Sunday, July 24, 2011

Jennifer's Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes With Dulce de Leche Filling

This is my beautiful friend Jennifer.
Yes, this is what she really looks like.
And she's had two children.

Jennifer is smart, funny, gorgeous (duh) and hard working.
Like, hard working as in put yourself through college while working two jobs and raising two children as a single mother, hardworking.
Like, I want more for my children than I had and I'm going to make sure that happens, hardworking.
Like, bought an adorable house on her own before she graduated from college so her children would have a great place to live, hardworking.  And literally wrapped it up with a bow and gave it to them for Christmas.

She's one of the most positive people I have ever met, sensitive, funny, loyal, empathetic, smart.  And clearly photogenic.  Yes, I will again tell you this is what she really looks like.  And, as if that's not unfair enough, she's a freaking twin! 
(And she's single if you know someone who is NOT A LOSER who would be interested!)
And this is how she normally is. . .

Jennifer graduated from college in May, and her birthday was last week.
Her cupcake request for each celebration was Mexican Hot Chocolate cupcakes.
At first I thought she was crazy. 
Now?  Brilliant.
They're the perfect combination of spicy and sweet.
With a surprise in the middle!

Image via

For the cake:

  • 1 box (18.25 oz.) Devil’s Food cake mix or favorite chocolate cake mix
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon New Mexico red chile powder
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
Pour the dry cake mix into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the cinnamon, chile powder, salt, pepper, and flour. Add the water, oil, and eggs and mix with an electric mixer at low speed until moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake at 350 for 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.

For the Dulce de Leche Filling:
  • 1 cup of high quality caramel ice cream topping
Using a spoon, knife, or small scoop, remove a small portion of the top center of each cupcake. Spoon caramel sauce (the thickerthe better) into this center part of the cupcake.

For the Icing:
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
In a large bowl, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Slowly add the brown sugar (make sure you use fresh, soft brown sugar or else the cream will come out grainy), mixing until the cream is thick enough to pipe on top of cupcakes. Stir in the cayenne. Spoon cream into a large pastry bag (or ziploc bag), then pipe it on top of cupcakes, over the caramel filling. Sprinkle with chopped chocolate and red chili peppers for garnish.

Note:  These are not as spicy as you think they will be.  You control the spice with the level of red chili flakes you use for garnish.  They are not as difficult as you think they will be to make either - really a pretty quick, fancy cupcake.  Enjoy!

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