Last week one of my friends on Facebook wrote "chilli hot chocolate is just wrong" which got me thinking about strange flavour combinations and how they eventually grow popular. Think back five years or so, who would have eaten pistachio flavoured anything? When I think back ten years, none of my friends ate maple syrup with bacon (what was wrong with them?!) Then I remembered how weirded out I was at the Food Show a few years back when I sheepishly tried a miniscule amount of chilli chocolate with a terrified look on my face, only to find it was actually quite pleasant with a bit of a kick! So I'm pretty sure the chilli chocolate flavour is here to stay.
Here is a recipe I got off a work mate last year, she got this recipe from her friend and the origin is unknown, how exciting! What I like about it is that it uses real chocolate, both in the batter and the icing. I'm also a big fan of recipes that have normal ingredients in them that you're bound to have in the pantry, although sadly I don't always have dark chocolate on hand - I like the idea of it though!
This cupcake has a smooth consistency and actually doesn't cry out CHILLI when you eat it which is great if you're a spicy food wuss like me, but you are welcome to add more chilli if you are game. They have a bit of a kick to them in the after taste and I like that. These are best eaten either the day of or the day after making them, I wouldn't know if they taste great after then, they never last that long to find out!
Chocolate Chilli Cupcakes
Makes approx 34 Cupcakes
Ingredients: 150g Unsweetened Chocolate, finely chopped (I used Whittakers Dark Ghana 72%)
1/4 cup Cocoa
1 cup Boiling Water
1/4 cup Milk, warmed up
1 3/4 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspsoon Chilli Powder (or a finely chopped chilli pepper)
1 1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
• Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line two muffin tins with cupcake cases.
• In a medium sized bowl, combine chocolate, cocoa, boiling water and warm milk.
• Whisk the chocolatey mixture until smooth and set aside.
• In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda and salt and add the chilli then set aside.
• In a large bowl, beat the butter until light in colour then add the brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy (approx 3 minutes).
• Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
• Mix in sour cream and vanilla and beat until combined.
• Add the dry ingredients in thirds alternating with the chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
• Mix until just combined, the mixture will be light and airy like chocolate mousse.
• Fill cupcake cases 3/4 full and bake for 25 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean.
• Leave cupcakes in tins for 5 minutes before cooling on a rack.
• Once completely cooled, ice with chocolate icing.
200g Butter, softened
400g Icing Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
80g Dark Chocolate, melted
• Beat butter until smooth and creamy.
• Sift icing sugar into a separate bowl and add to butter mixture one cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
• Add vanilla essence and beat until combined.
• Pour in the melted chocolate and beat until light and fluffy.
• Ice cupcakes using your favourite piping technique (check out these tutorials for help) or slap them on rustic-style like I did here, using a knife.
Lydia van Weeghel
Here Comes the Sun Contributor