Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Fusing together what may seem like mismatched flavors often results in the most amazing food or drink. For example, have you ever tried breaded and fried cauliflower slathered in buffalo sauce, just like hot wings? Or maybe avocado chocolate mousse where you can't even taste the healthy avocado infused in the dessert? Then, there are the combos people love to nosh on, like layering potato chips on lunchmeat sandwiches or sauerkraut, pineapple, and sausage layered on a cheese pizza.

Cupcakes sporting crazy combos have become all the rage, like a butter cupcake-covered with maple frosting and adorned with bits of bacon, or a chicken and waffle cupcake that's topped with a tiny bit of waffle and a piece of chicken slathered in maple syrup. If you happen to be a food fan who loves to try new things without being intimidated by big, bold flavors vying for the attention of your taste buds, then you will absolutely love these Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes, brought to you by recipe developer Autumn LeAnn.

Gather the ingredients to whip up these sweet treats

To make a dozen cupcakes, you'll need to pop by the store and pick up cake flour, dark cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, unsalted butter, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, heavy cream, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. For the frosting, pick up heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and gelatin powder. Feel free to also grab garnishes like mini marshmallows, cinnamon sticks, and/or cayenne pepper. 

LeAnn explains some of her ingredient choices: "Cake flour has a lower protein content and in turn, produces less gluten than all-purpose flour. It is less dense and produces a lighter, fluffier textured cake. Dark cocoa powder is a nod to traditional Mexican hot chocolate, which is typically more rich than 'regular' hot chocolate. The dark cocoa powder also produces a slightly darker color than your typical cocoa powder." 

Work with the dry ingredients

Preheat the oven to 325 F, and measure out all of the ingredients. Then, allow them to reach room temperature. "Allowing the ingredients to come to room temperature makes if easier for them to combine. The butter for example will be easier to whip up with the sugar," explains LeAnn.

Take out a bowl and sift together 2 cups of cake flour, ½ cup of dark cocoa powder, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder, ½ teaspoon of baking soda, and a pinch of salt.

Mix up the wet ingredients

Mix together ⅝ cup (5 fluid ounces) of heavy cream and ⅛ cup (1 fluid ounce) of vegetable oil in a separate bowl. Take the paddle attachment and affix it to the stand mixer, or use a hand mixer and cream together ½ cup of granulated sugar, ½ cup of dark brown sugar, 1 stick of unsalted butter, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. Slowly add in 2 large eggs to the mixture.

Alternate blending in the flour mixture and heavy cream mixture, merging ⅓ of each at a time. Be sure to scrape down the bowl between each introduction of batter. Pour the batter evenly among the cupcake liners nestled in each pan, and bake for 14 to 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Once they're done, remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool completely, which should be approximately 30 minutes. You can use this time to start making the frosting.

Use gelatin powder in the frosting

This delicious frosting uses one package of gelatin powder to make, which LeAnn says helps to stabilize it so that it will hold up without falling flat. "Regular whipped cream would not hold up more than a few hours. If you are planning on eating these immediately, you can skip the gelatin, but if not, make sure to add it so your frosting doesn't fall flat. Also, make sure to refrigerate since the frosting is mostly cream. Wrap tightly with [plastic] wrap or use an airtight container," LeAnn notes. The gelatin also helps the frosting reach solid heights and look beautiful.

Make the frosting for your cupcakes

Measure 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, 2 ½ ounces of powdered sugar, and 16 ounces of heavy cream into the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high until the frosting reaches a soft peak. Empty the powdered gelatin into a second bowl that's microwave-safe, and combine with 1 ½ tablespoons of water.

Heat the gelatin and water mixture in the microwave for approximately 10 seconds to the gelatin is soft and melted thoroughly. Slowly pour the gelatin mixture into the frosting mixture with the mixer running on medium. Once it's been poured completely into the frosting, turn the mixer up to medium-high and whip the combination until stiff peaks form.

Decorate your cupcakes

Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with your choice of an icing tip and decorate the cupcakes once they've cooled completely. To make the cupcakes look as great as they taste, sprinkle the tops with some cayenne pepper, place a few mini marshmallows on top, and insert a cinnamon stick.

"[The cayenne pepper gives] a little kick of spice like you would find [when] drinking Mexican hot chocolate. It isn't overwhelming, but it's definitely noticeable. They start sweet and finish with a kick of spice. It's like taking a sip of Mexican hot chocolate with whipped cream on top," LeAnn says. "I love that they're the perfect mix of sweet with spicy without being overwhelming to the taste buds."

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe
5 from 67 ratings
These delightful Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes start sweet and finish with a kick of spice.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes
Total time: 1 hour
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • ½ cup dark cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • ⅝ cup (5 fluid ounces) heavy cream
  • ⅛ cup (1 fluid ounce) vegetable oil
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups heavy cream, for frosting
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, for frosting
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, for frosting
  • 1 packet gelatin powder, for frosting
Optional Ingredients
  • mini marshmallows
  • cinnamon sticks
  • cayenne pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 F. Measure out all of your ingredients, and let everything come to room temperature.
  2. In one bowl, sift together the cake flour, dark cocoa powder, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Mix together the heavy cream and vegetable oil in a separate bowl.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla extract. Slowly mix in the eggs to the butter/sugar mixture.
  5. Alternate mixing in the flour mixture and the heavy cream mixture, mixing in ⅓ of each at a time. Scrape down the bowl between each addition.
  6. Distribute cupcake batter evenly into your cupcake pans (don't forget cupcake liners) and bake at 325 F for 14 to 16 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
  7. Remove from oven, and let cool completely while you make the frosting.
  8. For the frosting, first measure out all of your ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Whip the mixture on medium-high until it reaches a soft peak.
  9. Empty the powdered gelatin into a separate small bowl (make sure it is microwave-safe) and combine with 1 ½ tablespoons of water. Heat the gelatin/water mixture in the microwave for about 10 seconds so the gelatin is soft and melted.
  10. With the mixer still running on medium, slowly pour in the gelatin mixture. Then, turn the speed up to medium-high and whip until it reaches stiff peaks.
  11. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with your favorite icing tip, and decorate your cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle each cupcake with a bit of the cayenne pepper, and top with a few mini marshmallows and a cinnamon stick.
Calories per Serving 460
Total Fat 30.7 g
Saturated Fat 17.6 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 122.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 41.2 g
Dietary Fiber 1.8 g
Total Sugars 21.0 g
Sodium 150.6 mg
Protein 6.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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