Marshmallow hot chocolate cupcakes with a rich hot cocoa flavor and a festive marshmallow frosting filling, dairy free with a gluten free option and ready in under an hour.
Marshmallow hot chocolate cupcakes are basically a mug of hot chocolate in the form of a cupcake. They are perfect for winter holidays, such as Christmas cupcakes.
I frost this cupcake recipe with my fluffy white frosting with melted marshmallows. Sprinkle with mini marshmallows or a drizzle of chocolate ganache. Prefer a vanilla cupcake? Try my vegan vanilla cupcake here and frost with chocolate buttercream.
Why You'll Love These
Perfect holiday hot chocolate cupcake. With the marshmallow white frosting filling, deep cocoa flavor, and the dusting of snowy sugar, these cupcakes are perfect for a holiday celebration. Add crush peppermint candies on top or in the filling for an additional cake decorating idea.
Deeply chocolatey flavor. The vanilla and cocoa are important in bringing in that hot cocoa flavor. I used the highest quality chocolate. Ghiradelli and Valhrona are good choices, the latter being used by top cupcake brands such as Georgetown Cupcakes.
Allergy & dairy-free friendly. The recipe is healthier than traditional cupcakes because of pumpkin puree instead of eggs and oil. Use vegan marshmallows when adding to frosting. Then the ingredients in these delicious cupcakes are all dairy-free, vegan and even gluten-free if you use a gluten-free baking flour. The cupcake is the perfect choice for a holiday gathering or a crowd, knowing that anyone can eat them.
Flour: I used all-purpose flour or a GF baking flour. Oat flour would also work, but use more, 1 ¾ cups.
Cocoa: The hot chocolate flavor depends heavily on the cocoa you choose. Choose the best quality you have access to; I highly recommend using dutch process here as it tastes closer to an authentic cup of hot chocolate. Do not use a cocoa mix which has many preservatives and other ingredients that will ruin the cupcake texture.
Sugar: Organic cane sugar tastes much better than refined white sugar because it is much less processed, and is without exposure to pesticides. Being less processed, the sugar retains more nutrients, including essential amino acids, minerals and vitamins.
Pumpkin Puree & Applesauce: These two ingredients basically replace eggs and oil, although you can replace the applesauce with more pumpkin puree.
Leaveners: baking powder and baking soda
Milk & Lemon Juice: My favorite way to provide lift to cakes
Other Essentials: salt and quality vanilla extract
See the recipe card at the bottom for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Step by Step Instructions
For more detail, visit the complete recipe at the bottom of this post, but here are general steps.
Step 1. Preheat your oven to 350 F, Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners, and activate your milk by adding lemon juice to it and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Step 2. To the large mixing bowl, add the wet ingredients and mix with a hand mixer or stand mixer at medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth. Add the dry ingredients through a strainer to the wet mixture, and mix at medium speed about 2 minutes or until combined, but don't over mix.
Step 3. Add the batter about ¾ full to each cupcake liner using a medium cookie scoop.
Step 4. Bake cupcakes for 18 minutes. Or until tester comes out clean.
Step 5. Let cool for ten minutes, then put cupcakes on a cooling rack and allow to cool.
Step 6. Make vanilla frosting while the cupcakes cool.
Step 7. Fill the cupcakes. Cut a cone out of the center of each cooled cupcakes using the tip of knife held at an angle. Fill the space with frosting and allow a pillow to form on top, and top with the removed cone of cake.
Step 8. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Make Ahead & Storage
Make ahead. To make these cupcakes unfrosted a month in advance, bake them, let them cool completely and wrap each cupcake in cling wrap and then put them in a freezer container or bag and put them in the freezer. They will last about 1 month. Refrigerate overnight to thaw and frost.
Refrigerated. To store these unfrosted and unfilled cupcakes for 3 days after baking, add them to a sealed container and refrigerate for about 3 days before frosting.
To store frosted. The cupcakes frosted and decorated will last about a day at room temperature before the cake texture will begin to dry out.
Peppermint hot cocoa cupcakes. Add ½ teaspoon of peppermint or mint extract to both the batter and frosting. Sprinkle the white frosting filling with a crushed peppermint candy cane.
Orange hot cocoa cupcakes. Add ½ teaspoon orange extract to both frosting and batter and sprinkle a tablespoon of orange zest to the batter before baking.
Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes. Add pinch of cayenne pepper to the cake batter.
1. Start with all ingredients at room temperature
2. Use the highest quality cocoa powder you can afford.
3. Use a medium-sized scoop to add batter to cupcake pans to be sure all cupcakes are of uniform size.
No, not for this recipe because cocoa powder contains sugar and other additives that could change the flavor and render the cupcakes not vegan or gluten-free.
It is white frosting with melted marshmallow swirled in. You can also fill the cupcakes with your favorite store-bought marshmallow fluff, or your own favorite frosting.
Other Cupcake Recipes
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Marshmallow Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
- Measuring cups & spoons
- 2 Mixing bowls
- sifter or fine mesh strainer for the flour
- Hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle
- cupcake pans, paper liners
- medium sized ice cream scoop
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour or a GF baking flour
- ½ cup cocoa unsweetened
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dairy-free milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ⅓ cup pumpkin puree (Or sweet potato puree, I used canned)
- 3 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce (or more pumpkin or sweet potato puree)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Fluffy White Frosting:
- Preheat your oven to 350 F.
- Line cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.
- Activate your milk by adding lemon juice to it and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- To the large mixing bowl, add the wet ingredients and mix with a hand mixer or stand mixer at medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth.1 cup dairy-free milk, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ⅓ cup pumpkin puree, 3 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Add the dry ingredients through a strainer.1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, ½ cup cocoa, 1 cup cane sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt
- Add the dry ingredients through a strainer to the wet mixture, and mix at medium speed about 2 minutes or until combined, but don't over mix.
- Add the batter about ¾ full to each cupcake liner using a medium cookie scoop.
- Bake cupcakes for 18 minutes. Or until tester comes out clean.
- Let cool for ten minutes, then put cupcakes on a cooling rack and allow to cool before assembling (see instructions on how to cut out the center and cap below)
- Melt 2-3 marshmallows in the microwave for 10 seconds. Stir and repeat if they aren't melted. Add the melted marshmallows to a large mixing bowl, as well as the sugar, butter and vanilla and just 1 tablespoon of the milk to a large mixing bowl.2 cups powdered sugar, ½ stick butter, 3-5 tablespoon dairy free milk, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Use a hand-mixer or an electric mixer to combine. Add the remaining 2 tablespoon of milk gradually until you have a creamy consistency. You can add more or less milk, but be careful, it can turn too liquidy very fast.
- Add frosting to a frosting bag, cut the tip so the opening is about 1 inch wide or use a round tip.
Assemble the Cupcakes
- Cut a cone out of the center of each cooled cupcakes using the tip of knife held at an angle. Fill the space with frosting and allow a pillow to form on top, and top with the removed cone of cake.
- Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
- Once frosted, the cupcakes are fine at room temperature for about 3 days and then they begin to dry out.
- To store cupcakes long term, assemble them and then pack them in an air-tight container and freezer for a month.