It’s finally here. Christmas time—my absolute favorite time of year. As you many of you know, this time last year I challenged myself to 25 days of baking. What a feat! I don’t think I can commit to quite a challenge this year, but I promise I will still be delivering some festive recipes. First up is my next cocktail cupcake creation: hot chocolate cupcakes spiked with peppermint schnapps.
It’s no question that spiked hot chocolate keeps my Christmas spirit up (eggnog is a close runner up). The relatives’ 20 question protocol consisting of ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’ and ‘How’s your job going?’ is only manageable with a cocktail disguised as a festive beverage in hand. If that doesn’t work, you can always distract them with cupcakes.
My urge to bake surged with the first note of Christmas music I heard after Thanksgiving. Cocktail cupcakes were bound to happen, so why not take advantage of my parents’ kitchen while I had the chance? Enter cocoa cupcakes brushed with Peppermint Schnapps, filled with marshmallow cream and topped with a light whipped cream frosting sprinkled with candy cane bits.
Not going to lie, these are pretty amazing. I was eating the marshmallow cream filling at nine in the morning. When it was time to photograph the cupcakes, I was on my third mug of spiked hot cocoa. Needless to say, my creative side let loose. I couldn’t decide on cocoa dust, mini marshmallows or peppermint bits to adorn the whipped frosting, so I went with all three.
So whether you are preparing for relatives, attending SantaCon or looking to impress friends at a cocktail party, give these suckers a try. (And if you’re not a fan of peppermint, omit the Schnapps and try my Bailey’s buttercream frosting recipe).
Cocktail Cupcakes: Spiked Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 1/4 cup Peppermint Schnapps
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 2/3 cup marshmallow creme Fluff
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 3/4 to 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream frosting
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Peppermint Schnapps to taste and consistency
- Cupcake instructions:
Preheat oven to 350° F and line cupcake tray with baking cups.
Mix flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer until all of the dry ingredients are combined.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing in between. Add milk, oil and vanilla and mix until combined.
Turn mixer on low and slowly add hot water and Schnapps until incorporated. The batter will be very liquid.
For ease of pouring, transfer batter to a large measuring cup and pour batter into baking cups about 2/3 full.
Bake for about 16-18 minutes or until done. Remove and let cool.
Once cooled, core the cupcakes. You can use a cupcake corer, melon baller or a knife to do this. Cut a hole a little bigger than a quarter and about 3/4 inch deep. Remove from the center of the cupcake. Repeat for remaining cupcakes.
In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, marshmallow creme, vanilla and cream on medium speed until completely smooth.
Add 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar and the salt slowly with the mixer running on low, then increase the speed to high and beat for 1 minute. If it looks too thin, add 1/4 cup more confectioners' sugar.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon into each cupcake.
Whipped cream frosting
Place metal bowl and wire whisk beater or beaters in freezer to chill.
In a small saucepan combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch whisk until mixed. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup heavy cream whisk until smooth. Place on medium heat and stir constantly to prevent scorching at the bottom stir constantly until mixture thickens and almost comes to a boil. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and set aside stirring occasionally until it reaches room temperature. Make sure it is completely cooled before adding to the heavy cream. Very important!
In the chilled bowl, combine the cooled mixture with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream, vanilla and Schnapps. Beat with the chilled whisk of your mixer until the cream begins to hold shape, it will still be rather loose. While still beating add the powdered sugar mixture a little at a time. Beat just until the mixture forms stiff peaks when the beater is raised and is spreadable, be careful not to over beat.
Transfer frosting to a frosting bag fitted with desired tip and frost cupcakes. Sprinkle cocoa powder and crushed candy cane bits on top for decoration.