If using a stand mixer, use your wire whisk attachment for the cake.
The original recipe called for mini chocolate chips in the cake batter. I'm not sure I'd add those again; if I hadn't made them myself, I'd probably wonder why there were chunks of chocolate in the cake. I've removed them from the recipe, but if you want to try it, stir in 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips to the cake batter prior to filling cupcake liners.
Use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer for the frosting.
To decorate, I used mini chocolate chips and Kraft Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits. For a more festive look, or to just add a minty flavor, add crushed peppermints and miniature candy canes (as "mug" handles).
HOT COCOA CUPCAKES
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup prepared hot cocoa, cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 packages hot cocoa mix
1/3 cup hot water
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line cupcake pan.
Make one serving of hot cocoa; allow to cool.
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in stand mixer bowl using the wire whisk attachment.
Add oil, prepared hot cocoa, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until well combined.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.
Bake 18-22 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean).
Remove from oven, wait about 10 minutes, and transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool.
Combine cocoa mix and water in a large stand mixing bowl.
Beat in butter and vanilla.
Gradually beat in powdered sugar.
Beat on high until smooth and creamy (7-10 minutes).