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Two worlds collide in this quick and simple double-decker Mint Brownie Cupcakes recipe – a layer of cake and brownie is topped off with a festive vanilla bean buttercream.
I’m at it again with the mint! Three days in a row!
I have learned to love baking from scratch. Baking is a science, and turning simple ground wheat and butter and eggs into a cake or cookie or brownie is almost a miracle.
Whichever person in history made the first ever baked good must have felt pretty proud of themselves.
I believe in transparency, so I won’t lie to you – if I’m in a rush to turn out a batch of cupcakes or brownies for a party or event, like I was with these Mint Brownie Cupcakes, I won’t hesitate to dress up a trusty boxed mix.
They’re what I grew up on, and while scratch baked goods are (in my opinion) best, there’s just something about a pan of freshly baked box brownies that takes me down old memory lane.
JUST TAKE ME TO THE MINT BROWNIE CUPCAKES ALREADY!
If you’d rather skip my (pretty darn helpful) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this deliciously easy brownie cupcakes recipe, just scroll right on down to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card!
My Nana baked all the time. Those of you who frequent my blog know this, and you should also know that when boxed cake mixes went on sale, she stocked up.
She was a Betty fan, for sure.
I know that if she were here today, she’d be bugging me to print off every tasty-sounding recipe online to add to her cookbook repertoire, and have even more reasons to use her box mixes.
I love the idea of mixing and mashing up desserts (no surprises there). When I can’t decide between brownies or cupcakes to take to holiday events, the only solution was to combine them!
The brownie half bakes up lighter than your usual brownie, but the flavor is definitely still there.
As for the cake half, green baked goods always look a little funny to me. But from the first bite to the last, it’s a pretty, minty dream.
And as for the classic buttercream swirl on the top?
I didn’t want to overwhelm anyone with mint, so I left it out of the icing – but a Christmas cupcake isn’t complete without festive color companions and the cutest little candy canes!
LOOKING FOR MORE CHRISTMAS DESSERT RECIPES?
- Soft & Chewy Gingersnap Sandwich Cookies
- Triple Chocolate M&M’s Peppermint Bark Fudge
- Slow Cooker Apple Gingerbread Crumble
- Double Chocolate Mousse Cake
- Peppermint Swirl Whoopie Pies
HELPFUL KITCHEN TOOLS FOR MAKING MINT BROWNIE CUPCAKES:
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Mint Brownie Cupcakes
- 1 box brownie mix plus box ingredients
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder optional
- 1 box white cake mix plus box ingredients
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
- 8-10 drops green food coloring
Vanilla Bean Swirl Buttercream
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 2-2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 3-4 tablespoons milk
- 8-10 drops red food coloring or substitute
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard 12-count cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.
- Mix brownie batter using ingredients and directions found on the back of the box, adding in vanilla extract and espresso powder. Portion batter into each cupcake liner, filling it about ¼ of the way up.
- Mix white cake batter using ingredients and directions found on the back of the box, adding in extracts and food coloring. Portion batter into each cupcake liner on top of brownie batter, filling each liner ⅔-3/4 of the way up. (You may end up with extra cake batter - I just made 3-4 extra all-mint cupcakes.)
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center (all the way to the bottom) comes out clean. You may see a bit of chocolate crumb, but that's OK.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes in pans before removing to cooling rack. Cool completely before icing.
Vanilla Bean Swirl Buttercream
- In a clean bowl, cream butter for 30 seconds on high speed.
- Add powdered sugar to butter ½ cup at a time, mixing on low and allowing it to combine before adding more. Add until it reaches your desired sweetness.
- Add in milk/cream 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Then add vanilla bean paste. Beat together on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes until fluffy.
- Remove approximately half of the icing and place in a separate bowl. Add desired amount of red food coloring to remaining icing and continue to beat 1 more minute until incorporated.
- Stripe a piping bag on one side with the red icing, and carefully stripe the other side with the vanilla.
- Swirl on top of each cupcake, then garnish with chocolate sprinkles and a mini candy cane.