Some Like it Hot: Hot Cocoa Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Summer is totally awesome and all, but it seems to me as if there are way too many light, fruit-based and altogether too-virtuous desserts that prevail during those hot and sunny months. But as the days gradually start to get shorter and cooler, there's a sure-fire antidote, which can be summed up in three beautiful words: Hot Cocoa Cake. This is not a cake for wimps: it's unimaginably rich and decadent. Often, recipes for it call for a fudge-like frosting to be applied directly to the still-hot cake; however, as I've always preferred chocolate desserts that have a flavor contrast, I tried them with cream cheese frosting on a whim. The flavor combination works like a dream; when served at a party, they disappeared rather quickly.

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

For the cakes (makes about 18; adapted from this recipe):

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 sticks (4 oz. ea) butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs, beaten

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Mix together flour, sugar, and salt. 
  3. In a saucepan, bring the butter, cocoa, and water to boil and pour over flour mixture. 
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixture and stir well. 
  5. Fill cupcake cups 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes. Because you won't see the cakes browning at the edges, use a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake to test doneness.
  7. Once cool, frost generously with cream cheese frosting; if desired, garnish with walnuts.
Cream Cheese FrostingWalnuts
For the frosting:



  • 1 (8)-ounce package of cream cheese, softened (do not substitute low-fat; it just doesn't work the same way)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 6 cups confectioners' sugar (depending on your desired consistency)
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt until the butter is completely incorporated into the cream cheese and it has a smooth consistency. Add the confectioners' sugar cup by cup, stirring after each addition, until it has reached the desired consistency.