Happy St. Patrick’s day to you! I’ve had these on my mind for quite some time now, I’ve been plotting and scheming and planning my creme de menthe tactics, and this green-loving holiday seemed like the perfect time to make them. I’m warning you, if you are in the least bit hungry or craving anything even remotely sweet right now, don’t read any further unless you have the time to run to your kitchen and bake these right now. There is no avoiding it, you won’t be able to resist these.
I’ve had a cupcake realization – coconut milk just might be the best thing ever. While many of my cupcakes call for soymilk, including the original Rich Chocolate Cupcakes these are based on, I substituted coconut milk in this time. The result is a moist and fluffy cake, with an incredible depth of flavor. Rich and slightly nutty, but not in any way coconutty (great for those of us who aren’t particularly fond of the white stuff contaminating our truffles), there is something about the coconut milk that brings out the best in any chocolate flavor. And for these, I splurged and got some of the Special Dark cocoa powder, which explains why my cupcakes came out of the oven almost a midnight black.
The frosting is a rich and minty swirl of green mint and dark chocolate mint buttercreams, topped with an andes mint (my favorite – and the inspiration for these cupcakes). The flavor comes from Creme de Menthe flavor oil (can be purchased in an itty bitty jar here: http://www.bakeitpretty.com/item_321/Candy-Flavoring.htm), but that little jar goes a long way. A few drops of it in the frosting was more than enough minty flavor for a dozen cupcake swirls.
After eating one of these last night, Taylor and I soon realized that had it not been 9:30 at night, and had we not had a reasonable sense of self control, we just might have eaten the entire dozen right then and there. They are that good. In fact, here we are at 9:28 am on St. Patrick’s day morning, and I just might have to sneak one of these for breakfast.
Dark Chocolate Creme de Menthe Cupcakes with Buttercream Swirl
Makes 12 cupcakes.
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 Andes mints, halved on the diagonal
1 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
2 tablespoons soymilk, divided
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted
creme de menthe flavoring
green food coloring
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
Whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract and beat till foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no lumps remain (or very few remain).
Pour into liners, filling each with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
For frosting, cream butter until smooth and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add 1/2 tablespoon soymilk and mix to combine. Remove half of butter mixture to another bowl and set aside. Add 4 drops of creme de menthe extract and a few drops of green food coloring to remaining butter mixture, along with 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar. Beat until combined. Add remaining sugar 1/4 cup at a time and mix until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Spoon frosting into one half of a piping bag, set aside.
Move remaining half of butter mixture back into the mixing bowl. Slowly add melted chocolate, and beat until fluffy and incorporated, 3-5 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, a little bit at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add 3 drops creme de menthe flavoring, and more soymilk if needed. Beat until fluffy. Spoon into other half of piping bag, and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Top with halved mints and enjoy!