hot cocoa cupcakes

There’s no treat that goes with winter fun like hot cocoa. My kids still expect to come in from snow and ice activities and have their cocoa waiting for them. The only thing they might like more is to have their hot cocoa in cupcake form. Wait, I think I’d prefer that, too!


While I sometimes make “real” hot chocolate (like this recipe we tried a few winters ago), more often we simply warm some milk and stir in a mix or (even better) Ovaltine. The addition of Ovaltine and coffee to this cupcake recipe makes them as chocolaty as my kids’ favorite winter treat. And the marshmallow cream frosting and mini marshmallows take these over the top. They’d make a great treat for a holiday bridal shower!


Here’s what you need for the cupcakes (if you’ve wondered how to make chocolate cupcakes from scratch, or have worried that it would be too hard, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!):
1 cup hot water
1 tsp instant coffee (use decaf or omit if you’re making these for little kids)
1 Tbsp Ovaltine (I used the malt flavor, but choose whichever kind you like!)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 stick butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda


Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare your cupcake pans with baking cups. Stir the coffee, Ovaltine, and unsweetened cocoa into the hot water and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and mix in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Sift the dry ingredients with the flour, then add dry ingredients to the butter, alternating with the cocoa mixture and mixing well. Fill baking cups about 1/2 full and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool while you prepare the frosting.


Marshmallow Cream Frosting
1 stick butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
pinch of salt
3 – 4 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 Tbsp marshmallow cream
Cream butter and stir in confectioners’ sugar, adding the pinch of salt, then add marshmallow cream and vanilla. Add enough milk to achieve a spreadable consistency. Once cupcakes have cooled, spread or pipe frosting (I used a pastry bag without a tip and quickly swirled on a thick layer) on each cupcake. Top with several mini marshmallows and a peppermint stick or piece of candy cane.
Do you enjoy hot cocoa on a cold day or after sledding or skating? Maybe you’ll like hot cocoa cupcakes just as much! Let me know what you think!