With the temperatures on the decline once again, we’re bundling up in (several of) our coziest layers and kicking back with our favorite toasty treats. Since it’s a hot chocolate time of year, what better way to pay tribute to this classic warming drink than with our exclusive Hot Chocolate cupcake, courtesy of our pro treat master Michael Taylor of Mikey T’s?
According to Michael, hot chocolate’s perennial appeal can be chalked up to its classic winter-comfort factor. This recipe amps it up with a rich, velvety-smooth chocolate cake; use the best-quality semisweet chocolate baking chips you can find for this, like Michael’s pick, Ghirardelli. If the chocolate-to-the-nth-power cake isn’t enough to make you feel like a kid again, we’re pretty sure you’ll be downright giddy over the gooey marshmallow center, hazelnut-spiked buttercream frosting piled high like whipped cream, and marshmallow garnish in two adorable mini sizes. Top off your “drink” with a paper straw inserted into the cake, and you’ve got snack that guaranteed to prompt awww-struck reactions and nostalgic smiles.
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Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
Make this G-rated crowd-pleaser for your next party or event. For a fun grown-up twist, add a tablespoon of Smirnoff Fluffed Marshmallow vodka to the frosting mixture with the vanilla and cream, and watch your guests swoon.
For the cakes:
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour (preferably cake flour)
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk or whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup of premium hot chocolate (such as Ghirardelli), prepared according to package directions
Homemade or store-bought marshmallow filling (such as Marshmallow Fluff)
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Set all refrigerated ingredients aside and allow them to warm to room temperature. Prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. Beat the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until fully combined.
4. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into wet, in 2 to 3 batches.
5. Gradually add the hot chocolate to mix, beating slowly to avoid overmixing.
6. Using an ice cream scoop for accuracy, fill each cupcake liner ¾ full. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, being careful not to open the oven, until the cupcakes are slightly rounded. Note: If the cakes look like they’re sinking in the middle, put them back in the oven for another couple of minutes. The cupcakes are done when a toothpick or tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the pan, and cool on a rack or baking sheet.
7. Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, core the center with a paring knife or a cupcake corer. Reserve the cored cake. Place a tablespoon of marshmallow filling inside each cake. Replace the cake core over the filling.
For the frosting:
2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature
6–7 cups confectioner’s sugar
4 tablespoons Nutella or other hazelnut spread
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3–4 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk
1. Beat the butter, sugar, and Nutella on low speed in a stand mixer or with hand mixer. Gradually increase the speed to medium-fast. Add the vanilla and heavy cream; add more cream or milk, depending on desired consistency.
2. Scoop the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe up high, to mimic the look of a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream topping, or use an off-set spatula to frost the cakes. Decorate with mini marshmallows, and serve.
Annie’s giving away these gorgeous table linens, the Mingled Platinum placemats and the Chevron Charcoal napkins to one lucky reader! Check out the Rafflecopter entry form below for 4 easy ways to enter! Contest ends on Sunday, February 2 at 11:59 p.m. EST. View the full details.
Congratulations to our winner, Kathy from Georgia!