Recipe :: Spicy Cayenne Chocolate Cupcakes

Apr 14, 2011 by

I am totally obsessed with salty/sweet desserts.
Olive oil and black pepper gelato, carrot and beet cupcakes, salted caramel ANYTHING — I’m in.  That’s why I wanted to perfect a tiny spicy chocolate cake.

And by golly, I think I did.

This evening, as my roommate Andy recounted to me (in 79 minutes) the 80-minute plot of Old Dogs (which I now will only see if it’s being shown on a plane (that’s been hijacked and I’m being forced)), I did my usual cut/paste/experiment from several sources sort of recipe creating.  If you like any sort of chocolate dessert that features the words “mexican,” “aztec,” or “pepper,” you should try this recipe.

I used Dagoba authentic drinking chocolate
with bits of pure, dark chocolate and cane sugar

In addition, if I may offer a humble suggestion, use Dagoba organic free-trade cocao powder (you can find it at Whole Foods).  Not only will you not be ingesting chocolate grown with pesticides in the full sun of a plantation field where there used to be a rainforest, this stuff is OFF the CHAIN delicious!

The quality of cocao powder you use will greatly influence the quality of the cupcakes, so don’t just buy whatever’s cheapest.  You will eat what you pay for.
Additionally, while creating this recipe, I also found a recipe for Cinnamon Buttercream icing, which I tweaked a bit and posted.  You can locate it here.  This is a great topping for these cupcakes, but my stand-by Maple Icing is just as delightful.  Also, sometimes I just dust them with powdered sugar and call it a day.  There’s already a lot going on in these cupcakes, and it’s not necessary to frost everything.


Cayenne Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 2.5 cups flour

  • 1.25 cups cocoa powder

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 3.5 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1.25 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1.25 teaspoons salt

  • 1.5 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste

  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk

  • 1.75 cups milk

  • 0.5 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1.25cups warm water
  • optional:  for extra fun, you can add one whole shredded zucchini to the mix, like I did for the mini-cakes at my birthday party.  If you’re going to add zucchini, shred it with a cheese grater, salt it a little, and set it aside to drain for an hour in a colander.  Then squeeze the rest of the water out of it before adding it to the batter.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cayenne in a bowl. Beat eggs, yolk, milk, oil, vanilla and water into flour mixture until fully combined.  If the batter is too runny (mine was), add 1/2cup more flour, 1/4 cup more sugar, and 1 tsp more cayenne pepper.
  3. Now taste the batter for heat.  If it’s too subtle for your taste, add more cayenne.  Be aware that it will lessen a little more during baking.  If the batter is too spicy, add flour and water little by little (maintaining batter consistency) until the heat level is where you want it.  
  4. If using zucchini, add that in now.
  5. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.  Or just sprinkle with powdered sugar instead of frosting; they’re still spectacular.

Source Recipes


  1. Lucy

    Oh come ON! This is absurd. Was thinking of making cupcakes tomorrow morning… this might have made the short list of recipes.

  2. frostonepurltwo

    those sound deeeeeeeelicious!!

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