Irish Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Spice Infused Buttercream Frosting

Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Soy Free Hot Chocolate Cupcake with Cinnamon Nutmeg Spice Buttercream Frosting Icing

Irish Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Spice Infused Buttercream Frosting


A moist and flavorful Irish cream and amaretto packed spiced chocolate cupcake just in time for St. Patrick’s Day!!  These Irish Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Spice Infused Buttercream Frosting have the essence of cool weather flavors (rich with cinnamon and nutmeg infused milk) and are kissed with Bailey’s Irish cream and a bit of amaretto liquor. If you like chocolate, spices, cool weather, moist cake, or light and flavorful frosting – then these cupcakes have your name on them!! (And if you can’t have Bailey’s or amaretto due to allergies, no worries! Even without – the spice infused frosting and deliciously flavored moist cupcake still will have your taste buds on edge!!)

Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Soy Free Hot Chocolate Cupcake with Cinnamon Nutmeg Spice Buttercream Frosting Icing

No need to stir this spiced (& spiked) hot chocolate!!

These decadent Irish Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Spice Infused Buttercream Frosting were inspired by the most delicious, warm and comforting adult “Loaded Hot Chocolate that I enjoyed at Bryan Voltaggio’s Family Meal on my first trip to downtown Frederick, Maryland with some wonderful food blogger ladies (Kristy at The Wicked Noodle, Shannon at Shannon Morgan Creative, Andrea at Andrea Meyers: making life delicious, and Liza at (a)Musing Foodie).

After an hour and a half plus drive in light snow (which means horrible traffic when you live in the DC area) and getting lost with my GPS on my way to meet everyone (sorry again about being late :(), my adult hot chocolate (spiked with Bailey’s and amaretto) calmed me right on down. 😉 (Andrea took this great picture of my hot chocolate before my first sip.) I have had hot chocolate with Irish cream before but had never thought of also combining it with amaretto. The Loaded Hot Chocolate at Family Meal was so smooth and heavenly that one of the first things I did the next day was buy some Bailey’s and amaretto to share some adult hot chocolate with my husband after putting the kids to bed. Of course, even after a couple nights of adult hot chocolate, we still had quite a bit of Bailey’s and amaretto left over.

If you’ve been paying attention to my blog, you know that cupcakes are my favorite! You also might know that lately I’ve been cooking a lot with quinoa (as I’ve been trying to watch my waistline some). So although not entirely waistline friendly, I decided to use some protein-packed quinoa flour to make these gluten free, allergy friendly Irish Hot Chocolate Cupcakes topped with a swirl of light and airy Spice Infused Buttercream Frosting made from dairy free milk that I infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise. The outcome was decadent, moist, spiced, and flavorful chocolate cupcakes more amazing than I could have imagined!

Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Soy Free Hot Chocolate Cupcake with Cinnamon Nutmeg Spice Buttercream Frosting Icing

The spoon was already there, so I couldn’t resist!

FREE Ingredients

Spice Infused Dairy Free (Rice) Milk

  • 2 cups regular rice milk
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole nutmeg
  • 1 whole star anise

Irish Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 cup spice infused rice milk (recipe below)
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups quinoa flour
  • 1 tsp. plus 1 pinch xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp.  baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp. amaretto liquor**
  • 2 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish Cream**
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • ½ cup water
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Spice Infused Buttercream Frosting

  • ¼ cup dairy free, soy free buttery spread (like Earth Balance)
  • ¼ cup dairy free, soy free shortening (like Spectrum Organic)
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Bailey’s Irish Cream**
  • 2 tsp. amaretto liquor**
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. spice infused rice milk (recipe below)
  • 3 ½ cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
  • Unsweetened baking chocolate, shaved with a box grater (optional)

** Simply omit the spirits to make moist and decadent completely dairy and nut free(non-Irish) Spiced Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Spice Infused Buttercream Frosting.

Method (or Mistakes)

Spice Infused Rice Milk

Best made ahead. The longer you let the spices sit, the more you can taste them in your cupcakes.

  1. Combine rice milk, cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg, and whole star anise in a medium saucepan and heat on medium-high heat until small foam forms on top and milk starts to steam. Your milk will be hot to the touch but not boiling.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool with spices still in milk for about 50 minutes.
  3. Remove star anise but leave other spices sitting in milk. Cover and transfer to refrigerator until ready to use.

Irish Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

These do not call for a lot of Bailey’s Irish cream or amaretto, most of which likely cooks away when baking. So, I was comfortable sharing these with my little ones. However, if you cannot have Bailey’s or amaretto for other reasons (e.g.dairy or tree nut allergies), simply omit to make yummy (non-Irish) Spiced Hot Chocolate Cupcakes – still a perfect treat for St. Patrick’s Day, a cool evening, or anytime you’re yearning for a delicious treat!

  1. Line regular muffin pan with cupcake liners, and preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Stir together spice infused rice milk and apple cider vinegar, and then set aside. (Note: Prepare milk mixture first, so it can sit for at least 5 minutes before adding to the rest of your ingredients. Milk mixture should curdle.)
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cocoa powder. Then set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan, stir together ground flax seeds and water. Heat over high heat until begins to boil, then lower to medium-high heat and let cook for 2 minutes. Mixture will resemble the consistency of egg whites.
  5. In a large bowl, use a hand (or electric) mixer on medium speed to beat together oil, Irish cream, amaretto, and sugar until smooth (about 30 – 60 seconds).
  6. Beat in vanilla.
  7. Beat in flax seed mixture in 2 parts.
  8. On low speed, add milk mixture.
  9. Add flour mixture in 3 parts, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
  10. Use a large cookie scoop or spoon to fill cupcake liners ½ to ¾ of the way full.
  11. Bake in preheated oven for 18 – 20 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick entered in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  12. Let cupcakes cool in pans on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Then remove from pans and sit on rack to cool completely.

Spice Infused Buttercream Frosting

  1. Use a hand (or electric) beater to beat together buttery spread and shortening.
  2. Beat in Irish cream, amaretto, and vanilla extract.
  3. Gradually sift in 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, beating on low.
  4. On low speed, beat in 2 tbsp. spice infused rice milk.
  5. Add in more powdered sugar and spice infused rice milk (as needed).
  6. Beat on high for 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  7. Pipe or spread spice infused buttercream frosting over completely cooled cupcakes.
  8. (Optional) For added decoration, use a small spoon to sprinkle a bit of shaved unsweetened baking chocolate over spice infused buttercream frosting.

Store any uneaten cupcakes within 24 hours in an airtight container in your refrigerator.


Hot chocolate never tasted so good!! I am not the only one who thought these Irish Hot Chocolate Cupcakes were amazingly yummy! Everyone commented on how moist and light the cupcake was, and how unbelievably delicious and flavorful the (spiked) Spice Infused Buttercream Frosting was. Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Soy Free Hot Chocolate Cupcake with Cinnamon Nutmeg Spice Buttercream Frosting Icing

I found it interesting how different people tasted different flavors – some commented on how the flavor of the Irish cream really came through but not so much the spices, while others said that they could taste the cinnamon and nutmeg more than anything else. I think it depended what part of the hot chocolate cupcake you were focusing on. If your focus was on the cake, you would really taste the flavor of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise infused rice milk; however, if the frosting was your point of focus, I found the Bailey’s Irish cream to be the flavor that really popped. And then, if you just wanted to focus on how your taste buds would react to the flavors of the Irish Hot Chocolate Cupcake topped with a swirl of light and airy Spice Infused Buttercream Frosting as a whole, well then welcome to heavenly pleasure! :)

Because these Irish hot chocolate cupcakes use very little of the spirits that I used to make my husband and I our adult hot chocolate, they were safe for my children to enjoy. However, I admit having hesitated for a second when Baby Girl and Little Man insisted on “cleaning” the beaters and bowl after I finished fluffing the spice infused buttercream frosting. Little Man kept commenting on how much he loved the “best frosting ever!!”  And Baby Girl kept looking for more after licking her beater clean. I likely would have been more worried if the flavor of the buttercream had been more like the not-so-mild rum flavor in my Rum Raisin Cupcakes with Yummy Rummy Glaze and Frosting.

Surprisingly, these Irish Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Spice Infused Buttercream stay moist for days in the fridge! I usually freeze uneaten cupcakes to prevent them from drying out, but even a week later (simply in an airtight container in the refrigerator), these cupcakes were still moist! Perhaps it is another benefit of quinoa flour? Or maybe this is what happens when you spike cupcakes with Bailey’s and amaretto? I bet they likely could have kept even longer – that is if we actually could have resisted eating them any longer. 😉

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

Featured on: Slightly Indulgent Tuesday; Allergy Free Wednesday via The Willing Cook; Heavenly Treats Sunday; and Thank Goodness It’s Quinoa

Pamela's Heavenly Treats

Shared on Made From Scratch Monday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, On The Menu Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Gluten Free Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, What’s In Your Kitchen Wednesday, HungryLittleGirlWednesday Extravaganza, Tasty Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Gluten Free Friday, Thank Goodness It’s Quinoa, The Weekend re-Treat, Heavenly Treats Sunday, Scrumptious Sunday, One Creative Weekend

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