These hot cocoa cupcakes are a chocolate cupcake with hot cocoa mix in the batter. They’re topped with chocolate whipped cream frosting, marshmallows, and crushed peppermint candy canes for a cozy and delicious winter treat!
Fun fact: I eat chocolate every single day. I’ve always had a huge sweet tooth, but nothing beats chocolate for me! So after making these incredible hot cocoa cookies, I knew I wanted to make another hot cocoa dessert but with even more chocolate.
These cupcakes are moist thanks to the extra-virgin olive oil, and you can use water or coffee to add to the batter (I’ll always recommend coffee over water, but if you’re not a coffee drinker, there’s no need to purchase some for this recipe).
These hot cocoa cupcakes are fun to make with the kiddos for Christmas or just the winter season (winter lasts a long time up here in Minnesota). Dress them up with mini marshmallows and crushed peppermint candy canes if you have them! Christmas sprinkles would be fun too. 😉
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Hot Cocoa But Make it a Cupcake – The cake batter has hot cocoa mix in it and it’s topped with a whipped cream frosting, just as a yummy mug of hot cocoa would have!
- The Cupcakes are Super Moist – This batter includes coffee, heavy cream, and extra-virgin olive oil, which means they are incredibly moist cupcakes.
- Perfect for the Holidays or Winter In General – Winter gets long up north. We don’t need a reason to bake delicious desserts, but having something fun to bake sure helps! I’ve also made a version of this cake for one of my kiddos who has a January birthday!
- All-Purpose Flour
- Granulated Sugar
- Cocoa Powder – Use unsweetened cocoa powder here.
- Hot Cocoa Mix – I use Swiss Miss milk chocolate mix here, but you can use whatever kind you have!
- Baking Soda
- Heavy Cream – This makes these cupcakes light, fluffy, and moist!
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – Adds so much moisture to the cupcakes! Make sure you’re using extra-virgin olive oil because it’s the most mild flavored kind. You can also use melted butter.
- Vanilla Extract
- Water or Coffee – Prepared coffee is needed for this recipe. If you don’t have coffee, water works as well. I’ve made the recipe with both and the cupcakes turned out delicious both times!
- Heavy Cream – The heavy cream must be COLD! Also, make sure you’re using a cold mixing bowl when you make this frosting. I like to pop mine in the freezer for 20 minutes before making it.
- Powdered Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Cocoa Powder – Unsweetened cocoa powder
See recipe card for quantities.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, hot cocoa mix, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.
Step 2: In separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, extra-virgin olive oil, vanilla extract, and coffee or water.
Step 3: Add the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients and whisk them together until there is no more dry flour showing in the batter.
Step 4: Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and fill each up to 2/3 full. Bake for about 25 minutes. You can use a toothpick to check if the cupcakes are done by sticking the toothpick in the center of the cupcake. If moist crumbs stick to it, they are ready to come out. If wet batter sticks to it, they need to bake longer. This recipe makes about 18 cupcakes. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting them.
Step 5: While the cupcakes are baking (or cooling) stick a mixing bowl in your freezer (the hand mixer beaters too, if you can!). It’s best to use completely cold ingredients when you’re making whipped cream. When you’re ready, add the heavy cream to your mixing bowl and mix on medium-high for about 2-3 minutes. Once the cream starts resembling whipped cream, add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder. Mix until the whipped cream forms stiff peaks. To do this, stop the mixer and pull the whipped cream with the beater. If the whipped cream stays up, it’s ready.
- Muffin Pan
- Mixing Bowl
- Hand Mixer
- Rubber Spatula
- Cupcake Liners
These cupcakes are best served immediately. If storing, they need to be stored in the fridge due to the whipped cream frosting. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
You can also freeze these cupcakes for up to 1 month in an airtight container.
- Make sure your mixing bowl, beaters, and ingredients are COLD when you make the whipped cream frosting. I pop my mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer about 20 minutes before I make the frosting. Don’t take the heavy cream out of the fridge until just before adding to the bowl. Warm ingredients means melty whipped cream.
- Make sure you use *extra-virgin* olive oil for this cake. This has a mild flavor–any other kind of olive oil will make the cupcakes taste off.
- Whisk the cake batter until just combined to avoid over-mixing and ending up with a dense, dry cupcake.
- Store these cupcakes in the fridge after you make them or serve immediately.
- If you want to pipe the frosting on these cupcakes, I recommend sticking the piping bag in a wide mouth glass and wrapping it around the outside of the glass before add the frosting to the piping bag. It helps keep things less messy!
The great thing about these cupcakes are that you don’t need a hand mixer. Simply use a whisk and make the batter as stated in the recipe card. The ingredients will ensure fluffy and moist cupcakes. Make sure not to overmix the batter. Mix until just combined.
I used Swiss Miss milk chocolate mix (the dry mix, not already made hot cocoa). Any brand works and if you want to play with the flavor, feel free to do so! Dark chocolate, white chocolate, caramel hot cocoa, or peppermint hot cocoa mix would all be great options.
No, they are not the same. The cocoa powder used in this recipe is unsweetened. Hot cocoa mix has added sugar and flavor that add sweetness to the cupcakes.
Absolutely! If you’d rather have regular whipped cream frosting, simply omit the cocoa powder in the frosting recipe. Any chocolate or vanilla frosting would taste great with these. The whipped cream frosting simply adds to the hot cocoa flavor.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Hot Cocoa Cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup hot cocoa mix
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder unsweetened
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup coffee or water
Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting:
- 2 cups heavy cream cold
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder unsweetened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 crushed peppermint candy canes optional
- 60 mini marshmallows optional
- sprinkles optional
- Preheat oven to 350℉ and prepare a muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, hot cocoa mix, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, extra-virgin olive oil, vanilla extract, and coffee (or water). Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until there are no more dry ingredients in the batter. Do not over-mix.
- Pour the batter into the muffin tins 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 23-27 minutes. To check if the cupcakes are done, stick a toothpick in the center of the middle cupcake. If moist crumbs stick to it, the cupcakes are ready. If wet batter sticks to the toothpick, they need to bake a bit longer. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
- Stick the mixing bowl you're going to use for the frosting in the freezer for 20 minutes before you make the frosting.
Make the Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting:
- Start with cold ingredients. Pour the heavy cream into the cold mixing bowl and whip with a hand mixer on medium-high for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the vanilla extract and cocoa powder.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar while you continue to mix the frosting. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the ingredients. The whipped cream will be done once it forms stiff peaks.
- Frost the cupcakes with the whipped cream frosting. You can use a piping bag and frosting tip of your choice or use an offset spatula to add the frosting on top of the cupcakes. Top with crushed candy canes, mini marshmallows, and sprinkles if you wish!