Hello again heat eaters, time for another smokey sweet treat you can make at home.
Today’s recipe: Chipotle cupcakes, soft simple cakes with a smokey hazelnut icing.
For ten to twelve of them, you will need:
1tsp Lemon Juice
100g Sugar (white or light brown)
half teaspoon Vanilla Essence
25g Cocoa Powder
90g Self-Raising Flour
Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Chipotle Powder (any colour)
First preheat the oven to 180°c, then get to mixing.
For the batter:
First, add the lemon juice to your milk. As long as you stir the mixture reasonably well, it won’t curdle but will instead only sour slightly, creating what is essentially buttermilk. Set this aside for later.
Next, cream the butter and sugar together, mixing them to as smooth a consistency as you can. Some people like to use a whisk for this but I prefer a fork. Either one is easier to work with than a spoon though here.
Once that’s complete, break in your egg and add the vanilla essence. If, like me, you have a fancy-pants extract, use less. Extracts are stronger flavoured.
Beat everything together with your fork or whisk until well aerated, then sieve your flour and cocoa powder to remove any lumps. Fold it in gently but try not to let it clump.
Add your mock-buttermilk, bit by bit to keep the batter smooth, then divide your finished cake mix into cases and pop it in the oven.
After twenty minutes, poke one of the front row with a clean knife to check if your muffins are done. If it comes out gooey, give them five more minutes, otherwise they’re ready to remove. Place them on a wire rack to cool.
While you’re waiting, it’s time to make the icing. This is ever so simple but ever so good.
Just mix two heaped tablespoons of your chosen chocolate hazelnut spread with a level teaspoon of chipotle powder and repeat until you have enough.
For the cupcakes I made, I used red chipotle, simply because it’s been very difficult to get the more well known green version lately. This is both a fruitier chilli (think red jalapeño compared to green) and a stronger smoke flavour but lacks the nutty undertones given by the green’s traditional pecan smoke.
Weirdly though, the red actually brings out the hazelnut of the spread far more than the green does. Green chipotle chocolate spread produces a more rounded mix of flavours, ideal for a dessert dip, while red overpowers the chocolate flavour completely.
For the purposes of these cupcakes, however, the icing needn’t have any chocolate to its taste as the cake itself provides plenty. This allows the more hazelnutty red chipotle chocolate spread to do its own thing, starting powerfully smokey and nutty but gradually developing a deep red dried chilli flavour not unlike that of ghost pepper powder.
And alongside this flavour comes the heat. Whereas green chipotle chocolate spread has a high mild heat of roughly one and a half on my scale present throughout the experience, the red chipotle builds more slowly. As the flavour changes, it comes in as a warming glow that heats the back of the mouth and beneath the tongue to a level I would call a
Not mild by any stretch of the imagination but still on the lower end of medium.
I swirled most of a spoonful of this spread onto my muffins and they took up the heat and flavour wonderfully, barely losing any of their spiciness despite the added bulk.
A quick and easy confection for any chilli lover.