Life Should Be Cake

Shamrock Shake Cupcakes

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If you flock to McDonald’s at the first sign of those minty green shakes, you’re going to go bonkers over these cupcakes. I didn’t have a non-spiked St. Patrick’s Day cupcake in my repertoire yet, and thought that this riff on the popular milkshakes could be a really delicious treat. I made a homemade shamrock shake a few years ago, and used that as a jumping off point, starting with green-hued vanilla-mint cupcakes and topped them with fluffy whipped cream frosting.

I adapted my new favorite vanilla cupcake recipe, added in some mint extract (be sure to use regular mint, and not peppermint, or the taste won’t be the same), and tinted it a lovely shade of green. The mint flavor is distinct but subtle; feel free to amp up the amount if you want a super minty cupcake. Likewise, you can adjust the green food coloring to make the batter as light or dark green as you’d like.

The frosting is the same fluffy whipped cream frosting that I used for my pumpkin spice latte cupcakes; it has a cream cheese base, which helps to stabilize it and results in a beautiful frosting that’s light as air and perfect for piping. Throw some pretty green sugar on top and finish it off with a green maraschino cherry, and you have a perfectly festive cupcake fit for a St. Patrick’s Day party!

Sometimes, milkshake-inspired cupcakes make the best dessert, right?

One year ago: Homemade Baileys Irish Cream
Two years ago: Irish Whiskey Soda Bread with Irish Whiskey Butter
Three years ago: Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
Four years ago: Shamrock Sugar Cookies
Five years ago: Braised Beef with Mushrooms and Cabernet Sauce
Six years ago: Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Seven years ago: Texas Sheet Cake

Shamrock Shake Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Green-tinted vanilla-mint cupcakes with whipped cream frosting, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.


For the Cupcakes:
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons cake flour
½ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 eggs
½ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons mint extract (NOT peppermint extract)
6 drops green food coloring

For the Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream

To Garnish:
Green sanding sugar
Green maraschino cherries


1. Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt, and mix together on low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer on low, add the butter, a few cubes at a time, continuing until all the butter has been added and the mixture resembles coarse sand.

3. Keeping the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Slowly pour in the milk, vanilla and mint extract, and mix until combined. Add the green food coloring and mix until color is evenly dispersed throughout the batter. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, until batter is smooth, scraping the sides of bowl as needed.

4. Fill the liners two-thirds full (about ¼ cup of batter) and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the centers are set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

5. Make the Frosting: On medium speed, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixer with the whisk attachment until smooth and completely combined, about 3 minutes. Slowly add the heavy cream, scrape the sides of the bowl, then increase speed to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form.

6. Assemble the Cupcakes: Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, then sprinkle with green sanding sugar and top with green maraschino cherries, if desired. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Note: I had a little bit of frosting leftover, and as you can see, I piled it high on each cupcake. I always believe that more is better when it comes to frosting, but if you prefer less, you can scale it down.

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