Two years ago, my friend Jo Ann taught me how to make the BEST hot chocolate. She gifted me a milk frother, which has made all the difference, and she convinced me to melt my own chocolate instead of using the powdered version. (I also use oat milk, either plain or vanilla, depending on my mood). The result is a rich, creamy, not-too-sweet chocolatey beverage that warms me from head to toe.
These cupcakes are reminiscent of that rich, homemade hot chocolate flavor. Dark chocolate cupcakes are filled with a creamy chocolate ganache and topped with a swirl of marshmallow buttercream frosting. I like to drizzle on more melted chocolate and sprinkle on mini chocolate chips and mini marshmallows for a little extra pizzazz. Mine are gluten free, but you can also substitute for regular flour.
Here are a few tips before you get started:
- I recommend getting the butter out for the frosting at the same time you get the cupcake ingredients to room temperature. That way you’ll be able to make the frosting while the cupcakes and ganache are cooling.
- If you’ve never cored a cupcake, don’t worry, it’s super easy! While you can absolutely purchase a corer to make this step more straightforward, I honestly think it’s just as simple to use a spoon. The trick is not to make the center hole too wide or too deep. You want to still have a cupcake surrounding the ganache! Note: I didn’t choose the correct batch to photograph. I made these holes a little larger than I should have. Try to aim for the size of a quarter.
- I like a lot of frosting on my cupcakes, but you do you! A simple rosette would be just as delicious. In that case you’ll have leftover frosting, OR you could double the cupcake and ganache ingredients and spread the frosting out over 24 cupcakes instead of 12. In that case you’ll want to double the chocolate drizzle ingredients as well.
Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour or substitute regular all-purpose flour for non-gluten free cupcakes
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup melted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 9 tbsp unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 3 tbsp Crisco
- 1 cup marshmallow creme
- 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp whole milk
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp mini chocolate chips + more for decorating
- mini marshmallows
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and soda, salt and sugars.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract until combined. Then whisk in the melted butter (which should be room temperature). Pour into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined (the batter will be thick).
- Boil ½ cup of water and mix with the espresso powder. Gently whisk the water mixture into the batter until completely combined (all of the lumps should be gone). Use a spatula to fold out any air bubbles.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake wrappers. Evenly distribute the batter between the12 molds, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
- Let the cupcakes rest in the pan for 5-10 minutes, and then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the ganache while the cupcakes are cooling. Heat the heavy cream in the microwave for about 45seconds, or until it starts to boil. Pour it over the chocolate chips and let it sit for 2 minutes, and then whisk until combined. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature.
- Make the frosting while the ganache is cooling. Cream the butter and Crisco until smooth. Add the marshmallow and cream until combined. Mix in the powdered sugar, salt, milk and vanilla on low speed until combined, and then cream on high speed until smooth.
- Use a cupcake corer or spoon to scoop out the centers of each cupcake. For the best results, the diameter of the hole should be about the size of a quarter, and it should go about 2/3 deep. Spoon the cooled ganache into the center of each cupcake, so that the ganache is evenly distributed between all 12.
- Use Wilton tip #1M to pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake so that it resembles an ice cream cone (or a swirl of whipped cream on top of a mug of hot chocolate!). Melt 2 tbsp of mini chocolate chips in the microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds. Stir, and then heat for an additional 15-20 seconds on 50% power. Stir until smooth. Pour the melted chocolate into a piping bag and drizzle on top of each frosted cupcake. Decorate with mini chocolate chips and mini marshmallows as desired.
- Store in an airtight container and enjoy! Best enjoyed within a few days, but these cupcakes do freeze well.