Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

in Cakes, Chocolate, Desserts

I’m a big fan of layers. This is the very reason why Fall and Winter make me leap for joy.

These seasons give me the ability to wear a tank top, a t-shirt, a button up, and a jacket (and maybe a scarf)…all while not perspiring. Perspiring sucks. So does shivering, I guess; but at least I sorta get an ab workout when I shiver. AM I RIGHT?!

I dig food layers, too. These cupcakes? Crazy food layering going on here. Maybe you can’t see all the food layers yet. It’s okay. I’m gonna outline them for you.

P.S. This recipe is basically these Ding Dongs just reworked. Same elements, different look. Nifty, eh?!

1st layer: The chocolatey chocolate cupcake. The part that gets me super psyched is how the directions call for melting good quality chocolate into a cup of strongly-brewed coffee.

This recipe was written for my soul.

(Side note I’m-not-getting-paid-to-say: I bought Newman’s Own Orangic Chocolate because they were out of Green and Black, and I might be my new fav. Rich with good texture.)

2nd layer: The chocolate ganache center.

And this one doesn’t require any piping or anything. Just cut out the center and spoon the chocolate into the center.

Easy delicous assembly. What a treat!

3rd layer: Toasted marshmallow frosting. Hi. It’s fluffy.

Who doesn’t love fluffy frosting? No one. It feels like a sweet pillow melting in your mouth. Just glorious.

In a last minute decision, I decided to a little hand torch to it to make the frosting all toasted. Good move.

You can also do this by putting the cupcakes under a broiler (while NOT walking away).

4th (and last) layer: Crushed candy canes. The crushing of them will be therapeutic. Promise.

(Sidenote: It took me three stores to find normal red and white candy canes. All the drug stores think it’s a GENIUS idea to have the annoying looking colorful ones. I want tradition, Candy Cane Makers; I don’t want my candy canes trendy!! No one does!!)

Get your layerin’ on this weekend! It’s a good look.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Print this recipe!

Chocolate Cupcakes:

2 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate
1 cups hot brewed coffee
2 cups sugar
1 2/3 cups flour
1 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 1/3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 candy canes (for topping)

1. Preheat oven to 300°F. And line two cupcake tins with liners.

2. Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

3. Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored. Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.

4. Divide batter between cupcake tins, filling them up between half way to 3/4 of the way. Bake for 20-25 minutes, and until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Cool cupcakes in cupcake tins on racks until completely cool.

Seven Minute Frosting:

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1. In large metal bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup water, sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Set bowl over pan of barely simmering water and mix with handheld electric mixer at low speed. Gradually increase speed to high, beating until mixture holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.

2. Transfer bowl from pan to folded kitchen towel on counter and continue beating until mixture is cool and billowy, about 2 minutes more. Beat in vanilla. (Frosting can be made 4 hours ahead and chilled, covered.)


1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Heat the heavy cream and the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil.

2. Place the semisweet chocolate in a 3-quart stainless steel bowl. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth.


1. Smash candy canes–using the bottom of a pan–into bits. Using a paring knife (or an apple corer), cut out a 1-inch circle out of the center of the cupcakes. Fill with a half teaspoon of chocolate ganache.

2. With a 1-inch star tip, pipe on frosting in a circular motion. Holding the torch about 6-7 inches away from the frosting, toast the tops of the cupcakes slowly, being sure to not light the cupcake liners (I did this!) on fire. Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top of each of the cupcakes. DONE!!!

Seven-Minute Frosting recipe tweaked from Epicurious

Chocolate Cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Yields about 20 cupcakes

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Shari@Rain into Rainbows December 16, 2011 at 8:44 am

These are gorgeous and yummy looking as well!

I share your pain with the candy canes. If I want flavored candy sticks, I’ll get the old time penny-candy type. Otherwise, give me classic peppermint stripes!


HoneyFor Jam December 16, 2011 at 11:08 am

These look amazing, what a great Christmas treat!


Jessica @ How Sweet December 16, 2011 at 11:43 am

holy holy crap. i am in love.


Sue/the view from great island December 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm

These are adorable, especially that pillowy white frosting, I bet Santa would love these waiting for him by the fire.


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga December 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

these look awesome…I love the little holes that are dug out and filled in with the chocolate ganache. drool.


Heather (Heather's Dish) December 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm

oh my Lord, this is the cupcake of my dreams.

where have you been all my life?!


Katrina December 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Mmmm I love these! The topping looks especially yummy :)


Nina Caldas December 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Mmmmm, these look simply scrumptious. Definitely going to make these at some point!!!


Blog is the New Black December 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Made a similar last year and they were a hit with the kiddos! Yours looks better and more advanced! Great job!


Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy December 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm

These look amazing, to cute! My favorite holiday drink in a cupcake! I don’t think it could get much better then this!


brandi December 16, 2011 at 2:57 pm

i’m not normally a fan of a ton if icing on my cupcakes…but these? i would eat the cupcakes JUST for that icing.


Megan December 16, 2011 at 3:03 pm

This looks awesome. Exactly the kind of thing I’ve been looking for for holiday party treats!


Erin December 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Haha I like that you say to be sure not to light the liners on fire because I totally did that making creme brulee cupcakes. Love these!


Bev Weidner December 16, 2011 at 3:41 pm



Mary @ Bake Break December 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm

WHOA. Those look AWESOME. And clearly I now need a hand torch :)


Danielle December 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I am absolutely making these tomorrow for my christmas party!
I don’t have a blow torch though to toast the tops of the cupcakes, does this frosting still taste good “raw”??


Adrianna December 16, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Totally awesome “raw”!!!


Jess December 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Holy crap. These look amazing. Now just trying to figure out who I can pawn them off on after I make them….


Annalise December 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Love everything about these cupcakes. Love, love, love! Wish I had one right now!


Elle @ Chellbellz December 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Any Reason to pull out my Kitchen Torch. These looks yummyyyyy!


Allyn December 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I came to the conclusion while registering for my wedding that the simple classic things that you’d think would be easy to find are ALWAYS the hardest. And often the most expensive.
Which is why I now have a grey duvet cover that was stupidly expensive from Restoration Hardware. All I wanted was solid grey, people.
This seems to apply to holidays things as well.
Send me a cupcake please?!


Heidi @ Food Doodles December 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm

These look incredible 😀 So pretty, but soooo delicious looking. I love all those layers!


Amanda (onceuponarecipe) December 16, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Genius! :)


Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray December 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Um, these cupcakes are filled with ganache. Shuuuuut the front door.


Maggie December 16, 2011 at 6:33 pm

You can also do this by putting the cupcakes under a broiler (while NOT walking away).

-not walking away is a key instruction which I conveniently forget/ignore and turns into kitchen disaster. thanks for including that tip.

Food chopper works great for crushing candy cane- just don’t leave it on too long or you’ll have pink candy cane dust (which also tastes great and is sparkly)

This recipe totally brightened my friday!


Adrianna December 17, 2011 at 12:02 am

I’ve totally done this. Though, now I need no worry since my broiler doesn’t work anymore. :(


Carina December 16, 2011 at 6:55 pm

they look beautiful!


Connie @ Marinatingonline December 16, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Beautiful. Nice layering.


shelly (cookies and cups) December 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I am not a huge layerer, only because I don’t need to any any bulk to this frame :) BUT food layer, yes please!
Gorgeous cupcakes, is it alright that I want like 17 of these right now?


Adrianna December 16, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Definitely alright.


Monica @ Soirees & Such December 16, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I think I love your layers!


Raquel December 16, 2011 at 8:46 pm

These look amazing, I have a weak spot in my heart for cupcakes & especially layered ones! The more stuff, the better!


Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers December 16, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Gorgeous cupcakes!


Mellissa @ I breathe therefore I'm hungry December 16, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Awwww…I MUST have a blowtorch for my kitchen! This clinches it for sure! Those are adorable–great post! I feel you on the trendy candy canes, I was just at Walmart looking for some cc’s for my own baking projects and it was all red and black, or green and red, or disney character colors??? What happened to good old fashioned candy canes????


New York Diaries December 16, 2011 at 10:40 pm

I LOVED reading this post! Those cupcakes look so yummy.

Keep the great posts coming!


Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen December 16, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Umm, can you please deliver a dozen of these to Virginia, like…now? These look amazingly delicious.


Lindsay (Young Married Mom) December 17, 2011 at 3:22 am

Agreed on the candy canes. I saw a giant green one the other day that was pretty, but it was pear-flavored. What does pear-flavored candy cane even mean? Cute cupcakes. Making me hungry!


Anna December 17, 2011 at 3:34 am

I love cupcakes! The toasted marshmallow frosting is adorable. Makes the cupcakes more appealing…Will try this really soon. Great post!


Maria December 17, 2011 at 5:06 am

Wow, these cupcakes are amazing!


Beth Michelle December 17, 2011 at 11:57 am

These cupcakes are beautiful. I love your photos!


Lori @ RecipeGirl December 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm

These things are so yummy looking. I’m impressed that you used the chocolate bar wrapper to chop your bar. I never think to do that…


humphreyt December 17, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Those look delicious! (for humans!)


Kristen December 19, 2011 at 12:14 am

Oh my – I want to dive right into those cupcakes. Yum!!


Betty @ scrambled hen fruit December 19, 2011 at 4:47 am

These look scrumptious! I love the marshmallow topping with the peppermint. :)


becca December 19, 2011 at 9:32 am

I just made these. I do not know how they taste but they look terrific and my apartment smells like toasted marshmallows. :)


NicoleD December 19, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Seriously, what is with all the trendy candy colors and flavors? Peppermint forever and always! I’ll have to check out that Newman’s Own Chocolate. Didn’t know they made chocolate!


Dana December 20, 2011 at 5:55 am

You are a carb genius! And I totally agree about candy canes…they are never EVER meant to be blue and green.


Adrianne December 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm

These look wonderful! I love the layers!


Dana B @ thebakingbooth December 26, 2011 at 8:33 pm

These look scrumptious!! I had Newman’s Own Organic Chocolate. Once. Vowed never again. Maybe it was old :( I agree with you 100% on candy canes tho! Aren’t the blue and yellow ones especially annoying?! egads. I may just have to start making my own :)


Chris January 5, 2012 at 3:28 am

I just made these and they look amazing! But my frosting wouldn’t form stiff peaks. I’ve made meringue before with no problem, but I’ve never added water before. Any idea why I may have had some trouble?


Adrianna January 5, 2012 at 4:48 am

Hmm…not sure. I had to whip mine for a little longer than usual, but I’ve made this a few times and never had a problem. :(


Monica @ Soirees & Such January 6, 2012 at 2:53 am

I really have to thank you for this recipe!! I made it for Christmas and it was AMAZING! I think I ate like 5 of them


Hollie February 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm

My frosting didn’t sit up either :(
After mixing for what seemed like forever (maybe 7-8 minutes) it was still runny. I had no choice but to throw it out and go with store bought. I was in a time crunch.
Any luck with omitting water? I don’t know what I did wrong :(


Jeniece June 27, 2012 at 8:59 pm

The frosting tastes like marshmallow fluff, but in a good way! This is a chocolate and sugar overload and it’s so worth it! With three steps, it’s a bit of work and a few dishes, but I am definitely adding this to my recipe box! I even made a boo-boo by adding the vanilla into the icing with all of the other ingredients instead of waiting till the end and it turned out great.


Melissa December 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I made these for a fundraiser at my mother’s work. Every year they have this and it’s called cupcake wars and the money earned goes to personal charities close to those in her department. I must say I am not afraid of any baking challenge and this cupcake, though many steps, was quite easy. They turned out wonderful! I was even able to share some with those that I love! I am getting ready to make the marshmallow cream for my daughter and mother to snack on! My mother is a sucker for some marshmallow cream and this way we know there are no additives!


latifa July 19, 2013 at 9:56 am

love the idea but the cupcake ended up too thick for my taste :(


Adrianna Adarme July 19, 2013 at 10:12 am

I’m sorry you didn’t like this recipe!


Ringo Huff February 21, 2014 at 1:36 am

I am drooling over this. My wife’s weakness, chocolates and cupcakes. Been visiting your site for stuff like this. Getting new ideas for me to try. Thanks for sharing this.


Arlie August 8, 2014 at 11:35 am

great insight. Really enjoyed looking over this blog.

Keep up the good work and to everyone keep on tweeting!


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