Ok parents, raise your hand if your kids love chocolate! What about cupcakes? Do you see where I’m going with this?
Usually I don’t do a whole lot of sweets baking, but I was testing out a recipe for a baking contest. While I don’t eat too many sweets myself nowadays, I do still love to come up with new recipes and enter them in the occasional contest. As it turned out, I was going to be out of town the weekend of the contest but I figured I’d try out the recipe anyway and share the goodies with my co-workers. And so was born, my kinda-spicy, super moist, chocolate chili cupcakes (with a candied jalapeno!).
Now, I know you are probably thinking, What?!?! Chocolate CHILI cupcakes? Eww. No I swear they are so good! The chili in the cupcakes isn’t “chug a glass of milk” spicy but it adds a nice heat as an after thought when finishing the rich chocolate-y espresso goodness of the cupcake.
So gather your little bakers, your ingredients, and your apron and let’s get started. As a note, when working with chilis and jalapenos, I would recommend the adult handling those items. There’s plenty of fun mixing and measuring for the kiddos to do without getting involved in the spicy parts that could accidentally leave residue on their hands.
P.S. Something super great about the cupcake batter? There is no dairy, egg, or animal products! Unfortunately, they are not gluten free, but don’t worry, I’ll have gluten free dessert posts later!
Ingredients for batter (makes approx 12 cupcakes)
- 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp chili powder
- 4 tbsp ancho chili powder (I bought dried ancho chillis and ground them myself in my blender)
- 1 cup brewed coffee (I used espresso because I love it’s richness, but any will do)
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract (stay tuned for a blog post on how to make your own vanilla extract!)
- 6 tbsp (1/4 cup + 2 2tbsp) olive oil
Now, let’s put those measuring and math skills to the test (for the kids of course)! Have your little one measure out all the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, salt, chili powders) into a medium bowl and give them a quick whisk to incorporate.
In a separate bowl measure out and mix the wet ingredients (brewed coffee, vinegar, vanilla, and olive oil).
Pour the wet into the dry and mix just until it comes together. Do not over mix. Batter may be a bit runny, that’s totally ok!
In a lined muffin tin, scoop the batter about 3/4 into each liner and bake at 350 for about 18 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let them cool and try not to eat them all up before they get a little icing on them! Or do, they are pretty darn good without it too, and the smell is heavenly!
Ingredients for icing
- 1 8oz pkg of cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup (half a stick) of un-salted butter, softened but not melted
- 1 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 3 tbsp ancho chili powder
- a dash of cinnamon
In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Set in the fridge to let it cool off a bit and then frost your cupcakes! Leftover icing should be stored in the refrigerator.
For the candied jalapenos, just slice up a couple of good sized jalapenos into circles and remove the seeds. Give them a bath in 1 cup of boiling water and 1/2 cup of sugar for about 5 minutes. Strain the water out, press them dry between some paper towels and then roll them around in granulated sugar. Knock off the excess sugar and let them dry a little longer before garnishing the cakes! This step is totally optional, the cupcakes are pretty great without the jalapeno!