Review: Mini Chili Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

I made cupcakes this morning. If you live in the northeast I’m sure you’re thinking “it’s going to be in the 90s today and super humid – what is she doing making cupcakes?” but I finished them by 9 and the kitchen isn’t even warm any more.
I made chocolate chili cupcakes this winter so there was a good chance I’d like these too. That recipe was good but over-spiced — several people thought they were too hot. So I knew I liked the combo of chili and chocolate but needed to find something with a less fiery blend. I used this recipe from Rotel Across America. We use Rotel in guacamole and chili so I knew it wasn’t as hot (I haven’t tried the habanero one yet though). It sounded odd to use tomatoes in a cupcake recipe but zucchini works so well in zucchini bread that I thought it was worth a shot.
The ingredient list is rather long – 2 types of sugar, 2 extracts, cinnamon, cloves, flour, baking powder and soda, cocoa powder and a few others. At first I thought that would mean a complicated set of instructions but I was thrilled to read “In a large mixing bowl, beat all ingredients”. Yes – all those ingredients and it’s a one-bowl recipe. Nice.
The lack of liquid oil made for a very thick batter and required that I push the batter off of the spoon for every. single. cupcake. It was a bit tedious (I’m not into fiddly baking) but the result was fabulous!
Batter Mid-Way
The recipe says it makes 7 dozen but I wasn’t quite able to make 6. I suspect I over-filled them. Even with over-filling mine were done at 12 minutes (recipe said 12-14) but that’s not unusual for my oven.
Before Frosting
I’ve never made mini cupcakes before but they’re genius. They cool SUPER FAST. By the time I finished making the frosting they were completely cooled. I love not waiting around for things to cool.
The frosting was easy – a basic buttercream with margarita mix to give it some pop. It even gave me an excuse to use the food coloring my mom left here (I never use food coloring) although I only used 8 drops instead of the 15.
I iced them with star tip 1M and learned another great thing about mini cupcakes. Since the ratio of frosting to cake is much greater you don’t have to worry about frosting the edges (a non-fiddly baker’s dream). I started around 6:30 and was completely done by 9:15 (including the clean up).
What about the taste? They have a great texture – surprisingly light for the amount of butter in them. The heat level is definitely less than my last recipe. Some bites don’t have any heat and others have “just enough”. I think these will please a wider range of palettes. I would decrease the orange extract next time (using just 1/4 – 1/2 tsp). I love orange with chocolate but this amount makes it taste like a main ingredient rather than a flavor enhancer. I may also add a bit more margarita mix to the frosting next time (and probably a bit more powdered sugar to balance out the extra liquid). BTW I had extra frosting but that’s probably because I wasn’t able to get a full 7 dozen. I think there was more than enough to do the full amount.
I definitely plan to make these again, and bonus — I even learned that mini cupcakes rock.

5 thoughts on “Review: Mini Chili Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

  1. Oooo, those look good ! I plan on trying this recipe soon. I will probably do the HOT recipe first as I love hot chili’s in chocolate. Thanks so much !

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