As part of my continuing effort to get my blog out into the world, I’m entering this month’s Cupcake Hero event, hosted by quirky cupcakes. The theme this month is cocoa powder. I had a fairly short amount of time between discovering this contest last week, and getting an entry in by May 30, and so I decided to go with an old favorite: Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes. I’ve made these cupcakes 3 or 4 times now, and used the basic chocolate cake in other recipes, because it produces such a moist cupcake.
This recipe combines chocolate with cinnamon, vanilla, and chili powder to create a cupcake that has a very warm feel to it, which is really the only way I can think to describe it. The cinnamon and chocolate in the cupcakes give them a nice flavor, which is given a bite by the ancho chili powder and cayenne in the ganache frosting. All the spices really serve to bring out the flavor of the cocoa. I topped these with chunks of Mexican chocolate I got at a local grocery store called “Foods of All Nations,” but you could probably find some at any Mexican Grocer. These cupcakes will also fill your house with the wonderful smell of baking cinnamon and chocolate as they cook.
A note on spices: when it comes to spices, I tend to think it’s a more a matter of personal preference than of following a recipe. I like these cupcakes pretty heavily spiced, but the levels can be adjusted to your own preferences. If you’re not afraid of raw eggs (I’m not), taste the batter to see if you think it has enough cinnamon. And make sure to taste the ganache, because it has chili powder in it, which might scare some people away. For the frosting I would start on the low side with the chili powders, then gradually add more until you like the taste you have.
Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 14 cupcakes1 stick (1/2 Cup) unsalted butter
¼ Cup cocoa powder
3/8 Cup of water
1 Cup sugar
¼ Cup well shaken buttermilk
1 Tbs vanilla paste (or extract)
1 Cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
2 heaping tsp cinnamon (Use good quality cinnamon for this if you can get it. It’s worth it. I used Siagon Cassia)
1/8 tsp Salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over low heat. Add in the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Then add the water and mix until smooth again. Remove from heat
2. One at a time mix in the sugar, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla
3. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt
4. Sift the dry ingredients over the wet, and whisk until well combined.
5. Fill cupcakes using a ¼ cup measure. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let them cool thoroughly before frosting.
Chocolate – Chili Ganache2/3 cup heavy cream
6 oz semisweet chocolate
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs Ancho Chili powder (I would not recommend subbing in regular chili powder here, the taste is very different)
A pinch of cayenne pepper (this will make it hot fast, use it to your tastes)
1. Put the cream and butter in a small, heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Bring the cream to a simmer.
2. Put the chocolate and chili powders in a heat proof bowl. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for a minute, then whisk together.
3. Taste the ganache, add more chili powder to suit your taste. Be aware that it will get spicier when it cools off
1. Use an offset spatula to frost the cupcakes. Try to be gentle, these cupcakes are a little delicate, and if you frost them with too much force, you might tear the cupcakes in half.
2. Put a piece of chocolate on the top of the cupcake.