Snow Day Chocolate Cupcakes with Hot Chocolate Buttercream

The recipe for the cupcakes is one of my all-time favorites- Black Magic Cake (I think it was originally published by Hershey’s”. The “magic” is the cup of black coffee added to the cake batter, making it insanely moist and rich flavor. The buttercream recipe is something I came up with on a snowy day when I was drinking mug after mug of hot chocolate. It’s a little gritty because of the dried hot cocoa mix but I really like it that way because I used to eat dried hot cocoa mix with a spoon as a kid. I guess I just love consuming hot chocolate in any way possible!

Photo by Tina Picz

Photo by Tina Picz

Serves: 12- 15
Difficulty level: Moderate
Total time: 1 hour

For the cake:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup strongly brewed coffee- hot
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the buttercream:
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 packets or 1/2 cup hot chocolate mix
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mini marshmallows for decoration


Let’s do it!

  • Preheat oven to 350° . Line 2 cupcake pans with cupcake wrappers (24 wrappers).

  • In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer at medium high speed for 1 - 2 minutes. Note that this batter will be much thinner than your typical cake batter.

  • Distribute into cupcake pans and bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 - 20 minutes before frosting.

  • While the cupcakes are baking, make the frosting: beat the butter on medium high for 2 - 3 minutes or until it’s visibly lighter in color. Gradually add the butter and cocoa mix while mixing on low. Next, add the milk and vanilla. Increase mixing speed back up to medium and beat until fluffy and evenly incorporated. Refrigerate buttercream until you’re ready to frost.

  • Spread frosting over each cupcake and finish by decorating with mini marshmallows. Enjoy your cupcakes while you’re snowed in and remember to bend with your knees when you inevitably have to go out and shovel!

Amy Larson