4 ounces German Sweet Chocolate, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups milk (preferably whole milk)
3 tablespoons green or white crème de menthe
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
Tip: Use standard measuring cups and spoons or scales for accurate measuring.
Swiss Meringue Grasshopper Buttercream:
5 large egg whites
1¼ cups granulated sugar
1/16 teaspoon salt
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup green crème de menthe (if using white crème de menthe add 1 or 2 drops of green food coloring.)
About 24 Andes Crème de Menthe Chocolates, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two standard 12-cup muffin pans; line with paper cupcake liners.
- In top of a double boiler over hot water, melt chocolate. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Or, place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, use 50% power and stir frequently just until the chocolate is melted; do not overheat as chocolate will burn easily. Set aside to cool slightly.
Tip: Create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 2 inches of water and bringing it to a simmer. Turn the heat off and place a stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowl on top of the simmering water, the upper pan should not touch the water. See Melting Chocolate – How to Melt Chocolate.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir the milk, crème de menthe, and vanilla extract together. Set aside.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color.
With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 8 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugar, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed.
Tip: For each egg, crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the creamed mixture. Start with the mixer on low speed so the liquid from the egg doesn’t splatter, once the egg is partially mixed increase the speed to medium. Each egg should be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next egg, taking about one minute to blend in each egg.
- With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the milk mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and milk mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the melted and cooled chocolate into the batter.
- Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Fill about 2/3 full, using about ¼ cup of batter per cup.
Tip: Avoid over-filling the liners which may cause the batter to run-over the sides when baking. It is better to bake any remaining batter separately after the first pan of cupcakes has finished baking.
- Bake, rotating pan halfway through, 18 to 20 minutes, or until the cakes are just firm and spring back when gently pressed, and a toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly in cupcake pan, and turn out of pan when cool enough to handle. Cool cupcakes completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.
Swiss Meringue Grasshopper Buttercream:
- In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer combine egg whites, sugar, and salt; place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Using a wire whisk, whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is hot, about 3 to 5 minutes. Tip: the mixture should reach about 130 degrees on an instant read thermometer, or feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips. Remove from heat.
- Attach the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium high speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until the mixture forms a thick fluffy meringue and is cool. Tip: Touch the meringue and make sure it has cooled to room temperature. Also the outside of the bowl should feel cool to the touch.
- Stop the mixer, remove the whisk and attach the paddle. With the mixer on medium speed add the butter, about 1 tablespoon at a time and mixing 20 to 30 seconds after each addition. While adding the butter, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly. Add the crème de menthe and continue beating until the Buttercream is thick and smooth, about another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Use a small offset spatula to frost the top of each cupcake, or use a pastry bag and a #9 star decorating tip to pipe the frosting.
- Sprinkle a few chopped Andes Crème de Menthe chocolate pieces on top.
Adapted From Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Baking, 2010