Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Prepare a cupcake tin with cupcake liners which have been lightly sprayed with baking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, egg, and vanilla.
Use a stand mixer or hand mixer to slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Slowly add the hot coffee to the batter and blend until just combined.
Fill the prepared cupcake liners ½ full of batter and bake in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely.
Use a small spoon or melon baller to scoop out a small well in the center of each baked cupcake. Fill each well with the crushed peppermint candy.
In a large bowl, blend the softened butter, confectioners sugar, and peppermint extract on low. As needed add milk, a little at a time, until you achieve your desired consistency for piping. Soft, but still holds shape when piping.
Reserve approximately ½ cup of the peppermint buttercream frosting and color it green with a few drops of the gel food color.
Fit a large piping bag with the large star decorating tip and fill with the white peppermint buttercream.
Starting in the center of each peppermint filled cupcake, pipe the frosting in a circular motion working outwards to cover the top of each cupcake.
Add the green peppermint buttercream to a small piping bag which has been fitted with the large leaf decorating tip. Pipe two leaves onto each frosted white cupcake and finish by adding 3 red-hot candies to complete the holly berry design.
Tools and equipment;
cupcake tin, cupcake liners, baking spray, decorative piping tips, piping bags, assorted bowls, stand mixer or hand mixer, whisk, wooden spoons, spatula, measuring cups, measuring spoons, green gel food color, zip top bag, rolling pin or hammer