First made for a chili cookoff, these dark chocolate cupcakes have the zing and deep, rich flavor of dried ancho chile and cayenne pepper. They are frosted with a chili-flavored cream cheese frosting, and each cupcake is decorated with a cute dried chili on top.
- 1 (18.25 ounce) box devil's food chocolate cake mix
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground ancho chile pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 ¼ cups water
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs eggs
- 1 teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar, or more as needed
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ½ teaspoon clear vanilla extract, or to taste
- 24 peppers small dried red chiles
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.
- Empty the boxed cake mix into a mixing bowl, and whisk in 1 1/2 teaspoon of ground ancho chile and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat in the water, vegetable oil, and eggs; beat for 2 minutes. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake cups, filling them 2/3 full.
- Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Remove and cool completely before frosting.
- In a bowl, sift 1 teaspoon of ground ancho chile, 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and the cinnamon with the confectioners' sugar. Beat in the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until the frosting is smooth; mix in the vanilla extract. Spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes in attractive swirls, and poke a small dried chile, stem-side up, into the frosting as a garnish.