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In spite of my utter lack of posts, I’ve been baking up a storm over here.  I often find myself mid-week needing some kind of non-Spanish activity to keep my mind from turning to mush and more often than not, baking is that activity.  In the last 3 weeks I’ve made challah, cupcakes, and today I’m finishing making croissants.  Yum!

I haven’t been photo-documenting the croissant-baking this time as I’m just learning the technique by watching my awesomely talented brother make them.  However, I’m hopeful that in the future I’ll be able to make them myself and photograph them along the way.  I did manage to photograph the cupcakes I made two weeks ago, so without further ado, I give you Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes.

Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from Cuisine at Home as seen on Noble Pig’s food blog

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghirardelli’s or Scharffen Berger)
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp sea salt (only 1 tsp if you use table salt)
2-4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups hot water (~115 degrees or as hot as your tap will get it)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp instant coffee or espresso powder
1 Tbsp vanilla extract (or you can use bourbon)

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 with a rack in the center.  Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Sift all dry ingredients except cayenne into a large bowl.  Add 2 tsp of the cayenne and whisk well.  Taste the mixture and add additional cayenne, if desired.  You can also add more cayenne after you mix in the wet ingredients so don’t over do it!

In a large measuring cup, combine water, oil, vinegar, coffee, and vanilla.  Whisk with a fork until well incorporated and the coffee granules are mostly dissolved.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk just until combined.  It will be a bit lumpy but that’s fine.  Taste the batter and if you want to add a little more cayenne do so now but be very careful to not over mix the batter.*

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling them 2/3 full.  Bake 15-21 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of the center cupcake comes out clean.

*If you’re worried about over mixing the batter, wait to add the cayenne until you’ve filled each of the cupcake liners with batter.  Then just sprinkle a tiny bit of cayenne on each cupcake and bake as usual.

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