Mayan Chocolate Cupcakes with Cocoa-Cinnamon Buttercream

Ta da!!!  Here it is – the first recipe from last weekend’s cupcake-a-thon.

Mayan.  Chocolate.  Cupcakes.  YUM!

These were without a doubt the crowd favorite of the evening.  Which of course, came as no surprise — who can resist double chocolate?!  But of course, we couldn’t just do plain chocolate.  :)  Decided to add in a hint of cinnamon, chili powder, and cayenne for a fun extra kick.  And thankfully, people loved it!!!!!

As I mentioned in the cupcake-a-thon post, since we were making hundreds of these in one day, I relented and decided to go “semi-homemade”, using a boxed cake mix as the base for the recipe.  But we also used the tips from “Hello Cupcake”, adding in an extra egg and a cup of buttermilk to make the cupcakes extra moist.  (Which sooooo many people commented on — they truly were perfectly moist!)

As much as I’m humbled to admit, using the cake mix, these were some of my favorite cupcakes ever.  So I definitely recommend giving them a try….soon!!  :)

Mayan Chocolate Cupcakes with Cocoa-Cinnamon Buttercream

Chocolate featuring subtle hints of cinnamon and spices this Mayan Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Cocoa-Cinnamon Butter-cream Recipe is a crowd-pleaser.


Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 (18.25 oz.) box Devil's Food (or other chocolate variety) cake mix
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 4 eggs

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer dark chocolate cocoa, but any works!)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (more or less to achieve desired consistency)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

Add the first six cake ingredients (cake mix through cayenne) together in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until moistened, about 30 seconds. Add eggs one at a time, until the batter is well-mixed. Increase speed to high and beat until thick, 2 minutes longer.

Pour or scoop the batter into the paper liners until they are 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cupcakes cool on a wire rack.

To Make Frosting:

Cream butter in an electric mixer on medium-speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Then add cocoa powder and cinnamon and mix on low-speed until combined. Gradually add in the milk and powdered sugar, alternately, until combined. Then beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, another 3-5 minutes. (Add in more powdered sugar if consistency is too thin.)


***To frost 24 cupcakes as I did (pictured above), I'd recommend making a double batch of the frosting. But if you're just spreading it on with a knife, one batch should be plenty! :)

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Ali’s Tip:

For an extra kick, try grinding a pinch of ground sea salt on top of these!  It truly kicks them up a notch!  (And then you can tell your friends that they’re “salted cocoa-cinnamon buttercream”!)

Leave a Comment:


  1. TaraTakesTheCake — April 23, 2010 @ 11:35 pm (#)

    just kill me now, these look fantastic (as did all the others!! congrats on such a feat!)

  2. Stephanie — April 24, 2010 @ 4:06 pm (#)

    I stumbled upon your website through Tastespotting, and love it.
    I had to bookmark tons of your recipes to make in the future. They all look so yummy! Can wait to try them! ;o) These cupcakes will be at the top of the list for sure!

  3. Irene — April 24, 2010 @ 11:23 pm (#)

    Oooooh yes, these are perfect for a birthday party I’m going to next weekend! I’m in charge of making dessert and I was totally set on cupcakes. One question – can I make them the night before and refrigerate?

  4. Danae (The Busty Baker) — April 25, 2010 @ 9:17 am (#)

    These look delicious! I love the idea of a little spice in the frosting. And there’s nothing wrong with a box mix, especially when you’re making so many! I’ll have to try the Hello Cupcake additions next time I make some.

  5. Memoria — April 25, 2010 @ 2:29 pm (#)

    Oh yummy! I can just make these with my go-to recipe on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa powder box and then add the spices. Thanks for sharing this! I’ve made Mexican chocolate ice cream, so it will be nice to taste these flavors in cake form.

  6. grace — April 25, 2010 @ 4:10 pm (#)

    awesome. i can’t tell you how much seeing the specks of cinnamon in the frosting excites me. cinnamon rules, and these are fantastic.

  7. Amie — April 26, 2010 @ 12:05 pm (#)

    Oh My, these look wonderful. For some reason calling them ‘mayan cupcakes’ makes them seem so much better, like a lost recipe from the ages that I just have to try. Yummy Yum!

    • ali — April 26th, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

      Hey Amie!

      Ha…I have to credit that one to the guys in my band. I told them chocolate-cinnamon, and then we thought of Mexican Hot Chocolate, but they insisted MAYAN sounded much more “gourmet”. ;) Ha…who knows, but they came up with the name for “Gimme Some Oven”, so I trusted them on this one!


  8. ern — May 3, 2010 @ 5:55 pm (#)

    stumbled upon this recipe through a google search (i was making chocolate cupcakes and always wondered what the chocolate/chili flavor would taste like). when i told my husband what was in them, he said “what, are they mayan or something?” so the name is perfect! and these are incredible! my 2-year old said they were “spicy” but loved them. thanks for sharing!

  9. Andrea Watson — May 25, 2010 @ 12:40 pm (#)

    Dark chocolate is my favorite kind of chocolate. Chocolates have some natural antioxidants too.;.’

  10. Hallie — June 5, 2010 @ 9:23 am (#)

    any suggestions on a cake recipe to use if you wanted to make them entirely from scratch?

  11. Shelbey — August 24, 2010 @ 3:21 pm (#)

    I just made these and OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS! Love ’em! Next up….the Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with Salted Caramel husband loves vanilla and caramel so these will probably be his favorite! I had to do the chocolate first, because, well I am the chocolate lover! These were SO easy too! :)

  12. rita in mi — September 13, 2010 @ 9:11 am (#)

    I love these – just a little hint of ‘something’ that adds to the chocolate flavor. My new favorite cupcake recipe, thanks!

  13. Ruth — April 22, 2011 @ 10:21 am (#)

    i’m going to make these for a fiesta i have coming up, they look fantastic! :D

  14. jennifer — May 9, 2011 @ 6:54 pm (#)

    these were great … i used the dark chocolate in the buttercream and got rave reviews :) all the pics make me want to try to recreate everything i see!

  15. Julie — August 29, 2011 @ 9:08 am (#)

    These cupcakes are amazing! I have the pickiest eater for a son and he LOVED them, even after hearing that they had cayenne and chili pepper in them. What a wonderful, robust flavor! I added the seasalt to the top of the frosting and it was a wonderful touch. I’m no foodie, but I think these are outstanding!

  16. Vanessa — December 16, 2011 @ 5:04 pm (#)

    I just made these and the flavors were awesome!! I am not a baker and have never liked to make anything that requires an exact science. Which for me baking is! lol I was expecting a moist and dense cupcake. Can someone give me some possible reasons why my cupcakes were dry please? Did I over beat the batter possibly? Thanks so much! I am willing to retry it :)

    • Marisa — May 4th, 2013 @ 9:01 pm

      Next time, bake less time. My oven gets HOT, so if it says bake 10 to 15 min, check at 9min, then every 2 min after till toothpick come out clean. Mine are always done in the shorter time. Plus, once out and cooling, there still baking a bit. Good luck!! I made them and there AMAZING!!

  17. Kelly — August 15, 2012 @ 12:57 pm (#)

    I have made these twice now and they are such a hit. Thank you for sharing the recipe. The 2nd time, I replaced the oil with unsweetened applesauce, and I loved them even more. kp

  18. Jen — April 8, 2013 @ 12:47 am (#)

    This cupcake is delicious! I love the cinnamon chocolate combo. I altered to it to a chocolate vegan recipe, the spice are amazing! Thanks for sharing :-)

  19. melissa c — September 23, 2015 @ 2:01 pm (#)

    These cupcakes sound amazing!  I have a request for mexican mocha cupcakes and was wondering if anyone has made these cupcakes and maybe added a little expresso to the mix? Thanks

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 24th, 2015 @ 8:57 am

      Thanks Melissa! Hmmm, we bet adding some instant espresso (mixed with a little hot water) would be a delicious addition to the batter (and even to the buttercream), if you wanted! :)


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