Sunday, March 2, 2008

Eat to the Beat: Chocolate Chile Cupcakes

New blogging event!

Elly at Elly Says Opa! has a new blogging event called Eat to the Beat that marries 2 creative arts- music and cooking. How fun! I initially wasn't going to participate due to Homegrown Gourmet 6 coming up and my complete lack of ideas. But then I realized I've got another week for HG6. And I was listening to some music at work and had a stroke of inspiration!

I baked a unique little recipe inspired by the Squirrel Nut Zipper's "Hell." It's a dark little ditty about Satan's neighborhood set to a calypso tune- very fun. You can find the video at good 'ol

As I sat there working on a powerpoint presentation I heard these lyrics through my headphones:

This is a place where eternally
Fire is applied to the body
Teeth are extruded and bones are ground
And made into cakes that are passed around!

Cakes! Evil little hell cakes! Wouldn't that be fun! I kept listening...

Well the D and the A and the M and the N
And the A and the T and the I-O-N
Lose your face, lose your name
And get fitted for a suit of flame!

Of course, the cakes shall be cupcakes that spell out damnation- how delightful! The last thing to figure out was the flavor. I considered something with marshmallows to incorporate the extruded teeth, red velvet to harken the molten colors of hell, and of course Devil's Food cake. I settled on something a little different though, inspired by the continual reference to the fire and flames- a chocolate cake infused with the heat of chiles!!!

The cake turned out great- really moist and a great hint of heat! And the decorations were fun too. The cinnamon cream cheese frosting was disappointing though- it just didn't match. The cream cheese took away from the spicy flavor of the cake. I think I would have been better off just using a little bit of buttercream for the lettering and then just powdered sugar and cinnamon to top them.

It was such a fun event though! Thanks Elly!

Chocolate Chile Cupcakes
Modified from
  • 1 1/2 C. Sugar
  • 3/4 C. Buttermilk
  • 1/2 C. Water
  • 1/3 C. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Poblano Pepper, seeded and pureed
  • 1 1/2 C. Flour
  • 3/4 C. Cocoa
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. +/- Cayenne Powder
  • 3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare a cupcake pan either by putting in cupcake liners or greasing/ flouring.
  2. In a stand mixer, cream the sugar, buttermilk, water, oil, eggs, vanilla, and pepper puree until smooth.
  3. Technically you're supposed to mix the dry ingredients together first and then add it to the wet stuff, but I never do that- dump in all the dry ingredients and mix well until lumps are gone. I did it on medium/ medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  4. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 to 3/4 full. These cupcakes do puff up quite a bit on the top, but I was ok with a solid 2/3 full. Makes 20 cupcakes.
  5. Bake in the heated oven for about 20-24 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to sit in the pan for a minute or so. Remove from the pan to a wire cooling rack. Decorate with a powdered sugar/ cinnamon blend or allow to cool before frosting. I used the cream cheese cinnamon frosting from below, but I would recommend either a plain vanilla buttercream, or maybe a cinnamon or chocolate flavor.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
From Betty Crocker
  • About 6 oz. Cream Cheese or Neufatchel Cheese, softened
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. Milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 2 C. Powdered/ Confectioners Sugar

  1. In a mixer, whip together the cream cheese, butter, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in powdered sugar, starting with a cup and then adding more. Blend in on medium speed until smooth and thick.
  3. This makes enough for at least 2 dozen cupcakes.


Kelsey said...

You should win an award for finding super-sweet lyrics to go with a recipe. I love it! The damnation frosting is hilarious! You must have had so much fun doing that.

Elly said...

This is SUCH a good entry. I LOVE it! I haven't heard "Hell" in ages. You know I am going to have that in my head for weeks. Thanks for participating!

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Kate said...

I LOVE that song!!!!!!

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

What a great entry! Good job!

Alanna said...

I used to love that song!!!

I made some chocolate chili cupcakes the other day that are somewhat similar. I made a chocolate frosting with cinnamon and cayenne for them, and it blended perfectly with the flavor of the cupcakes.

Yours sure came out pretty...I am going to have to try your recipe too!!!

Summer Parsons said...

Those would have been perfect for your Halloween party! Next year!!

Jerri said...

I love your cupcakes!