Candy Cane Cupcakes Recipe

Are you in search of a sweet after-dinner treat this holiday season? If so, look no further than this amazing dessert. These candy cane cupcakes are incredibly tasty, and you can serve them all December long, although there's no doubt that they hit the spot any time. These festive treats come complete with a red and white swirl batter, homemade frosting, and a delicious peppermint crunch that takes things up a notch. If you love the look of candy canes and the taste of peppermint, then this recipe is a no-brainer.

Recipe developer Jessica Morone of Jess Loves Baking came up with this tasty treat, and there are so many good things to say about it. "I love everything about these. They are so cute and easy," Morone raves. "And the peppermint flavor is pretty subtle so they are really delicious. My husband took leftovers to work, and people said they were some of the best cupcakes they have ever had." If you're rocking around the Christmas tree just thinking about these sweet delights, keep reading to find out how to whip up a batch.

Gather the ingredients for candy cane cupcakes

Ready to make some cupcakes? If so, you will need to make a list of ingredients, and head to the grocery store. Start with a box of white cake mix. Then, pick up some vegetable oil and eggs. (For the eggs, you will only need to use the whites.) When you stop by the baking aisle, be sure to get some peppermint extract and red food coloring. In addition, you will need butter, powdered sugar, and milk. Of course, you will also need a few mini candy canes for topping. In addition to 1 cup of water, you're all set!

Preheat the oven, and mix together the cake batter

Since you will need to use your oven for this recipe, go ahead and preheat it to 350 F. That way, it has time to warm up while you do the rest of the prep work. Then, take out a set of muffin tins, and line all 24 slots with paper baking cups.

Once you do that, you can mix together the cupcake mix. Take out a large bowl, and add the cake mix, water, and vegetable oil. Then, throw in the egg whites and 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Beat everything together until it's well-combined.

Divide the batter, and add it to the tins

Now, grab another set of clean bowls, and divide the batter into two parts. Try to make them as even as possible. Add the red food coloring to one of the bowls, and mix it well to combine. This will give it a festive look that you're going for. (Note that you don't need to any additional ingredients to the second bowl.)

Next, fill the muffin tins. Add 1 tablespoon of white batter to the bottom, and top it with 1 tablespoon of red batter. Then, add another layer of white batter, and finish the cupcake with a layer of red. 

"You can [also] do mini cupcakes," Morone shares. "I would modify the recipe by filling the mini cupcake liners with a teaspoon of white batter, then a teaspoon of red batter and then another teaspoon of white batter. And bake for only 10 to 15 minutes." 

Bake the cupcakes, and make the frosting

Now, it's time to pop the cupcakes into the oven. Be sure your range has fully preheated, and then bake the cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes. You can check doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center and seeing it comes out clean. Once it does, take the cupcakes out of the oven, and let them cool completely.

In the meantime, make the frosting. Add the butter to a large bowl, and beat it with an electric mixer until it gets nice and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and the last ½ teaspoon of peppermint extract. Last but not least, pour in the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the frosting gets nice and fluffy. 

"I think you can use store-bought frosting with these," Morone notes of a substitute. "I haven't tried it, and I'm not totally sure if adding peppermint extract to vanilla frosting would make the frosting too wet, but it's definitely worth trying if you want to save time. Otherwise, I would stick to my frosting recipe, because it's really good and pretty simple." 

Frost the cupcakes, add candy canes, and enjoy

Once you finish the frosting and make sure that the cupcakes have cooled completely, you can get to frosting. Frost the cupcakes as you wish, and crush up four mini candy canes. Top each cupcake with a sprinkling of crushed candy followed by a whole mini candy cane.

This are great by themselves, but they would also be wonderful with a glass of milk or coffee. "These can keep for up to a week if they are covered and in the fridge," Morone says. "These can be served as a snack or a dessert and would go great at any holiday party." We hope you enjoy these pepperminty treats as much as we do! 

Candy Cane Cupcakes Recipe
5 from 38 ratings
These candy cane cupcakes come complete with a red and white swirl batter, homemade frosting, and a delicious peppermint crunch that takes things up a notch.
Prep Time
Cook Time
candy cane cupcakes on plate
Total time: 33 minutes
  • For the cupcakes
  • 1 (15.25-ounce) box white cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring
  • For the frosting
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
  • For decoration
  • 28 mini candy canes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Place paper baking cups into 24 regular-size muffin cups.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, vegetable oil, egg whites, and 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Beat together until the batter is well mixed.
  4. Divide the batter into two bowls. Add the red food coloring to one of the bowls, and mix well.
  5. In each muffin cup, add 1 tablespoon of white batter, top with 1 tablespoon of red batter, then another tablespoon of white batter, and finally top with another tablespoon of red batter.
  6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely.
  7. While the cupcakes cool, add the butter to a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until the butter is creamy, then gradually add in the powdered sugar and the remaining ½ teaspoon of peppermint extract. Add in the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the frosting reaches a fluffy consistency.
  8. Frost the cupcakes with frosting.
  9. Crush up 4 of the mini candy canes, then top each cupcake with a sprinkle of crushed candy and a whole mini candy cane.
Calories per Serving 270
Total Fat 14.0 g
Saturated Fat 5.1 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 10.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 36.6 g
Dietary Fiber 0.9 g
Total Sugars 31.0 g
Sodium 129.9 mg
Protein 1.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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