Spread some holiday cheer with these pretty white chocolate peppermint cupcakes! A moist and sweet vanilla peppermint cake is filled with soft white chocolate fudge and topped with candy cane swirled buttercream. They’re the perfect balance of sweet and rich but light and bright. The recipe is also naturally eggless which makes the cakes extra moist!
Tips for making eggless vanilla cupcakes
I found the secret to moist but delicate cupcakes is to omit the eggs. It adds a lightness to the texture and you no longer have to worry about any eggy flavor sneaking in to your cakes. This cake is also oil-based, making it extra moist! Here are a few tips to make sure your cakes turn out just right:
- Properly measure the flour – I say this in every post, and for good reason. It’s the number one reason why most recipes fail. If there’s too much flour, the cakes will turn out dry and crumbly. If you can, measure the flour with a food scale. Otherwise, to ensure you use the exact amount needed, gently spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level if off with a flat edge. If you scoop directly into the flour container, it packs it down into the cup which could leave you with 1/4 cup or more of added flour.
- Don’t over mix – When combining the wet and dry ingredients, take it slow and mix just until the flour is fully absorbed. If there are a few lumps in the batter, that’s OK. Over mixing will leave you with a tough and tight texture rather than a light and fluffy cupcake.
- Use all the batter – When filling the cupcakes, use up all the batter but make sure to disperse is as evenly as possible. Each cupcake should be filled about 3/4 full.
- Watch the edges – Near the end of the bake time, watch the cupcakes to make sure the edges don’t brown. This won’t necessarily do anything to the cake itself, but having a white cake looks much better against the white and red swirled frosting.
How to pipe two-tone buttercream
The real star of the show is the candy cane swirled frosting on top. But if you’ve never piped on two-toned frosting, don’t worry because it’s very easy! There are also a couple ways you can do it:
Option 1: Plastic Wrap – I like this option because it’s not as messy and ensures the two frosting sit side-by-side inside the piping bag. Although the only downside is that sometimes they can be too large for the piping bag itself. So if you know you’ll be using a large piping bag to frosting these cupcakes, I recommend this method. Once the buttercream is split in half and dyed, spread the buttercream on two separate sheets of plastic wrap. One red, one white. Wrap up the plastic wrap and twist the ends like a sausage (see photo below). Then, slide the two logs of buttercream side-by-side into a piping bag fitted with a large piping tip. Pull the two twisted ends of plastic wrap through the piping tip and snip it off. Now the two frostings are side-by-side and ready to pipe.
Option 2: Piping Bags – Rather than plastic wrap, add the frosting to two separate piping bags: one for the red buttercream and one for the white. Snip off the ends. Now fit another piping bag with a large star tip and place it into a large jar, wrapping the ends of the bag around the lip of the jar. Squeeze the red and white buttercream into the piping bag side-by-side. I like this method because you have more control over how much buttercream you add to the piping bag. Then, when you run out, you can just simply squeeze more of the buttercream into the piping bag and continue to frost the cupcakes.
What to look for when making the white chocolate filling
The white chocolate fudge is made up of two ingredients: white chocolate and heavy cream. The heavy cream is heated and poured over the chopped chocolate. Then the two are mixed together to form a thin liquid.
It’s VERY important that you do not pour the white chocolate into the cupcakes when it is in liquid form. It will seep into all the air pockets and eventually, the center of the cupcake will become hollow and void of any filling.
Instead, place the mixture into the refrigerator in a wide and shallow dish. Chilling it in this type of container will speed up the thickening process. As the white chocolate cools, it will thicken and turn more white and opaque.
It’s ready to use when it has transformed into a spreadable and soft fudge-like consistency.
To fill the cupcakes, hollow out the center with a cupcake corer or a pairing knife. Just make a small hole that reaches about 2/3 of the way into the cupcake. Then spoon the white chocolate fudge into the center, filling it all the way to the top.
Now all that’s left to do is to pipe on the buttercream to hide the open top.
For my cupcakes, I sprinkled the tops with crushed candy canes and added a mini candy candy can to garnish.
You can choose to go this route, or you can choose to switch things up:
- Use Andes peppermint crunch candy chips instead of the candy canes. Over time, the candy canes will melt due to the moisture in the frosting. To ensure longevity, I recommend using these baking chips because they do not melt.
- Top the cupcakes with a round peppermint candy instead of a candy cane. I think one of those would look so cute placed right on top!
- Top with a Ghirardelli white chocolate peppermint square. Press it right into the center of the buttercream for an extra treat on top.
- Leave the cupcakes as is! The buttercream alone is eye-catching.
How to store cupcakes
If you are making these a day in advance, I recommend leaving off the candy cane decorations until the day of serving. If left on the cupcakes too long, they could melt into the buttercream.
Otherwise, store the cupcakes in an air tight container in the refrigerator. They should keep for up to 5 days. And since they’re tall cupcakes, I recommend storing them in a tall cake container.
How to make these peppermint cupcakes vegan
Since the cake itself is naturally vegan (when using plant milk), the rest of the recipe is very easy to make completely vegan.
For the white chocolate, use cacao butter instead of white chocolate and replace the cream with 3 tbsp oil. Melt the two together and then chill to thicken.
For the buttercream, just replace the butter with any plant-based butter and use plant milk.
For more Holiday cake recipes, check out my:
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and comment below if you make these White Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print
White Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
- Total Time: 1 hour + 30 minutes cooling
- Yield: 12 cupcakes
Moist vanilla peppermint cupcakes are filled with white chocolate fudge and topped with candy cane swirled frosting.
White Chocolate Fudge
- 4 oz good quality white chocolate (like Ghirardelli), chopped
- 1/4 cup (55ml) heavy whipping cream
Vanilla Peppermint Cupcakes
- 1 cup (240ml) milk
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1/2 cup (95ml) vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cup (225g) all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
Candy Cane Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups (330g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- 3–4 tbsp milk
- Pinch of salt
- Red gel food coloring
- Crushed candy canes (for sprinkling)
White Chocolate Fudge
- Place the white chocolate in a medium-sized bowl, preferably one that’s wide and shallow.
- Heat the heavy cream in the microwave for 30 seconds – 1 minute until hot and bubbly.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, ensuring all of the chocolate is covered. Let it sit for about 1 minute, then whisk to combine. If you have any lumps of white chocolate that won’t smooth out, place the mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds and mix again.
- Place the dish in the refrigerator uncovered. It will thicken and turn more white and opaque as it cools.
Vanilla Peppermint Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a cupcake tin with 12 paper liners.
- Mix together the milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle (this acts as buttermilk).
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl (preferably one that’s easy to pour from) combine the milk and vinegar mixture, oil, and extracts. *there are no eggs in this recipe.
- Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients as you whisk to combine. The batter should be pretty thin.
- Evenly fill the cupcake liners with the batter, each about 3/4 full.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Try not to let the edges brown too much.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool while you make the buttercream.
Candy Cane Frosting
- In a mixing bowl using a hand or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the butter until smooth.
- Mix in 1 cup of powdered sugar at time, mixing in a bit of the milk between each cup.
- Once smooth, mix in the extracts and salt.
- Place half of the buttercream in a separate dish and leave it white. To the buttercream still in the mixer, mix in a few drops of red gel food coloring.
- Check on the white chocolate. It should be be thickened into a soft fudge-like consistency. If it still isn’t there, place it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
- Hollow out the cupcakes using a cupcake corer or a small paring knife. Fill the cupcakes with the thickened white chocolate.
- For the frosting, lay out two sheets of plastic wrap. Add the white buttercream to one and the red to the other, forming it into a long log shape. Cover in the plastic wrap and twist both ends, like a sausage (see picture in post for reference).
- Slide the two logs side-by-side into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pull the two twisted pieces of plastic wrap through the piping tip and snip them off. Now the two-tone frosting is ready to pipe.
- Pipe tall swirls on top of each cupcake and sprinkle with the crushed candy canes. Store the cupcakes in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: white chocolate cupcakes, peppermint cupcakes, candy cane cupcakes, cupcake recipe
Do you think that these would be good with a peppermint swiss meringue buttercream? Or would it just be best with the regular peppermint buttercream that you have listed in the recipe?