With the winter months finally upon us, there’s no better way to battle the dark and cold than to curl up on the couch with a good book and a cup of smooth, dark and velvety hot chocolate. This recipe captures that nostalgic feeling in a single delicious bite, with an added dash of peppermint that’s perfect for the holidays. The cupcake itself is a classic dark chocolate cake made with Dutch cocoa powder, coffee and a minimal amount of sugar to bring out the bitter chocolate flavour. What really makes this a hot chocolate cupcake is the frosting – rather than standard American or Swiss buttercream, it’s a pure meringue frosting that tastes just like a handful of marshmallows. Because there is no butter or whipping cream, it’s best to eat these within a day or two or the frosting may begin to wilt. Alternatively you can also make a similar frosting by beating store bought marshmallow fluff with some powdered sugar. Regardless of which method you use, make sure to toast the tops to really bring out the melted marshmallow flavour!
Ingredients (makes 24 mini cupcakes)
- 30g Dutch cocoa powder
- 50g hot coffee
- 100g milk
- 85g flour
- 15g cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 90g butter, softened
- 50g sugar
- 1 large egg
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 100g sugar
- 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 24 well mini cupcake pan with paper liners.
- Bloom the cocoa powder by combining it with the hot coffee. Whisk together until it forms a thick paste. Whisk in the milk until mixture is smooth.
- Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Sift in half the dry ingredients and pour in half the chocolate mixture. Fold together until ingredients are just combined.
- Repeat with the remaining dry and wet ingredients, folding until the mixture forms a thick a batter.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake pan – each well should be around two thirds full.
- Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Let cool completely before piping.
- To make the marshmallow frosting, combine the egg whites, lemon juice and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk everything together until the egg whites begin to foam and sugar is completely dissolved.
- Remove from heat and add the peppermint extract. Using a handheld or stand mixture with whisk attachments, beat on high speed until stiff peaks form and meringue is glossy. Add a few drops of gel food colouring if desired.
- Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a closed star tip. Pipe a small swirl on each cupcake.
- Toast the cupcake tops using a blow torch or open flame stove. Alternatively, place under the broiler for 10 – 15 seconds.