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Chocolate Cupcakes with Fluffy Peppermint Frosting

chocolate cupcakesIt’s always the season for cupcakes – I took my favorite recipe and put a peppermint twist on it by adding mint extract to the fluffy seven-minute frosting, which paired perfectly with the moist chocolate cakes underneath. If you like, poke a mini candy cane into the top.

Seven-minute frosting is an old recipe; it’s made using egg whites, sugar and corn syrup beaten in a double boiler (or glass or stainless steel bowl set over a pot of simmering water) for seven minutes, until thick and meringue-like. It’s wonderful and marshmallowy, not heavy and greasy like many butter and shortening-based frostings. It also takes on colors well – try dripping some red food coloring into the finished frosting to create a dramatic pepperminty swirled effect.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Fluffy Peppermint Frosting

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, or half all-purpose, half whole wheat
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup strong coffee (I mix together instant decaf)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt, breaking up any lumps of brown sugar and cocoa.

Add the milk, oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine; add the coffee and stir until well blended and smooth.

Divide the batter among the cups and bake them for 20-25 until the tops are springy to the touch. Tip the cupcakes in their tins to allow the steam to release, and cool completely before you frost them. Makes 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes.

Seven Minute Frosting

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. light or golden corn syrup
1/3 cup water
2 large egg whites
1 tsp. mint or other flavored extract

In the top of a double boiler or in a clean stainless steel bowl set over a pot of simmering water, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and egg whites. Make sure the simmering water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl or double boiler you only need an inch or two of water in the pot. Beat the sugar mixture with an electric mixer on high speed for about 7 minutes, until it stands in billowy peaks. Remove it from the heat and beat in the peppermint extract.

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