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Chili Cacao Mayan Cupcakes

Contest Photo by: GourmetMom
Hummelstown, PA
Category: Cupcakes

Description

How about a little sugar AND spice this Valentines Day? The ancient Mayans used chili peppers along with vanilla and other ingredients to spice their chocolate drinks. Its not the hot chocolate we enjoy today, but a bitter, spiced drink enjoyed by the wealthy. This cupcake is patterned after what we know of that ancient, luxurious drink. Since cacao beans were used as currency by the Mayans, only the very wealthy could afford to eat their money. So, these cupcakes have real 23 carat gold flakes on them so you can eat your money, too. :) The symbol on the top is a chocolate replica of the Mayan symbol Hanab Ku.

Ingredients

Cupcake Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
1/2 C. Dark Cocoa Powder
3 oz. dark chocolate, melted (high quality)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. white vinegar
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. ground Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. ground annato (achiote molido)

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Ingredients:
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
1 vanilla bean
4 cups confectioner's sugar (approximately 1 lb.) or more, depending on desired thickness
2 Tablespoons Milk

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Ingredients:
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
1 vanilla bean
4 cups confectioner's sugar (approximately 1 lb.) or more, depending on desired thickness
2 Tablespoons Milk

How to Make

  • Cupcake Directions:
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cupcake pan or line with paper wrappers. In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat well. Add dark cocoa powder and melted chocolate. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and vinegar. Mix well. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground annato, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk. With each addition, mix until the ingredients are incorporated. Put batter into a gallon Ziploc bag, snip off about an inch from one corner, and pipe batter into prepared cupcake pans, filling about ¾ full. Bake for about 15-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Frost with icing.

  • Vanilla Bean Buttercream Directions:
    In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Split open vanilla bean and scrape out seeds, add to butter mixture. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

  • Dark Chocolate Buttercream Directions:
    Cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add cocoa, melted chocolate and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

  • Tips for Taking a Great Photo:
    • Avoid clutter. Keep the background simple -- your cupcake or sweet treat is the star!
    • Daytime, natural light is best. If your area is bright enough, try taking the photo without the flash.
    • Upload a horizontal photo. If you crop the image on your computer, make sure you keep a landscape 4:3 aspect ratio.
    • For best results, make your image 1200x900 (or "save for web").
    • With a digital camera, you can take as many photos as possible and choose the best one. Have fun!