Thursday, April 17, 2008

Holy Smokes! Serrano Chili Cayenne Pepper Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcake with Cinnamon Cayenne Pepper Chocolate Ganache Frosting


Hi friends! This cupcake began as an experiment on my behalf after a friend told me about the Dagoba chocolate bar with chilies and nibs. Yum! I know the trend, for a while, has been to include hot peppers in chocolates and I will admit to be one of the many followers of this phenomenon! I love it! There are many talented bakers who have already experimented in their own special way with powders and chocolates, peppers and candies. This is my attempt to "join the popular kids" with the peppers and chocolates.

If you love foods with a little bit of heat or anything spicy ~ you will absolutely devour this cupcake! There are two wonderful parts to this cupcake 1) While it may seem complicated, this is such an EASY recipe and 2) The ingredients are SURPRISING. You can actually determine how hot you like this cupcake temperature by the amount of pureed Serrano peppers and ground Cayenne pepper you add to the chocolate batter. The Cinnamon will accentuate the peppers and add depth of flavor which reaches new heights with every bite. The chocolate ganche with cinnamon and cayenne has an unexpected but delightful sensation which leaves a fun tingle after you are finished eating. Somehow that sounds naughty, but it is quite good!

I received mixed reviews on this cupcake; but I love to hear both sides! Some people told me the "heat" felt like they just ate salsa with out getting the benefit of eating the chips. While others who tried the cupcakes, grabbed two and three at time because they loved it so much. I had a cadet sing me Luciano Pavarotti in the most glorious voice you could imagine, in the hallway of my work, he brought tears to my eyes he was so good! He then scampered off with a cupcake; with a mouthful he told me how much he loved it. I suppose it depends on the taste buds of the eater.

Either way, this is not your average cupcake. You will enjoy the reaction from your friends when they exclaim "What did you just say this is?" It's priceless!

Best!

Serrano Chili Cayenne Pepper Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
9 Tbsp. Cayenne pepper, to taste
1-2 Tbsp. Serrano chili peppers, pureed, to taste

NOTE: The Cayenne and Serrano Chili peppers are adjustable ingredients, so add them to taste.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with cupcake papers. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.

4. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

6. Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated. Then add the cinnamon, Cayenne pepper and Serrano pepper puree.

7. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

8. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full.

9. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

10. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Cinnamon Cayenne Pepper Chocolate Ganache
2 cups (about) bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup cream
4 Tbsp. Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tsp. ground Cinnamon

1. In a double boiler, melt bittersweet chocolate pieces and cream together until smooth.

2. Add Cayenne pepper and Cinnamon until combine.

3. Put mixture in the refrigerator until cooled, then pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes.

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