Hot cocoa cupcakes are topped with marshmallow frosting and spiked with peppermint schnapps. They’re the perfect cold weather treat!

hot cocoa cupcake topped with marshmallow frosting, next to shot glass of peppermint schnapps

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 cocoa cupcakes spiked with peppermint schnapps.​​​​​​​

Why you should try this recipe: The cupcakes are made with cocoa powder for ultimate cocoa flavor. They are also spiked with peppermint schnapps, but if you don’t want alcohol in your cupcakes you can substitute with water. There’s also a silky smooth and light marshmallow frosting topping these cupcakes.

hot cocoa cupcake ingredients labeled with text
photo collage demonstrating how to make hot cocoa cupcake batter in mixing bowl

Overview: How to make hot cocoa cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add wet ingredients: eggs (one at a time), milk, oil and vanilla. Mix until combined, then add hot water and peppermint schnapps. Mix until combined.
  4. Bake cupcakes: Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake at 350 F for 16 to 18 minutes. Cool completely.
  5. Make frosting: Beat the butter, marshmallow creme, vanilla and salt together (a whisk attachment is best to keep the frosting fluffy). Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until combined. Add milk if you need a thinner consistency.
  6. Assemble cupcakes: Transfer frosting to a piping bag and frost cupcakes. Top with mini mashmallows and a dusting of cocoa powder if desired.

Have leftover marshmallow frosting or want to make it again? Try my sweet potato cupcakes for Thanksgiving!

photo collage of marshmallow frosting ingredients and how to make frosting in a mixing bowl
chocolate cupcakes in muffin tin with a couple cupcakes topped with marshmallow frosting

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make these cupcakes without alcohol? Yes. Leave the peppermint schnapps out and increase hot water to 1/2 cup.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Can I use hot cocoa mix in this recipe? No. Hot cocoa mix has added sugar in it. By using unsweetened cocoa powder you will achieve a more cocoa-y flavor in these cupcakes.

How to store cocoa cupcakes: Place cupcakes in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cupcakes may also be kept at room temperature, but the frosting will lose its shape.

Can you freeze cocoa cupcakes? Yes (unfrosted). Wrap the cupcakes individually to prevent freezer burn. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and frosting.

hot cocoa cupcake topped with marshmallow frosting, mug behind cupcake

More cocoa recipes

Looking for more way to incorporate cocoa into your baking? Then you have to try my hot cocoa cookies. Each cookie is topped with a big gooey marshmallow! Another easy recipe to try are my hot chocolate brownies. Mini marshmallows are sprinkled in the batter and on top!

You can also make hot cocoa from scratch using only three ingredients! Either make the cozy drink on the stovetop or the microwave. Another easy way to make hot cocoa is with these hot chocolate bombs you just drop in warm milk!

two hot cocoa cupcakes with marshmallow frosting next to mug of hot cocoa with mini marshmallows

Hot cocoa cupcakes are just what you need on a cold winter day. I love baking these for holiday parties or for aprés ski with friends. What occasion will you being making hot cocoa cupcakes for? Let me see by tagging @ifyougiveablondeakitchen on social media!

marshmallow frosting with mini marshmallows and dusting of cocoa powder on chocolate cupcake

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes

Hot cocoa cupcakes are topped with marshmallow frosting and spiked with peppermint schnapps. They're the perfect cold weather treat!
5 (5 ratings)

Ingredients

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes

  • 1 ¾ cup (218 g) all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (75 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cup (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs,, room temperature
  • cup (84 g) vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (120 ml) low fat or whole milk,, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) hot water
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) Peppermint Schnapps*, (see notes for nonalcoholic version)

Whipped cream frosting

  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter,, room temperature
  • 7 ounces (1 jar) marshmallow creme
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups (300 g) confectioner's sugar
  • 1-3 teaspoons milk (if necessary)
  • ½ cup mini marshmallows for garnishing (optional)

Instructions 

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes

  • 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 on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl if necessary. Turn mixer on low and slowly add hot water and Schnapps until incorporated. The batter will be very liquidy.
  • For ease of pouring, transfer batter to a large measuring cup and pour batter into baking cups about 2/3 full. Bake at 350° F for 16 to 18 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Marshmallow Frosting

  • In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the butter, marshmallow creme, salt and vanilla. Mix until creamy, about 1 minute. Add one cup of powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add remaining one cup of confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth and creamy. Add milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached (I used 1 teaspoon).
  • Transfer frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a tip. Frost cupcakes and garnish with mini marshmallows and dusting of cocoa powder (optional).

Notes

Nonalcoholic version: Omit the schnapps and increase hot water to 1/2 cup. If you want peppermint flavor, add 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract when adding the vanilla.
Store hot cocoa cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days. They may also be kept at room temperature, but the frosting will not hold its shape.
Freeze hot cocoa cupcakes (unfrosted) individually wrapped and in an airtight container for up to one month. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and frosting.
Recommended tools:
Serving: 1cupcake, Calories: 244kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 24mg, Sodium: 105mg, Potassium: 88mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 152IU, Calcium: 26mg, Iron: 1mg

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