The lovely Marti lives in Minnesota. And Minnesota has been pummeled with snow. Seriously it could still be snowing there now. Winter has an even firmer grip on Minnesota than on Northern Ohio. So one day when I was just doing nothing because it was too yucky to go outside, very cold rain or something like that, a feeble cry came out of Minnesota. Please. Send. Cupcakes. How could I resist?
Now Marti's son, who is really a cool kid, happens to be even pickier about fruit than I am, likes dark chocolate and doesn't like nuts and so on. So I made him my version of Mexican Chocolate cupcakes. I should say I was talking to Super G and she suggested it and she's lived in Mexico for a little bit, so I'm taking her word on what exactly Mexican Chocolate is. Basically it's dark chocolate with cinnamon and a little cayenne. At least that's what MY Mexican Chocolate is.
I topped those off with a matching dark chocolate ganache and put them in the newest version of the cupcake shipping prototype.
How did I update the old cupcake shipping system? Well instead of an 8oz clear plastic cup, I went with a 7oz paper cup. It's more Earth friendly, at least in my head it is. And the smaller cup meant that it would hit the slipless point quicker thus cutting down on the amount of movement of the frozen cupcake in the inverted cup. Like so. (I am a math geek, not an artist.)
The slipless point is important because once the cupcake hits the slipless point then the cupcake if inverted (the cup would then be right side up) would not be able to slip further into the cup, thus damaging the frosting. So through my shipping exploits, I have learned that a firmer cupcake works better for shipping. Freezing is imperative to maintain freshness and moisture in the cupcakes. The Ziploc bag definitely confines the cupcake to the cup, is more reliable than cling wrap for this purpose and helps to maintain freshness. Also the smaller paper cup protects the sides and the tops of the cupcake better. I also learned not to send cupcakes to family members. They don't take photos.
Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 cup milk at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 18 muffin tin cups with paper liners.
Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne together in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down the bowl in between. Add the flour mixture in 4 additions alternating with the milk. Begin and end with the flour. Beat briefly after each addition until incorporated. Scrape the bowl frequently. Once everything is combined beat for 1 minute on medium speed.
Evenly distribute among prepared muffin cups and bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center has only a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Cool completely.
Mexican Chocolate Ganache
1 cup heavy cream
1 (12oz) bag Special Dark chocolate chips
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch cayenne
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Put the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Heat the heavy cream until just barely simmering. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute. Stir until all the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the cinnamon and cayenne. Let the chocolate mixture cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and beat with a handheld mixer until it is at a spreadable consistency.
Frost the cupcakes and add some festive sprinkles.
So there you go.
Success at last.