessert, and will never be dessert.  Dessert has to involve copious amounts of frosting, chocolate and adorable plates and the first two were very much lacking.  I decided to fix this problem by baking my absolute favourite thing: cupcakes.  Perhaps it is the lovely swirls of frosting, the adorable petite size of them or more likely, the large quantities of delicious buttercream, but I absolutely adore them.

I have been waiting for a while to bake these, the peppermint extract that I made is finally ready, and my mint plant is somewhat selfishly taking over its allotted space in my garden.  So obviously this was the first logical thing to do! 

The last time I made these was the past fall, during a somewhat terrible week turned wonderful when The Wooden Sky happened to be playing in the city.  That week became wonderful mostly due to the fact that I adore both cupcakes and The Wooden Sky and the combination is even more fantastic.


the mint extract! the mint extract! hanging out
with our lovely bunny cookie cutter that just happened to be around.

the dry ingredients.  Martha Stewart would be ashamed I didn't sift the cocoa powder.
add all the wet ingredients and mix until it looks chocolately and delicious.
fill baking cups approximately 2/3 full.  (note that they are way more full, this is a reoccurring issue.)
beautiful and awaiting their lovely frosted tops!
the much used, much loved frosting recipe. 

the lovely garden mint gets folded into the buttercream.
This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart, who I shameless admit was my childhood role model.  I realize other children probably had Barbie, the Spice Girls and/or a variety of superheros but I had Martha.  That probably explains a lot.

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes
modified from the much adored martha stewart

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I love the Dutch!)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk (if you happen be like me and enjoy baking on a whim with a very empty kitchen you can make your own buttermilk by adding between 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar to some milk and letting it sit for a minute to thicken!)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoons pure peppermint extract

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder (sift this first to make extra-smooth batter!), sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Add in eggs, one at a time, making sure they are thoroughly incorporated before adding the oil and water.  Add in the peppermint last.  This creates a very liquidy batter, don't be frightened, it will bake into beautiful, moist cupcakes soon!

Taste the batter.  If it isn't minty enough add a bit more extract.

Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and fill 2/3 of the way full.  Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.  Let cool while whipping up your gorgeous buttercream!  Makes 15 or so, again I tend to fill the cupcakes a bit higher than directed.

Mint Buttercream
my most favourite frosting recipe.

1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 milk
1/4 mint leaves, finely chopped

Whisk together dry ingredients.  Add the butter.  Pour in the milk a bit at a time and beat until fluffy and a bit shiny, about 3-5 minutes in a stand mixer.  Sprinkle in the finely chopped mint and carefully fold in.

Frost cupcakes to your heart's content with an offset spatula!  If you would like to create whimsical swirls of piped icing, I suggest doubling the recipe above, otherwise you will have very small swirls.

delectable looking cupcakes waiting innocently to be devoured.
Arrange on your loveliest little cake stand and eat while nostalgically wishing The Wooden Sky would come back to the city and being very glad that you still have a decent chunk of time until you have to start thinking about school.

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