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Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Our Hot Chocolate Cupcakes are the best in rich chocolate cupcakes. Smooth and creamy, delectable and delicious, and topped with a cream cheese frosting, these light and airy treats are sure to make any holiday meal an unforgettable one.

Christmas, tis the season for jolly laughter, decorative trees, and of course, warm cups of hot cocoa by the fire. If you can’t find the hot cocoa however, then these hot chocolate cupcakes will definitely earn their spot beside the candy canes and other holiday sweets.

This tasty recipe is super easy to make with chocolatey flavor in every bite! Hot Chocolate Cupcakes are similar to homemade chocolate cupcakes, except with some added cocoa powder and hot chocolate mix.

After baking and frosting the cupcakes, you can add some marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, or even a peppermint stick for some added festive garnishes.

These cupcakes pair well with holiday drinks, such as our eggnog latte, gingerbread latte, dark chocolate coffee, or even just a simple cup of hot cocoa.

Side view of multiple hot chocolate cupcakes with marshmallows.

Ingredients You’ll Need

For the cupcakes:

  • Milk – We use whole milk, but any milk will do.
  • Vegetable Oil – Gives these hot chocolate cupcakes a lighter, fluffier texture and provides moisture.
  • Eggs – Allows all the ingredients to bind together.
  • Vanilla Extract – For a little hint of vanilla flavor.
  • Flour – All-purpose flour works best.
  • Granulated Sugar – For sweetness, of course!
  • Hot Chocolate Mix – This will add the signature hot chocolate flavor to the cupcakes.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – This will enhance the chocolate flavor and add the rich, dark color to the dessert.
  • Salt – Salt will help to bring out and enhance the flavor of the cupcakes.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda – Leavening agents that will give these sweets their light and fluffy texture.

For the frosting: 

  • Room Temperature Butter – Helps to provide the smoothness for the frosting. 
  • Room Temperature Cream Cheese – Provides a tangy base for the frosting.
  • Heavy Cream – Gives the frosting a smoother texture and makes it easier to frost the cupcakes.
  • Hot Chocolate Powder – Adds a distinct and unique chocolate flavor to the frosting.
  • Powdered Sugar – Adds sweetness and rounds out the texture of the frosting.
  • Optional Garnishes: Mini Marshmallows, Mini Chocolate Chips, And Peppermint Sticks – These toppings will add some lovely garnish and flavor to your hot chocolate cupcakes.
Ingredients needed for hot chocolate cupcakes.

How To Make Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and place cupcake liners into a muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the milk, oil, egg and vanilla until everything is fully combined.
  3. In a separate, larger bowl whisk the flour, sugar, hot chocolate mix, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda until they are all well combined.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk together until no dry streaks are visible. Be sure not to overmix the batter as that could result in a dense cupcake.
  5. Spray the cupcake liners with cooking spray. This will help to keep the liners from sticking to the cupcakes. After spraying, fill each liner about ¾ of the way full with the batter.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. After removing from the oven, let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely, as this prevents them from cooking further and drying out.

For the Frosting:

  1. To begin, use a hand mixer to cream the butter until it is light and fluffy, roughly 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and mix until fully incorporated.
  2. Next, pour in the heavy cream and whip until well combined. Then, add the hot chocolate mix and powdered sugar. Mix again until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use, then scoop the frosting into a piping bag (or a large Ziploc bag if you don’t have a piping bag) and use your preferred tip to frost the cupcakes!
  4. After frosting, feel free to garnish with peppermint, marshmallows, or even chocolate chips!
Collage showing how to make hot chocolate cupcakes.

Recipe Tips

  1. If you don’t have cupcake liners, that’s okay! Just be sure to liberally coat the cupcake pan you plan to use with cooking spray.
  2. Make sure that your hot chocolate cupcakes cool completely (at least one hour) before frosting them, otherwise the frosting will melt and slide off.
  3. Make sure the butter and cream cheese are room temperature to ensure the frosting is smooth, creamy, and free of lumps.

Variations

  • Want some different flavors? Try mixing things up! Sprinkle some cinnamon and nutmeg on the tops of the cupcakes, or add a bit directly into the cupcake batter itself!
  • Try adding more color: Add some holiday sprinkles for more festive cheer!
  • Frosting Filled: Try using some of your frosting to stuff the cupcakes! Just take an apple corer or small spoon to dig out a bit of the center (only go about halfway down) and fill it with the frosting or marshmallow creme! Just be sure to leave enough to top them if you want!
  • Not a fan of vegetable oil? Substitute it with your favorite neutral tasting cooking oil.
Hot chocolate cupcake with a bite taken out.

Storing and Freezing

Storing: If the hot chocolate cupcakes and frosting are stored separately, they’ll last about 1 week in the refrigerator. If the cupcakes have been frosted, they’ll stay fresh about 3 days in the refrigerator.

Freezing: Cupcakes can be frozen, but first they must be completely cooled on a wire rack, otherwise the condensation could affect the texture and quality of the cupcakes after freezing.

Wrap the individual cupcakes in plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. Drop the wrapped cupcakes in an airtight container or large freezer bag, and they’ll stay good about 2 months. Thaw by transferring them to the refrigerator overnight.

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Several hot chocolate cupcakes with candy pieces.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 12 Cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cool Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

These Hot Chocolate Cupcakes are the best in rich chocolate cupcakes. Smooth and creamy, delectable and delicious, and topped with a cream cheese frosting, these light and airy treats are sure to make any holiday meal an unforgettable one.

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 cup milk
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup hot chocolate mix (about 4 (.71 ounce) packets of Swiss Miss hot chocolate)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Frosting:

  • ½ stick of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 (8 ounce) block of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup of heavy cream
  • 2 (.71 ounce) packages of hot chocolate powder
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • Optional topping: mini marshmallows, crushed candy canes and mini chocolate chips

Instructions

For the Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla until combined.
  3. In a separate large bowl whisk the flour, sugar, hot chocolate mix, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
  5. Spray the cupcake liners with nonstick cooking spray, and fill each of the liners ¾ of the way full with the batter.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cupcakes.
  7. Let the cupcakes cool for at least 1 hour before frosting.

For the Frosting:

  1. Make the frosting by whipping the butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the softened cream cheese and mix again until fully incorporated.
  2. Pour in the heavy cream, and whip until light and fluffy. Stir in the hot chocolate powder and finally the powdered sugar until smooth.
  3. Refrigerate until the cupcakes are cool then scoop the frosting into a piping bag fitted with your preferred piping tip. (I used the Wilton 2D piping tip.)
  4. Frost the cupcakes then serve or sprinkle the top with mini marshmallows, crushed candy canes and mini chocolate chips if desired.
  5. See post for storage options.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 hot chocolate cupcake. Actual calories will vary.

*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

*Photos courtesy of Karla Rae Photography.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 cupcake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 432Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 423mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 2gSugar: 46gProtein: 5g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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