The Speckled Palate
April 1, 2016

Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes

Heat up April Fool’s Day with these Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes! Chocolate cupcakes are spiced up with a cayenne pepper, then topped with a Spicy Chocolate Frosting for the final spicy touch. These dense, dairy-free cupcakes pack a surprising, delightful amount of heat without completely annihilating your tastebuds. A nod to traditional Mayan Hot Chocolate, which calls for chili powder, this dessert is perfect for anyone who loves a sweet and spicy flavor combination.

Heat up April Fool's Day with these Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes! Chocolate cupcakes are spiced up with a cayenne pepper, then topped with a Spicy Chocolate Frosting for the final spicy touch. These dense, dairy-free cupcakes pack a surprising, delightful amount of heat without completely annihilating your tastebuds. A nod to traditional Mayan Hot Chocolate, which calls for chili powder, this dessert is perfect for anyone who loves a sweet and spicy flavor combination.

I’m about to get real nerdy on y’all.

These cupcakes have a story behind them, and the story isn’t just, “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny to make spicy chocolate cupcakes to give to someone for April Fools Day?”

Oh, no.

No, no, no, no, no.

Heat up April Fool's Day with these Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes! Chocolate cupcakes are spiced up with a cayenne pepper, then topped with a Spicy Chocolate Frosting for the final spicy touch. These dense, dairy-free cupcakes pack a surprising, delightful amount of heat without completely annihilating your tastebuds. A nod to traditional Mayan Hot Chocolate, which calls for chili powder, this dessert is perfect for anyone who loves a sweet and spicy flavor combination.

Waaaaaay back in the day (1999, to be specific), a little television show on the WB wiggled its way into my heart and didn’t stop endearing itself to me, even when it got beyond ridiculous. (Yes, I can admit that now. But then? I was a diehard fan. DIEHARD.)

That little show was called Roswell.

The show, obviously, was about teenage aliens who were stranded on Earth, and the trouble they find themselves in when one saves the life of the girl he’s loved forever.

The aliens all looked like regular teenagers, save for the fact that the actors were all in their 20’s while playing the roles… I digress… but they had a few otherworldly tells…

You know, other than the super secret Samantha/Jeannie/alien powers they all possessed.

Heat up April Fool's Day with these Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes! Chocolate cupcakes are spiced up with a cayenne pepper, then topped with a Spicy Chocolate Frosting for the final spicy touch. These dense, dairy-free cupcakes pack a surprising, delightful amount of heat without completely annihilating your tastebuds. A nod to traditional Mayan Hot Chocolate, which calls for chili powder, this dessert is perfect for anyone who loves a sweet and spicy flavor combination.

One of these tells was their tastebuds.

(Just go with me here, y’all. I promise I’m not just telling you this for funsies.)

Turns out, the aliens dug the sweet and spicy combination, which meant they carried Tabasco with them everywhere. And in one particular scene, Michael the alien steals a slice of chocolate cake from the diner, dumps a ton of Tabasco on it and proceeds to devour it… begrudgingly explaining to Maria the human about alien tastebuds after she’s understandably disgusted at the combination.

Ever since watching that scene more than a decade ago, I’ve wondered about the combination.

And up until now, I hadn’t tried it because (1) me and hot sauce don’t really mix, and (2) I don’t trust fictional alien tastebuds.

Sorry, Michael Guerin. 16-year-old Erin adored you, but 31-year-old Erin knows several of your life choices, including food and hair decisions, were iffy, at best. Even though she will probably always have a soft spot for you.

Heat up April Fool's Day with these Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes! Chocolate cupcakes are spiced up with a cayenne pepper, then topped with a Spicy Chocolate Frosting for the final spicy touch. These dense, dairy-free cupcakes pack a surprising, delightful amount of heat without completely annihilating your tastebuds. A nod to traditional Mayan Hot Chocolate, which calls for chili powder, this dessert is perfect for anyone who loves a sweet and spicy flavor combination.

Spoiler alert: Tabasco in the cupcake and in the icing? A no go. I did some testing, and ICK. Waaaaaaaaay too vinegary.

But cayenne pepper mixed into the cake and icing? Delightful!

Cayenne is the way to go here, y’all. It adds a bit of heat on the end, coming up to surprise you if you don’t know it’s there, but it doesn’t overpower the chocolate.

In fact, it plays pretty nicely with the chocolate and makes a lovely balanced dessert that walks the line of sweet and spicy without drastically falling in one direction or the other.

Heat up April Fool's Day with these Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes! Chocolate cupcakes are spiced up with a cayenne pepper, then topped with a Spicy Chocolate Frosting for the final spicy touch. These dense, dairy-free cupcakes pack a surprising, delightful amount of heat without completely annihilating your tastebuds. A nod to traditional Mayan Hot Chocolate, which calls for chili powder, this dessert is perfect for anyone who loves a sweet and spicy flavor combination.

Erin’s Recommended Tools/Products for Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes

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Heat up dessert with Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes! A nod to Mayan Hot Chocolate, this baked good is perfect for anyone who loves their sweet with spice. #recipe #baking #chocolate

Here’s how you can make these unique cupcakes for April Fool’s Day:

Heat up April Fool's Day with these Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes! Chocolate cupcakes are spiced up with a cayenne pepper, then topped with a Spicy Chocolate Frosting for the final spicy touch. These dense, dairy-free cupcakes pack a surprising, delightful amount of heat without completely annihilating your tastebuds. A nod to traditional Mayan Hot Chocolate, which calls for chili powder, this dessert is perfect for anyone who loves a sweet and spicy flavor combination.
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Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Cake

Heat up April Fool's Day with these Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes! Chocolate cupcakes are spiced up with a cayenne pepper, then topped with a Spicy Chocolate Frosting for the final spicy touch. These dense, dairy-free cupcakes pack a surprising, delightful amount of heat without completely annihilating your tastebuds. A nod to traditional Mayan Hot Chocolate, which calls for chili powder, this dessert is perfect for anyone who loves a sweet and spicy flavor combination.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 cupcakes
Author Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate

Ingredients

Chocolate Cayenne Cupcakes

  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil , melted and cooled slightly
  • 3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips , melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • A pinch of salt

Spicy Chocolate Icing

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

Make the Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place six cupcake liners (or three large cupcake liners) in a cupcake pan, and spray lightly with baking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer until frothy. Add the granulated sugar, and beat until the mixture is combined.
  3. Measure in the coconut oil, chocolate and vanilla extract. Beat until all the wet ingredients are combined.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt to the wet ingredients. Whisk until the ingredients are smooth.
  5. Measure the batter into the prepared cupcake liners.
  6. If baking regular sized cupcakes, bake for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. If baking large cupcakes, bake for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow 30 minutes to cool before icing.

Make the Icing

  1. In a medium-sized glass bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and cayenne. Add the water, and mix until well combined and nearly stiff.

Ice the cupcakes, then enjoy!

    Recipe Notes

    If you don't have coconut oil on hand, substitute in canola or vegetable oil for a dairy-free option. Melted unsalted butter can also be used, as well.

     
    Heat up dessert with Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes! A nod to Mayan Hot Chocolate, this baked good is perfect for anyone who loves their sweet with spice. #recipe #baking #chocolate

    Were you a Roswell fan, too? (Please, someone, anyone, say you were!)

    Do you like sweet and spicy combined?

    Have you tried a sweet and spicy dessert?

    23 Comments

    1. Abby

      I’m a huge fan of salty and sweet, and I like spicy foods, so I don’t know why I’ve never tried the sweet and spicy combo. These cupcakes look like a pretty darn good place to start, though!

      Sorry, I can’t help you with Roswell, but if you want to talk WB circa 2005 (One Tree Hill), I’m with you.

      • Erin

        Like you, I’m a big sweet and salty fan, so I hope you like the sweet/spicy combination, too! And these cupcakes were pretty darn close to perfection for that combo!

        Fair enough! I had so many friends who adored One Tree Hill. I never watched it… but hooray for old WB shows!

    2. Jenna @ A Savory Feast

      Now, this is so much better than the April Fools cupcakes that are really meatloaf or something. At least you weren’t kidding about the chocolate!!

      • Erin

        HA! I cannot even imagine biting into a cupcake that was supposed to be a cupcake but was actually meatloaf! What a disappointing surprise!

    3. Michele @ Alwayzbakin

      I’ve never watched that show, but I’m addicted to some others that sound similiar. (The Vampire Diaries :-o) These cupcakes sound scrumptious. I’ve never thought to make my sweets spicy, but I’m loving this idea. Your presentation is gorgeous!

      • Erin

        We’ve all got our shows like that, I fear. Haha. These cupcakes were scrumptious, and I’m glad you think so. I’d never made my sweets spicy before (other than a few times making Mexican Hot Chocolate), but I’ll continue doing this because it’s fun and different. Enjoy!

    4. laurasmess

      These sound amazing! I loooooove hot cocoa with cayenne so I can imagine how good this would be in cupcake form. I’ve never watched Roswell but I think I need to. As I read this, I’m eating a bowl of salad that I just dumped an absolute ton of Tabasco on… maybe I’m actually an alien ;P
      xx

      • Erin

        YES! Another hot cocoa with cayenne fan! 🙂 This cupcake rendition of that is pretty darn tasty. Also? I think you totally need to give Roswell a shot, even though it’s getting closer to 20 years old. And hey, Tabasco on a salad doesn’t sound half bad. 😉

      • Erin

        Thanks so much, Kari! I had a lot of fun with these cupcakes. And I’m glad you’re a fellow Roswell lover.

    5. Lucy

      I remember Roswell! These cupcakes look so yummy! I love anything with spice, as does my husband, so we’ll be trying these soon!

      • Erin

        I’m so glad that you remember Roswell! It was my favorite (obviously.) I hope y’all enjoy these cupcakes when you give them a try!

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    7. Carly

      I’m very excited to try these out! Is there a good substitute for the coconut oil? Or is that a very necessary ingredient? I don’t use it and it’s not a very cheap thing to buy for only a few tablespoons. 🙂 Thanks!

      • Erin

        Hey Carly! I hope you enjoy these. As far as a substitute, you could use vegetable or canola oil. You could also use melted butter. I haven’t used any of those in this cake before, but I *think* they would work!

    8. Carly

      I LOVED Roswell. In fact, it was basically my gateway drug to reading fanfiction and searching for shows/movies/books/etc on websites. 1999 was a good year (even though I basically got no homework done in school because of a newly discovered thing in my house called internet).

      I can agree with not trusting fictional alien taste buds…I once dumped some Tabasco sauce in ice cream to see what it would taste like (too curious for my own good) since it seemed like something they would do in the show but I blocked that horrible, traumatic memory out. Thankfully.

      I am looking forward to trying these out! (it may take me a while…I’m not much of a baker ^^;)

      Thank you! 😀

      (Have you seen Majandra & Brendan’s campaign for a show together? Looks familiar, right? http://www.baronandtoluca.com/ )

    9. Krista

      You had me at Sweet and Spicy! I want to devour one of these now!

    10. Des @ Life's Ambrosia

      Oh I love this twist on cupcakes!

    11. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious

      I am so excited to make these! I love sweet and spicy together!!

    12. Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      Those look so good and great job on the pics!

    13. Catalina @ Peas & Peonies

      Sweet and spicy flavor combination must be perfect! Can’t wait to try these cupcakes!

    14. Dee

      I love the sweet and spicy combo — chili chocolate is one of my favorites! I know I would love these cupcakes!

    15. Brandy | Nutmeg Nanny

      I love the spicy kick! These sound so good!

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