Mexican chocolate cupcakes: Can you handle the heat?

Cayenne pepper.

Just typing that made a little bonfire ignite in my mouth.

I’ve never been one to dive into spicy foods, though I do fancy myself an eclectic, open-minded omnivore. There aren’t too many things — especially desserts — I won’t try, and I find myself getting more and more adventurous with my culinary habits as I get older. And braver.

So when I stumbled across this recipe for Mexican chocolate cupcakes months ago, the instructions immediately went in my “to be baked” file — and Tuesday night seemed as good a time as any to indulge in a little baking experiment.

I had no idea how these would turn out, honestly. I mean, we’re talking cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cocoa . . . and all in a cupcake. But life is nothing if we can’t be daring, so I started gathering my ingredients and went in for the kill.

And these? These are delicious. My sister proudly pronounced them “the best thing I’ve ever baked,” which made my little cupcake-loving heart burst with pride. Her boyfriend, a serious spicy-food eater, also loved them, and I brought a dozen into work on Wednesday to share with my dessert-hungry coworkers. They were gobbled up quickly.

“They’re so good,” said Josh, “but the spice makes me feel like a man.”

I’ll take that ringing endorsement, friends. Definitely.


A note on the recipe: Strawberry Pepper is a vegan cooking blog so, by proxy, this recipe is vegan, too. If that doesn’t suit your fancy, no worries — it’s easily adapted. For the frosting, I used regular ol’ butter in place of the vegan butter sticks and skim milk for the soy. It all came out delicious!

Also, I didn’t want to go too bold for my first attempt at these — I used one heaping teaspoon of cayenne pepper instead of the two called for here. Heed my warning: these do have a kick. If you don’t like things too spicy but these still appeal to you, go easy on the cayenne. A little does go a long way.

Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes

Recipe from Strawberry Pepper

3 cups all-purpose white flour (or 1/2 whole wheat pastry, 1/2 white)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cayenne pepper (or less if you’re very sensitive to spice)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups water
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp apple cider or white vinegar

preheat oven to 350 ºF and place liners into a muffin pan
1. In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cayenne pepper together.
2. Add the vegetable oil, water, vanilla, and vinegar to the dry ingredients and stir. Do not over mix; a few clumps are okay.
3. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way, bake for 15-20 minutes or until a knife pulls out clean. Yields 24 cupcakes.

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 to 2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup vegan butter sticks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup soy milk

1. In a medium bowl, mix the cinnamon into the powdered sugar.
2. Add the shortening, butter sticks, vanilla, and soy milk and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
3. Spread over cupcakes (once they are fully cooled) and enjoy!

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21 responses to “Mexican chocolate cupcakes: Can you handle the heat?

  1. Cayenne Pepper with Chocolate? YUM!

    Have you ever been to

  2. Oooh, this looks divine! Thank you for posting the recipe! :)

  3. Spencer

    Don’t forget to add some chocolate chips to make it death-by-heat AND chocolate!!

  4. I just love the sound of these! I really do! I love all hot and spicy food and the thought of cupcakes being spicy just appeals to me.

  5. These sound heavenly. Mr. BFR would love the full-pepper spice.

  6. I am so trying this recipe! Thanks for sharing! :)

  7. Oh, these look so good! I’m going to have to try. Thanks for the head’s up on substituting regular butter and milk for the vegan butter and soy. I wouldn’t even know where to buy vegan butter.

  8. OOOooh MEG! Thanks so much for sharing — these look and sound fabulous! Definitely going to adapt for The Daily Dish! WOOT!

  9. Yum! I will have to make these on the weekend. I was just thinking that it had been too long since I last baked.

  10. In Tucson, there is jalapeno or chipotle in almost all chocolate desserts, and it is fantastic! So I am glad to see this recipe – I know it will be good!

  11. Oh, I do love spicy – these sound divine! Josh’s comment made me laugh!

  12. Looks delicious. I’d stick to the 1 tsp of cayenne too. I like spicy, but not too spicy.

  13. Josh is wise. I think cupcakes are not manly. But since these are so spicy, I’ll indulge! Great recipe.

  14. I’ve had this in my to-bake list too ever since you first shared the link a while back. Now I really need to get around to making them. I love that quote from Josh. In that case, I know some guys who would love these!

  15. Ahhh! I have to have these. Let me rephrase that: I WILL have these. I got into the spicy/sweet thing after having chili chocolate ice cream at a restaurant. I tried to imitate the recipe and failed. If you come across any spicy ice cream recipes that work, let me know! Then I started buying Dark chocolate with chilis made by Lindt. I usually have one piece of it every night after dinner. What a treat!

  16. These sound so good and unique! I’ve never really tried the spicy/sweet combo, but I’m intrigued!

  17. I’m intrigued by these. Ever since my roommate brought home some chocolate and bacon cupcakes, I’ve been curious about different foods that mix unexpectedly with chocolate. I might have to give these a try!

  18. Lovely! My husband and daughter are both vegan. My daughter loves baking vegan cupcakes, and my husband likes to cook, too. I’ve just sent him the link to the Strawberry Pepper blog!

  19. I have never tried this before, but would definitely like to give the cayenne and chocolate a try!

  20. These cupcakes look great! I have never made cupcakes with cayenne pepper but I am intrigued! I need to make these soon! :)