Aztec Chile Chocolate Cupcakes

Cap off a Mexican meal with this distinctive chocolaty dessert. It's a sweet and spicy delight!

Yield

24 cupcakes

Cupcakes Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ancho chile pepper powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 cup hot water
2/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
3/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated (white) sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Shards Ingredients

1 (11.5 ounce) bag milk chocolate chips (2 cups)

Cinnamon-Chocolate Frosting Ingredients

1/2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled
3 cups confectioners' (powdered) sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee powder or granules
about 3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Prepare the muffin pan by placing 24 baking cups in the cavities or by coating the cavities with Pan Release or baking spray with flour.

In medium bowl, mix flour, chile pepper powder, baking soda, salt, baking powder and red pepper; set aside. In small bowl, mix hot water and cocoa until dissolved; set aside.

In large bowl, beat shortening with electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Gradually add granulated sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping bowl occasionally. Beat 2 minutes longer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture, about one-third at a time, and cocoa mixture, about half at a time, beating just until blended.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each with about 3 tablespoons batter or until about two-thirds full.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans; place on wire cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, line baking sheet with foil. In 1-quart saucepan, melt chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Remove from heat. Spread chocolate to 1/8-inch thickness on baking sheet. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until set. Break into pieces; reserve.

In large bowl, mix butter and melted unsweetened chocolate. Stir in powdered sugar and cinnamon. Stir coffee powder into 2 tablespoons milk until dissolved. With spoon, beat coffee mixture into powdered sugar mixture. Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until smooth and spreadable. Frost cupcakes. Garnish with chocolate shards.

Estimated Time

Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Additional Information

To complete the Mexican-inspired theme, serve with dulce de leche ice cream.

Nutritional Information

1 Serving (1 Cupcake): Calories 360 (Calories from Fat 150), Total Fat 17 g (Saturated Fat 8 g, Trans Fat 1 1/2 g), Cholesterol 30 mg; Sodium 220 mg; Total Carbohydrate 46 g (Dietary Fiber 2 g, Sugars 35 g), Protein 3 g; Exchanges: 1 Starch; 2 Other Carbohydrate; 3 1/2 Fat; Carbohydrate Choices: 3

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