Bring the cozy comfort of a winter favorite into your kitchen with Hot Chocolate Cupcakes. These cocoa-infused cupcakes are topped with a lusciously smooth marshmallow frosting for a beautiful, delicious dessert you’ll love!
What if you could indulge in the flavors of hot chocolate but in the form of a soft, delightful cupcake? That’s what these hot chocolate cupcakes deliver! These little wonders are more than just a dessert; they are a nostalgic trip down memory lane, perfect for chilly evenings, family gatherings, or simply when you crave something sweet and comforting.
Why You’ll Love This Hot Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe
- Comforting flavors. The familiar, cozy flavors of classic hot chocolate are perfect for a sweet wintertime treat.
- Easy to make. This recipe is simple, making it a great choice for bakers of all skill levels.
- Satisfying texture. The moist, tender crumb of the cupcakes pairs with the creamy, fluffy frosting for a delightful experience.
- Versatile. These chocolate cupcakes are ideal for various occasions, from casual gatherings to festive celebrations, adding a touch of warmth and nostalgia.
What You’ll Need
Let’s take a quick look at the ingredients needed for making your hot chocolate cupcakes. See the recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- All-purpose flour – As always, measure by weight or use the spoon and sweep method for accuracy. Learn more: How to Measure Flour
- Granulated sugar
- Cocoa powder – I prefer natural unsweetened cocoa powder for these cupcakes. Despite the name of the recipe, don’t use sweetened cocoa powder that’s used for making hot chocolate.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Milk – Let the milk come to room temperature for a smooth batter.
- Vegetable oil – We’re using vegetable oil or canola oil instead of butter to let the chocolate flavor shine.
- Vanilla extract
- Eggs – Allow these to come to room temperature, too.
- Warm water – Adding warm water enhances the chocolate flavor and helps make a smooth batter. The water should feel warm but not hot. If you want to use a thermometer to check, aim for 105-115°F.
- Unsalted butter – Soften the butter before mixing. Learn more: How to Soften Butter
- Marshmallow creme – Also called marshmallow fluff
- Vanilla extract
- Confectioners’ sugar – Sift the sugar for a smooth frosting.
- Milk – Use milk if needed to help attain the optimal frosting consistency.
How to Make Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
These cupcakes and their frosting both mix quickly and easily. Let’s get started!
Make the Cupcakes
- Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line 18 standard muffin cups with paper liners.
- Combine the dry ingredients. Place the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Combine the wet ingredients. Stir together the milk, oil, vanilla, eggs, and warm water in a separate bowl.
- Finish mixing. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, add the milk mixture slowly to the flour mixture. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and keep mixing just until combined. This will be a thin batter.
- Bake. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling each slightly more than half full. Place the pan in the oven, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. A toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean.
- Cool. Place the pans on wire racks, and allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
Make the Marshmallow Frosting
- Start mixing. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, marshmallow creme, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.
- Add the sugar. Gradually add 1 & 1/2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar, and mix until combined. Add more sugar if needed to suit your tastes. If needed, add a small amount of milk at a time until the frosting is thick but spreadable.
- Frost the cupcakes. Pipe or spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes. Add any garnishes you like.
Tips for Success
Follow these tips to help make sure your hot chocolate cupcakes turn out perfectly delicious!
- Don’t over-mix. Too much mixing can lead to dense cupcakes. After adding the dry ingredients, make sure to mix just until the batter is combined.
- Cool completely. Let the cupcakes cool completely. Even slightly warm cupcakes can melt frosting.
- Chill the frosting. You may find that this frosting will benefit from about 30 minutes in the refrigerator before piping.
- Adjust the frosting’s consistency carefully. If you’re adding milk to thin the frosting, do so in small amounts. It’s easier to thin a thick frosting than to try to thicken a thin one.
- Choose a large piping tip. For a big marshmallow-like swirl, a large open tip works well. You can also use a large star tip for more detailed swirls.
Want to tweak this recipe? Here are some tasty ideas to get you started:
- Frosting variations – These chocolate cupcakes pair well with different frostings. Try cream cheese frosting, chocolate frosting, or mocha frosting.
- Mint chocolate – If you love peppermint hot chocolate, try adding a small amount of peppermint extract to the batter or the frosting.
- Coffee infusion – Add a shot of espresso or strong coffee to the batter to create a mocha flavor.
- Spice it up – For a warm, cozy twist, add a pinch of cinnamon to the batter.
How to Store
Place your completely cooled cupcakes in an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator up to a week. Bring them to room temperature before serving.
Can These Cupcakes Be Frozen?
The unfrosted cupcakes freeze well. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then place in an airtight, freezer-safe bag or container. Properly stored, the cupcakes should keep in the freezer up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature, and then frost and serve.