As a former caffeine addict, I try to limit my coffee intake, but when Christmas comes around so do the Peppermint Mochas from Starbucks. Yum! I got a decaf version this past weekend and it was amazing (and I was able to sleep that night-bonus). So, these cupcakes were inspired by the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha. I used the Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe except that I added 1T of espresso powder to the boiling water. You'd think that would be enough to shock you with espresso, right? Wrong. I can barely taste a hint of espresso flavor. Next time I'm using espresso grounds. They are still amazingly delicious, just not precisely what I was going for. The icing is a simple buttercream with 1t of peppermint extract instead of vanilla. I then split the icing in 2 and colored one part red for the peppermint swirl. Please disregard the melted candy cane pieces on the edges of the cupcake, they looked marvelous last night. Apparently candy cane melts when it comes in contact with buttercream. good to know.