Holiday Chocolate Mint Cupcakes and a Fun Up-Cycled Holiday Activity

mint chocolate cupcake recipe


Even though we live several states away from most of our family the holidays are a crazy time for us. This year it seems even truer. My husband is actually here this year, which often isn’t the case. More often than not, he has been deployed over the holidays. We have fantastic friends that we will be celebrating this year as well.

My daughter, however, is not with us this year. I think that this has been the hardest change to accept. Of course, she is able to temporarily come home and will be spending Christmas Day with us. For the most part, however, she will be in the hospital. She has been having a number of serious issues and it was decided that an inpatient stay would be the best to help get her diagnosis sorted out once and for all. I can’t help but feel as though it has definitely put a damper on my holiday spirit.

For the most part, it has been my son and I spending the holidays together thus far. We had wonderful sushi for my birthday yesterday. If I have learned anything though, it’s hard to relate to a 10-year-old boy unless you know a lot about YouTube and Pokemon. ( Luckily, I know enough to get by on both accounts.) It has been a challenge to find fun things to do for the holidays that he hasn’t grown out of. I think we have a winner with the up-cycled craft we created this weekend, though.

The great thing about this activity is that although my son is NT ( neurotypical ) it can easily be adjusted to suit children of other abilities. We’ll go over that more a little later, though, since let’s face it… everyone wants to hear about these cupcakes!

Related: Helping Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Enjoy the Holidays 

chocolate mint cupcakes

Holiday Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

I love a fancy cupcake. I am such a fan of putting together an intricate design. Sometimes, though, the cupcake itself is so good that it doesn’t even need to be fancy. This is definitely the case with these mint chocolate cupcakes. I think this is my favorite combination yet. ( Chocolate Peanut Butter is a close second, but I just love the excuse to eat anything mint!)

These simple, but amazing, cupcakes were the perfect holiday snack with a fresh milk to enjoy while we played with the activity we created out of leftover containers from our baking. ( Yes, that’s right! Don’t throw away those containers. We’ve got a great use for them.)

Holiday Chocolate Mint Cupcakes and a Fun Up-Cycled Holiday Activity

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

1 cupcake

Holiday Chocolate Mint Cupcakes and a Fun Up-Cycled Holiday Activity


    For the Cupcakes
  • 3/4 C all purpose flour
  • 1/2 C cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 C packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • For the Icing:
  • 1/4 C plus 2 T all purpose flour
  • 1 C milk
  • 1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 C vegetable shortening
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven is heating line a cupcake tin with 12 ( holiday!) liners.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine sugars, eggs, vanilla, and mint extract. Mix until just blended.
  4. Slowly add half of the dry mixture to the sugar mixture. Follow with half of the milk and repeat steps once more. Do not overmix at this point or the cakes will be too dense.
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake liners. You are aiming for about 1/2 full as these guys will rise well.
  6. Bake 20-22 minutes but watch carefully as oven times vary. Use the toothpick method to determine that the cakes are finished.
  7. Let cool 10 minutes before removing to rack to finish.
  8. Combine icing ingredients in the bowl of stand mixer and blend until smooth.
  9. Pipe icing onto cupcake and top with holiday sprinkles ( or topping of your choice )


Always use the best quality extract you can afford. This will help to avoid an artificial flavor that can sometimes occur with peppermint extract.

Up-Cycled Holiday Activity for Kids

This snowball toss game is both a great activity for kids to do over Christmas Break and a great way to re-use containers frequently used in everyday baking. Any containers you have around the house will work but we had some Hiland milk containers on hand so we used those. This is absolutely an activity that kids of any age can help make, too.

What You Need:

3 large containers

2 medium containers

1 small container

leftover wood ( we used a white front particle board from my husband’s garage, but any sturdy piece of wood or cardboard would work)

exacto knife


white yarn

paints ( your choice here really, but we used green, yellow, red, white, and brown )

hot glue gun

chocolate mint cupcakes

First, be sure to wash out your containers with soap and warm water. Towel dry and set out to continue drying completely.

Using your Exacto knife cut each of the containers down until you have a “cup” made out of each. You want them to still be a decent size so that they can catch the snowballs.

If you end up with any weird edges you can use a file or even a handheld grinder to even things out.

chocolate mint cupcakes

Pour out your paints and begin painting each of the containers with its corresponding color. You will want the 3 larger containers to be one color, the two medium to be another color, and the one small to be a third color.

This took us about 2-3 coats before we had it the color and intensity that we wanted.

chocolate mint cupcakes

You can begin drawing out and painting your tree while the containers are drying. For better accuracy, you can line the containers up where you want them to be and trace an outline of each. This will help you size up your tree better.

I would recommend two coats of paint if you are using the white front board. We went with just one and I do believe I will be going over it a second time after looking it over a while lol.

chocolate mint cupcakes

Once all of your paint has dried take a permanent marker or paint to write your desired scores inside each of the containers.

Using a glue gun, attach each to their designated spot. ( You may need to hold it there a minute or two to ensure a good stick )

For gameplay, you can use a variety of different items to accommodate children of varied abilities. The lids to the containers can even be saved and used to flip into the scored containers. A great idea would be to glue two together and decorate with a snowflake cut out or sticker. This way, you could have special coins to flip.

We went with poof ball snowballs for our game. They are so quick and easy to make and I had a ton of white yarn around. We will have a tutorial on making poofballs in the future so be sure to sign up for our latest posts so you don’t miss it. I’m doing a poofball curtain for my daughter’s closet so I got really REALLY good at making them quickly after about 20-30 of them.

chocolate mint cupcakes

The snowballs couldn’t be any easier to make and most of us have everything needed around the house.

Using a biscuit cutter or other circular template make two circles out of cardboard. Cut a smaller circle out of the center of each circle.

Using the white ( or your chosen color ) yarn begin to wrap around the C shape you have created. You want to wrap until it is fairly large to have a thicker poof.

Taking a sharp pair of scissors, snip away at the outer edge of the C of yarn. Be sure to hold it well while you are doing this or your poof will become more of a yarn pile. Taking a separate piece of yarn tie around the center of the cut C. Tie tightly and fluff yarn until you have a poof.

chocolate mint cupcakes

Are you looking for more holiday ideas? Make one of the most stressful times of the year way easier by heading to Hiland for their holiday email series with tips, recipes, crafts, and even coupons.

For more awesome cupcakes be sure to check out our other recipes, and for more crafting fun and activities head over to our homeschool resources!

If you make any of your own crafts this holiday be sure to share with us! We love to see what you guys are up to.

Happy Holidays!

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These super simple chocolate mint cupcakes will be the hit of your next holiday party #christmascupcakes #holidaycupcakes #mintchocolate #cupcakerecipe

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