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3.17 from 6 votes

Candy Cane Cupcakes

A super moist chocolate cupcake with a candy cane buttercream
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: cupcakes
Servings: 30 cupcakes


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

For the frosting

  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter softened (1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare cupcake pans with liners.
  •  In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in boiling water. Batter will be very thin at this point.
  • Pour into cupcake liners. Fill about 2/3 full.
  • Bake about 22-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before adding the frosting on top.
  • For the frosting: Cream the butter first until light and fluffy. Add the confectioner sugar and beat for another 1 to 2 minutes until combined. You may want to scrap down the bowl at this point. Then add the extracts, heavy cream, and crushed candy canes Then mix on high speed for 8 minutes until light and fluffy.


  1. Don't overmeasure your flour. Too much flour can result in a dense cupcake as opposed to a nice light fluffy one. Measuring your flour wrong is one of the most common baking mistakes. You want to use what's called the "spoon and level" method. You want to use a spoon and scoop the flour into your measuring cup. Don't just scoop the flour directly into your measuring cup. This can result in a major overmeasurement! After you have spooned the flour in, then use a knife to level off the flour. Don't tap the sides of the measuring cup, or pack your flour down. Both can also result in too much flour.
  2. This recipe calls for boiling water. This results in a super thin batter, but trust me that's what you're going for here. The hot water results in a super moist cupcake.
  3. This frosting is absolute perfection. The key to this frosting is how long you mix it first. Once all the ingredients are combined mix it on medium-high for 8 whole minutes. It might seem like a lot of time, but it results in the most fluffy frosting. You can use a hand mixer, but a stand mixer makes quick work of this buttercream. If you make the frosting ahead of time and refrigerate it, stick it back in your mixer and mix it again until its fluffy. When you go to eat these, make sure they are at room temperature. With all the butter in the frosting, you want the frosting to soften up before taking a bite.
  4. The crushed candy canes will make the frosting slightly pink. If you want it less pink, add your crushed candy canes in at the end of your mixing and simply fold them in with a spatula. Top with additional crushed candy canes if desired.