Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Our cupcake contributor, Lauren of Crave. Indulge. Satisfy, is bringing cupcake merriment to all!  Enjoy!

Happy December! It’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas at my house. The tree is up and decorated, Christmas songs are playing all day and my holiday baking “to do” list is about a mile long. To kick off the baking I thought it would be fun to combine my favorite seasonal drink, hot chocolate, with the always popular peppermint candy to create a festive cupcake. I am thrilled with how delicious and adorable these Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream turned out and hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

These cupcakes are your basic chocolate recipe with the addition of a prepared cup of Hot Chocolate mixed in. The magic happens when you add the peppermint buttercream on top. The combination of chocolate and peppermint is absolutely perfect together, not to mention it gives you some fresh breath!

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

To add some extra cuteness on top, garnish with homemade peppermint bark, which is a staple sweet in my house each Christmas. The bark is super easy to make and you will have plenty left over after topping the cupcakes! So you can certainly package up the bark and give away as gifts. If you don’t want to hassle with the extra step of making the bark, you can easily buy some already made at the store.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

You should definitely add these cupcakes to your holiday baking list! Your friends are sure to go crazy if you show up to a party with a batch of these! I guarantee I will be making them several more times before the month of December is over!

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Hot chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream
(makes 20 cupcakes)

For the cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 packet Hot Chocolate mixed with 3/4 cup warm milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In bowl of stand mixer combine dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients: eggs, hot chocolate/milk mixture, vegetable oil and vanilla.
  4. Beat on medium speed until well combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  5. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter.
  6. Bake for 16 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Let cupcakes cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to finish cooling.
  8. Once cupcakes are completely cool frost with Peppermint Buttercream and garnish with Peppermint Bark.

For the icing:
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
6 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 – 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

  1. In bowl of stand mixer beat butter until creamy.
  2. Gradually add in confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
  3. Add milk until you reach desired consistency.
  4. Add peppermint extract and mix well.
  5. Place icing in piping bag fitted with a large round tip and frost cupcakes.
  6. Garnish cupcakes with Peppermint Bark and white nonpareils (optional).

Peppermint Bark:
12 oz Chocolate Bark
12 oz Vanilla Bark
20 mini candy canes, crushed
1/2 tsp peppermint extract

  1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
  2. Melt chocolate bark in microwave safe bowl for 1 minute. Continue to microwave at 15 second intervals until melted. Pour melted chocolate onto prepared baking sheet and spread evently with a spatula. Let chocolate harden for about 30 minutes.
  3. Melt vanilla bark in microwave safe bowl for 1 minute. Continue to microwave at 15 second intervals until melted.
  4. Add peppermint extract to melted vanilla and stir. Pour melted vanilla overtop of hardened chocolate and spread evenly with a spatula.
  5. Sprinkle crushed candy canes ontop of candy bark.
  6. Allow bark to harden for about 30 minutes before breaking into pieces. Garnish cupcakes.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Lauren Kapeluck , CONTRIBUTOR

Lauren is a monthly contributor for The Cake Blog. She is a self-taught baker and lover of all things sugar. Read more about Lauren on her bio page.


  1. 10

    April says

    My favorite holiday treat in the form of a cupcake! I didn’t think peppermint bark could get any better, but I was wrong!! These look so delicious!

  2. 13


    Thanks for all the sweet comments on these cupcakes. Here are answers to the questions you all asked:

    Mercedes – Carrie @ Half Baked actually adds the font to my photos…I am thinking it might be done in Photoshop, I believe you can also do this in Picnik which is free online photo editing software

    Kat – I used Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

    Nicole – Yes, Milk chocolate hot cocoa will work great, that is what I used as well!

    Hope you all enjoy!

  3. 14

    Danielle says

    I made these just last night and my cupcakes came out really crunchy on top ;/ what could I have done wrong? but as a side note the peppermint buttercream is super delicious !

  4. 15

    Bri says

    I also made these and the cupcakes had a constancy more like brownies than cake – next time I’ll make sure to add more liquids than the recipe calls for. Wondering if I missed something?? Since I needed them in a pinch, I just used a box chocolate cake and add hot chocolate powder with a little extra water – they were perfect and everybody was very impressed.
    Also, if you’re going to make these, I recommend waiting until you walk out the door to garnish them. The moist air in the covered container dissolved the peppermint off the pepermint bark. I also used mini candy canes on half of the cupcakes and they too dissolved into the frosting – still good but not as cute. Lesson learned.
    Thanks for the recipe and the inspiration!

  5. 18

    Shan j says

    Could you tell me what metric measurement is a “stick of butter”
    whenever i see this in a recipe it allways throws me!!Thank you.x

  6. 19

    Ash says

    Shan j….a stick of butter is 8 tablespoons or a half cup. Not sure what the metric conversion would be but hope that will help you figure it out.

  7. 21

    Elizabeth says

    I made these a week ago and am actually making them again today. They were amazing! It kind of flipped me out when I finished the batter because it was so thick but they turned out perfect.

    The only thing I did different was preheat the oven to 350 then knocked it down to 325 as they baked which gave the cupcakes a more expanded round shape. Fabulous! Thank you so much for the recipe!

  8. 22

    Markeeta says

    Hi, i was wondering how much hot choc mix you use? I usually buy my hot choc in bulk & i haven’t seen individual packets of hot choc mix in the shops. Thank you

  9. 23

    Jennifer says

    These sounded wonderful, but the recipe is very disappointing. They weren’t cupcakes, they were more like brownies. I think you need to rethink the recipe.

  10. 24

    Susana says

    This recipe was very disappointing, I kept checking the recipe to make sure the amount of liquid and oil was correct. Being an experienced baker I thought something didnt look right and I made them exactly as the recipe required. The batter looked odd very thick and sticky. I had to keep them in the over for about 23 minutes because at 16min, 20min they were still gooey after I took them out of the oven I let them cool. they were very dry and just a weird consistency. Something is very wrong with this recipe.

  11. 25

    Vicky says

    Ok just made these… Peppermint buttercream is awesome.. Cupcakes not so much.. Flavor is
    Pretty good but they are the consistency of brownies, not cupcakes..: this was my trial run thankfully so no harm done but I would like a more cake like consistency for next time… Any suggestions?

  12. 26

    Tricia says

    The cake is very dense, like a thick brownie. Not bad, but not a cake.
    Burned out a new hand mixer… Kitchen aid type mixer should be used in this recipe.

  13. 27

    Jaira says

    I was very excited to try this recipe. I wish it had pictures to show the steps. As others have mentioned, the batter is way too thick. The actual cupcakes are a little too dense for my taste. They reminded me of costco chocolate muffins. Won’t be making these again.

  14. 28

    Amber says

    I think this recipe was very exciting. It was very thick and a little crispy on top. If that’s how it is supposed to be then I did it right. Thank you for sharing.


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