Mexican Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes

I’ve always liked how sour cream works in a cake recipe. You do end up using a bit less butter and it helps produce a nice, moist cake. Brown sugar also helps retain moisture better than white sugar, plus it develops bonus chew factor, so I decided to use all brown sugar and no white sugar this time. In fact, I opted for dark brown sugar, but light brown sugar would work fine as well.

These cupcakes were a hit, though I do feel that the frosting was a tad sweet. Who knows, my opinion on that may change tomorrow. After all, I had taste tested quite a bit…

While I’m certainly no cake decorator, that didn’t stop the Mexican chocolate flavor from shining through. I’ve been meaning to experiment more with Mexican chocolate ever since I made this Mexican chocolate ice cream back in March. That chocolate has been sitting in the cabinet just calling my name, so I finally caved in and came up with this great cupcake recipe. If you’ve never baked with Mexican chocolate, it adds a distinctive flavor as it’s already infused with cinnamon and other spices.

I had some monkeys in my tree today as there was a half day at school, so I asked them to taste test for me. I am happy to report that this recipe is kid tested and approved. :) Every one of them asked if there was pumpkin in them. Ha ha! That’s because of the spices used in the recipe, just like you would in pumpkin pie or cake, but I assure you, there’s no trace of pumpkin in this cake. And so now, on with the show :)

ANOTHER DELICIOUS IDEA >>  TWD: Low and Luscious Chocolate Cheesecake

Mexican chocolate comes in discs. Each disc can be broken or cut into 8 pieces. If you weigh one disc it’s about 3.1 ounces. So to get 4 ounces you will need two additional triangles.

Yes, that’s a postage scale.

Why the sprinkles? I figure everyone will try a cupcake that has non-pareils on it. No?

Mexican Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes
an Amanda’s Cookin’ original recipe
printable version

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 oz Mexican chocolate (like Ibarra or Abuelita) (1 disc plus 2 triangles)
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk

1 disc (3.1 oz) Mexican chocolate
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups sifted powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F and line muffin tins with cupcake liners (makes 24 cupcakes).

Coarsely chop the chocolate and place in a glass or metal bowl over a simmering pot of water. Mexican chocolate contains sugar and cinnamon and will not melt smooth and shiny the way regular chocolate does. Just keep checking it and gently mashing it with a heavy rubber spatula. It will melt into more of a paste-like consistency. Turn off heat and place chocolate in a room temperature bowl to cool while to make the batter.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, chili powder, nutmeg and allspice. Set aside.

With mixer on medium speed beat the butter in electric mixer until creamy. Add the dark brown sugar and beat for a minute or two more.

ANOTHER DELICIOUS IDEA >>  TWD: Rick Katz’s Brownies for Julia

With mixer still on medium speed, add one of the eggs, beat for one minute. Add the other egg and the vanilla and beat one minute more.

Turn the mixer down to medium low and add the chocolate, mixing until homogenous.

Alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream and milk. When all ingredients have been added, scrape down the bowl if necessary and beat on medium speed for two minutes.

Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for 25-28 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Make the Frosting

Coarsely chop the Mexican chocolate. Microwave the whipping cream for 20 seconds, cream should be hot to the touch. Add the chopped chocolate to the hot cream and stir, melting the chocolate. Continue stirring until no more solid pieces remain. Set aside.
Using the whisk attachment, beat the butter in an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Turn mixer down to medium low and add the sour cream, vanilla and salt. Next, add the chocolate/cream mixture. Mix until combined then turn off and scrape down the sides of the bowl. With mixer still turned off, add the powdered sugar. Turn mixer on the lowest setting and allow to mix until most of the sugar has been incorporated. Scrape down bowl again and once all is combined, turn mixer up to medium speed and allow to mix for 2-3 minutes, or until creamy.
Frost as is or fill a pastry bag and pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

(If you enjoyed this post, I’d truly appreciate a stumble, Digg, facebook share, whatever you like! :) )

NEW! Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter, Foodie in the Craftroom, to receive updates and tips from both Amanda’s Cookin’ and Crafts by Amanda! Visit


  1. Estela @ Weekly Bite says

    I had no idea that brown sugar retains more moisture than white?! Great tip!

    These cupcakes look delicious! I love mexican chocolate!

  2. Amanda says

    Thanks you guys :) I'm still thinking the frosting is a little on the sweet side. The cupcakes were great, would probably be equally good with plain chocolate frosting or chocolate frosting with cinnamon added :)

  3. Fallon says

    They look great! I love adding sour cream or plain yogurt to cake recipes. Really makes for a different type of cake but moist and delicious.

  4. Angie says

    These look great, and your so right about the sprinkles, the last bake sale we did, I did all the cupcakes (no sprinkles), and they're were several people that complained about the cupcakes not having sprinkles, everybody's a kid, so funny.

  5. Megan says

    Your amazing Amanda! I swear these were just in the oven and you have them already posted. A very tasty posting, I might add! :)

  6. Lana @ Never Enough Thyme says

    I can just imagine what that combination of nutmeg and allspice with the little bit of chili does for the flavor of these! What a great recipe, Amanda!

  7. Nutmeg Nanny says

    These look great! I love sour cream in baked goods…always makes them super moist. I have yet to find Mexican chocolate in my store but I have been keeping my eyes open :)

  8. Amanda says

    Angie – people are funny aren't they?? LOL

    Megan – Sheer luck. I still have tons of posts not entered yet haha!

    Nanny – I can't find it at my regular store or Walmart, but was able to find it at a large grocer around here. See if you have a Mexican deli or store nearby, they are sure to have it :)

    Amalia, Fallon, Sarah, Lana, Gera – thank you all so much!

  9. Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food says

    I was so intrigued by your last recipe with Mexican chocolate, and now I'm doubly so. Your ideas of including sour cream, chili, nutmeg, and allspice here really put these beauties in the must-make category.

  10. Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] says

    I love a good chocolat e cupcake. What's the difference between Mexican chocolate and regular, though?

  11. Amanda says

    Thanks you guys!

    Avamika – Mexican chocolate contains sugar, cinnamon and other spices :) it's most often used for making hot chocolate and sometimes mole sauce, but can also be used in baked goods! ;)

  12. Paula says

    Have never cooked with Mexican chocolate. Guess I will have to start watching for it at the grocery store so I can try these.

  13. marla {family fresh cooking} says

    There are so many great ingredients in these cupcakes I hardly know where to start. The sour cream & all of those spices sound awesome as does the addition of brown sugar. xo

  14. Amanda says

    Paula – I haven't had the greatest luck finding it in grocery stores unless they are a big chain or located in a Hispanic community. You can buy it online though if you can't find it :)

    Thanks marla! They really were fabulous!

  15. Rose Plated says

    This is so fun! Looking at the cupcakes made me really want to try this out! My daughters will definitely love this! Thanks for sharing this recipe! Gotta prepare the ingredients!

    • Amanda Formaro says

      Look in the ethnic section of your grocery store, near all the Mexican condiments etc. Ibarra and Abuelita are common brands.

  16. Erica says

    Hello! I’m making these tomorrow for my hubby’s bday- you shoul know I’ve looked through dozens o recipes for Mexican chocolate cupcakes and yours is the ONLY recipe that actually uses mexcanchocolate and not cocoa with cinnamon.

    My question is do these need to be stored in the fridge? The sour cream/ cream in the frosting are making me think yes? Thanks so much!!

    • says

      Oh woops, they can be kept out for a while, but yes the fridge would be best for extended periods :) A couple hours on the counter should be fine though.

  17. Rebecca Pearce says

    I wanted to make this cake tonight for an occasion tomorrow, (my birthday dinner) but wanted to convert it to either a sheet cake or two 8″ rounds. Possible? What baking time alteration would you suggest? (I know if I use a glass pan I need to reduce the heat by 25*).

    And would the frosting still be a sufficient amount? (I wish I had asked sooner but just didn’t think of it – was going to guess and cross my fingers…)

    Looking forward to this…

    • says

      Happy birthday! The recipe makes 24 cupcakes so it should be okay for a 13×9 pan. As for the frosting, I would probably make 1 1/2 times the recipe for the frosting, just to be safe. Always seems like you use less frosting on cupcakes than you do on a cake. Worst thing that could happen is you would have too much frosting to put on the cake. Better to have too much, than not enough! Yes, glass pan, reduce heat by 25 degrees. Usually for a 13×9 pan you’ll bake around 35 minutes compared to 22-24 minutes for cupcakes. So i would suggest setting the timer for 28 minutes and start checking it. Touch the cake gently and if it bounces back, it’s done. It could take up to 35-40 minutes though. Good luck, I hope you like it!

        • Rebecca Pearce says

          Just by way of follow up – the cake turned out perfectly. It’s the only cake I’ve ever had that is better without ice cream, so the subtleties and layers of spices can come through. As for the icing, I did 1 1/2 times all ingredients except the powdered sugar – used four cups and whipped it until it was very light. There was a LOT of frosting left over (easily 2 cups!). So of course, strawberries for dipping is on today’s grocery list. (c:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>