All Aboard The Hot Cocoa Cupcake Train!

I always have these big ambitions for the blog at the beginning of every month. About two weeks ago, I came up with a list of all holiday books to cover… how many have you seen? That’s right, a big, fat 0. None.


I blame the holiday shopping pressure for my lack of blogging. I just had to spend two hours online to get the best deal on a top secret present that I cannot disclose to the World Wide Web. I also had- just had, to go to twelve stores searching for a lingering Super Soaker, only to end up with a Nerf gun and an argument with a Target employee on why they can carry swimsuits and not Super Soakers.

 I’m a mess- a mess without a Super Soaker.

 So to get the season started about two weeks too late, I made a holiday treat inspired by The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. The Polar Express quickly became a classic tale of a young boy’s journey to understand the spirit of Christmas.

The Little Boy is awoken on Christmas Eve by the sounds of Santa’s sleigh. As he peers out his window, he sees a train filled with children laughing and drinking hot cocoa. When they reach the city, Santa allows the little boy to pick out his gift first. He chooses  a small silver bell from Santa’s sleigh.

 After the festivities, the children board the train to go home and the little boy realizes that his silver bell fell through a hole in his pocket. Brokenhearted, he goes home.

On Christmas morning, the little boy’s sister finds a small box for him among their presents. Inside is the little silver bell. The boy believes in the spirit of Christmas and continues to hear the ringing of Santa’s sleigh as he grows up.

The only thing better than drinking hot cocoa is eating hot cocoa. And what other way to drink and eat hot cocoa than with hot cocoa loaded with Bailey’s Irish Cream? After holiday shopping who doesn’t need a little boozy pick-me-up.

Bailey’s Hot Cocoa Cupcakes

Ingredients (For Cupcakes):

1/2 Cup butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 Cups white sugar

2 Eggs

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Cup buttermilk

3 Tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream liquor

1 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour

3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Ingredients (For Frosting):

2 Cups powdered sugar

1/2 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 1/2 Cups mini marshmallows

6 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream liquor (optional)

1/4 Cup whole milk

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract.

Ingredients (For Topping):

1 Cup heavy cream

3 Tablespoons white sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract

12 Mini marshmallows (optional)

1/4 Cup chocolate shavings (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cream  1/2 cup butter and  1 1/2 cup sugar together. Then, add 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon  vanilla extract. Beat until creamy and lighter in color.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together 1 1/4 cups flour, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and  1/2 teaspoon salt.
  4. Alternate adding the dry ingredients with 1 cup buttermilk into the wet ingredients. The mix in 3 tablespoons Bailey’s
  5. Once all incorporated, pour batter into lines cupcake tin. makes 12 cupcakes.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool before frosting
  7. For the frosting, mix together 2 cups powdered sugar and 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder in a large bowl.
  8. In a saucepan, melt together 4 tablespoons butter, 1 cup of mini marshmallows, 2 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream liquor, 1/4 cup whole milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Once they are all melted together, let cool for 10 minutes. Then add this to the powdered sugar and cocoa mixture. Mix until combined.
  9. In a clean saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 1 cup of mini marshmallows. Once all melted together, add the warm marshmallow mixture in with your other ingredients. Mix  until it the frosting is thick. Chop up 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows and add it to the frosting. mix until mini marshmallow chunks are distributed throughout. Frost your cupcakes.
  10. For the whip topping, whip 1 cup heavy cream with an electric mixer until it forms peaks. This should take about 2-3 minutes. Then add 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat for another 5-10 seconds. I filled a pastry bag and used a star tip to pipe big mountains of whipped topping on top of my cupcakes. I finished by garnishing them with some chocolate shavings and a marshmallow on top.


“I don’t think ordinary things are very interesting, so I try to imagine a world that is less ordinary.” ~ Chris Van Allsburg

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