Chocolate Panettone Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting

by Hanelore Dumitrache

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The most fragrant Chocolate Panettone Cupcakes made from a traditional Italian recipe. These mini panettone are incredibly light, fluffy and delicious. Topped with Baileys frosting, these Panettone cupcakes are perfect for Christmas!

Chocolate panettone with chocolate frosting on wooden stand

Traditional Italian Chocolate Panettone

This chocolate panettone cupcake recipe is so incredibly fragrant and tastes authentically Italian. The Baileys hot chocolate frosting adds a layer of intense flavour to this Christmas staple. 

Italian recipes are world-renowned for producing decadent and homely dishes. Everything from the flavours to textures and look screams deliciousness. In order to be true to tradition, I researched long and hard until I found an old Italian recipe for Panettone. This recipe I’m sharing with you today is an adaptation of the original one. It takes some time to make this Panettone, but it’s so incredibly delicious! 

This Christmas I’ve decided to take on a new challenge and reinvent beloved festive recipes. Therefore, I asked my followers on Instagram to challenge me with their favourite Christmas recipes. Panettone came up a few times, along with Baileys Irish Cream hot chocolate. Naturally, I decided that the two would make an amazing combination, and would be quite unique. 

Chocolate panettone mini

How to make panettone

Although panettone is amazing, it’s quite time consuming to make. You will need to set aside 3 days for it, as we are doing it the proper traditional way. 

This chocolate panettone recipe is made with very little yeast, and the dough is prepared in three stages. 

The aromatic mixture

45g acacia honey
1 orange zest
1/2 lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp rum or Baileys

Bowl with ingredients
Aromatic mixture in bowl

 The dough starter 

10g of water
2g of fresh yeast
2g of sugar
15g flour

The first thing we need to prepare is a dough starter. As the dough is so small (literally about 1 tbsp), you will not be able to use a stand mixer. Knead the dough by hand, until it’s less sticky. Be patient and DO NOT add extra flour. You will also need a very exact food scale, as we are using minute quantities (few grams). Prove the dough for 2 hours minimum, until it doubles in volume. 

Dough starter before proving
Dough proving in bowl

The first dough

Dough starter
5g of egg yolk
13g of water
22g of flour
2 g of sugar

Making the first dough is very easy and needs little effort. Simply add more egg yolk, flour, sugar and water over the dough starter. At this point you can put the dough in a stand mixer to combine, scraping the bottom. 

I made the recipe entirely by hand, which was much more difficult than by stand mixer. Rest assured, it’s entirely possible, if you have patience. The dough will be very sticky, so keep kneading it until it’s supple and elastic. 

Let the first dough prove for 2-3 hours.

Second dough before proving
Second dough after proving

The second dough

The first dough
5g of yolk
25g of water
50g of flour
2g of fresh yeast
3g of sugar

Similar to the previous step, the second dough will involve adding more ingredients to the previous dough. Knead well by hand or stand mixer, then let prove for 3-4 hours until it quadruples in size. 

The third dough

The previous dough
25g of egg yolks
135g whole eggs
250g flour
85g sugar
5g salt
Aromatic mixture
75g butter

For the last step, add the remaining ingredients and the aromatic mix and knead well to combine. At this point, the butter is added. This is what makes the panettone extremely light and buttery. Following this, we need to knead until the dough has the ‘windowpane’ effect. 

The final step is adding the chocolate droplets. Make sure to use high quality (preferably Belgian) chocolate. The aromatic mixture and chocolate will work splendidly together! 

Divide the dough into 10 or 12 parts, then cover with cling film and let prove on the worktop. To shape into the final panettone, roll the ball with the palm, whilst holding a ‘cup shape’ with your hand. Press the dough to create tension on the surface of the panettone. 

Panettone dough with aromatic mixture
Panettone dough with butter
Panettone dough with chocolate droplets
Chocolate panettone dough with chocolate droplets

Final proving

Once the dough has been shaped, place the panettone in the paper casings. Let prove for 5-6 hours until the panettone grows really tall. It might take slightly longer (up to 10 hours) depending on the temperature in your house. 

Panettone in wrapper before proving
Panettone in wrapper after proving

Scoring the chocolate panettone

Using a really sharp scalpel, score the top of the panettone in a cross shape. Place a little butter inside the crease to make the top ultra buttery. 

Scoring the panettone
Proved mini panettone in wrappers

Baking the panettone

As soon as the panettone dough hits the oven, your kitchen will start smelling divine. The dough will rise even more, expanding and becoming very puffy. 

The oven temperature needs to be 140C with fan (or 160C without) and the mini chocolate panettone will bake for 25-30 minutes. Once baked, let cool entirely before decorating. 

At this point, the panettone is completely ready and can be served or stored for later. This plain panettone is traditional, but you can also frost it like a cupcake! 

Preparing the Baileys Irish Cream Frosting

This frosting is so incredibly decadent and delicious! It tastes just like hot chocolate made with Baileys Irish Cream and can be used with all sorts of recipes. 

I love using my incredibly smooth and creamy Baileys Frosting with Mascarpone, which is not only easy to make but also delicious!

Chocolate panettone mini with Baileys frosting
Panettone cupcake sliced

If you enjoyed this recipe, you will love these too:

Baileys Frosting with Mascarpone

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

How to Make Creme Patissiere (Vanilla Pastry Cream)

Kinder Bueno Cream Spread

Kinder Bueno Cake

If you’ve tried this recipe out, please don’t forget to rate and comment on this recipe. I love hearing from you, so feel free to reach out to me on social media as well and tag me in your posts!

Chocolate panettone with chocolate frosting on wooden stand

Chocolate Panettone Cupcakes with Baileys Frosting

Hanelore Dumitrache
The most fragrant Chocolate Panettone Cupcakes made from a traditional Italian recipe. These mini panettone are incredibly light, fluffy and delicious. Topped with Baileys frosting, these Panettone cupcakes are perfect for Christmas!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Proofing time 16 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 344 kcal


Aromatic starter

  • 45 g honey
  • 1 orange zest
  • ½ lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 tsp rum or Baileys Irish Cream

Dough starter

  • 10 g water
  • 2 g fresh yeast
  • 2 g sugar
  • 15 g flour

First dough

  • 5 g egg yolk
  • 13 g water
  • 22 g all purpose flour
  • 2 g sugar

Second dough

  • 5 g egg yolk
  • 25 g water
  • 50 g flour
  • 2 g fresh yeast
  • 3 g sugar

Third dough

  • 25 g egg yolk
  • 135 g egg, whole
  • 250 g flour
  • 85 g sugar
  • 5 g salt
  • 75 g butter, softened


  • Prepare the aromatic mixture 24 hours before you start making the dough. Leave covered at room temperature to macerate. 
  • Make a dough starter by mixing all the ingredients. Mix everything together, cover with cling film and let it sit in a warm place until it doubles in volume (1-2 hours). 
  • Prepare the first dough by mixing all the ingredients and the dough starter. Knead everything together for a few minutes and let it prove until the dough triples in volume (2-3 hours). 
  • Prepare the second dough by combining the first dough with all the ingredients listed. Knead everything together until a smooth dough forms. Cover with cling film and let it prove in a warm place until it quadruples in volume (3-4 hours). 
  • Once the dough has quadrupled in volume, it’s time to prepare the third and final dough. Combine together the previous dough and the remaining ingredients.
  • Add the aromatic mixture over the dough and knead until the dough is combined. 
  • Start adding butter in small pieces. Knead well to incorporate before adding the remaining butter. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and stretchy. 
  • Finally, add the chocolate droplets and fold the dough over to incorporate evenly. 
  • Divide the dough in 12 pieces, then shape them into small balls. Place each ball into an individual panettone wrapper. Cover them with a plastic wrap, then let the panettone proof for 8-10 hours.
  • Bake at 140°C (280°F) for 25-30 minutes or until the panettone becomes golden-brown in colour.


  • Due to the small quantities required in this recipe, cups cannot be used.  Use a kitchen scale in grams for accuracy. 
  • Calories – please note that calories are indicative only and estimated for the chocolate panettone without frosting. 
  • Shape – this recipe can be used to make either 12 mini cupcakes or a large panettone. 
  • Storing – cover in cling film once properly cooled. Ensure it is properly wrapped, using multiple layers, then place in an airtight bag. Keep at room temperature for up to 1 week. The panettone can also be frozen for up to 3 months. 
Keyword chocolate

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Nati December 24, 2020 - 12:49 am

Wow! This is the most adorable presentation of panettone i’ve ever seen! 😍

Hanelore December 29, 2020 - 9:43 am

Thank you so much Nati, I’m thrilled that you like it! 😍


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