Gimme Some Oven

Mayan Chocolate Cupcakes with Cocoa-Cinnamon Buttercream

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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!! :)


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Mayan Chocolate Cupcakes with Cocoa-Cinnamon Buttercream

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cupcakes 1x


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)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.)


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”!)

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27 comments on “Mayan Chocolate Cupcakes with Cocoa-Cinnamon Buttercream”

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

  2. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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!

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

    • I made them last year for a friend who wanted a Fieata party. My son said these are the best cupcakes I’ve ever made. Now I am making them for a bake sale fund raiser. Easy and Delicious!

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

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

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

  14. 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. 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. 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 :)

    • 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. 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. 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. 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

    • 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! :)

  20. I could only find 15.25oz boxes of cake mix, so to get the volume up to 18.25oz, I added 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour and 3 tablespoons chuao spicy Maya drinking chocolate mix. I also used powdered chilis instead of chili powder (not sure if this is a regional thing, but “chili powder” here includes onion and garlic powder and that sounded weird to me). They turned out great, with just enough kick from the spice to cut the richness of the chocolate. This is a perfect cupcake for fall because it’s so warming.

  21. Ali, thank you for sharing this awesome recipe. These are my husband’s absolute favorite chocolate cupcakes! His birthday is in May, so we usually have a Cinco de Mayo birthday theme for his party. He loves to have these instead of a birthday cake. They are the perfect dessert for the party theme! Sometimes I top them with store-bought Chocolate frosting to save a little time. I’ve also served them with no frosting and just added fresh berries on the side (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries). I’ve been making this recipe at least once a year for 6 years. I’m making them again this weekend! : )

  22. Hi Ali,

    Can this be made in cake form? Are the cake baking instructions the same of you do two round players?

    I would imagine the baking time changes but wondered if you could provide guidance on what time should be used, and temperature.

    Thanks in advance!