Week 37: Mini Chocolate Ancho Chili Cupcakes with Pure Vanilla Paste Buttercream Frosting

I've been wanting to try these cupcakes for a while and today, for some reason, turned out to be the day. I think it might be because they are good as mini cupcakes and a lot of folks in my office are on new year diets. I think this little babies will appeal to them. The ancho chili gives the chocolate a good kick in the pants and you don't taste it at first...until it hits the back part of your mouth. We couldn't find any ancho powder at the latino grocery store, but did happen to have a package of whole ancho chilis at home (Who knows why?) So, I used the food processor to grind them up. Be careful if you do this because you do get them on your hands and if you rub your eyes, it can make them burn a bit. I used Scharffen Berger Semisweet Chocolate because Martha Stewart says to invest in the best ingredients you can...you know, I never knew any of this stuff 37 weeks ago...Also, I've decided that this is a great way for me to help support our economy! (that part's a joke!)

I decided to make the Vanillia Bean Paste Buttercream Frosting because I thought that the vanilla would be a nice complement to the chocolate. I had bought some of this Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste from Nielsen-Massey and had not had the chance to use it yet. This is what their web site says about it: "It's pure vanilla with natural vanilla bean seeds in a unique, convenient, paste form that adds a gourmet appearance to any recipe." It's actually pure heaven. And, I this frosting is so good that everyone passing in and out the kitchen today wanted to eat the frosting all by itself...just forget about the cupcakes! It might also be because I added some bourbon to it!

But really, the cupcakes are very special, too. I'm not usually brave at all about eating "hot" stuff...whenever we go out to a place like Rio Grande I absolutely do not put anything hot on my food while the rest of my family pours the stuff on....but even I really like the rich flavor of these cupcakes. And, Catherine said that it was the best baking smell she's ever smelled (that sounds funny, doesn't it?)...it fills the entire house with the a comfortable chocolate aroma even now. This experience definitely has a happy ending!

Whoa! I don't know what's going on (maybe it's because the Redskins won yesterday...here's our song...in case you don't know, it's "Hail to the Redskins...but...I actually posted the recipe before posting this (for a change)...well, it is the new year, right? You can download the PDF here. Also, if you're no sick and tired of me yet, check out more of my cupcake photos (including Layla) on flickr.


  1. Anonymous10:17 AM

    What a warm, wonderful. indulgent combination. Layla, the saucy pet that she is, would've loved chomping on these. Tell her I'll eat her share. Really. I don't mind.

  2. Anonymous2:13 AM

    I came across your website through a link from someone's blog. It's making me hungry. Thanks for the recipes, they might actually get me into the kitchen for once.

  3. Anonymous9:25 AM

    Where can one get the recipe for that Mini Choc Ancho Chili Cupcake, sounds interesting

  4. Great photos!

    I love the chili chocolate combo you used. Chili is, in my opinion, the best complement to good chocolate (and browie points for using Scharffenberger, by the way).

    Any chance you'll post the recipe some time? (she asked, hopefully)

  5. Thanks for the recipe! Can't wait to try it out :D

  6. Anonymous8:59 PM

    Your link here, unfortunately, doesn't work any more. I don't suppose there's any chance that you'd share this recipe? I've been thinking about trying out something chocolatey and hot... and this sounds wonderful!

    no1topaz at hotmail.com