Cherry Bomb Cupcakes with Meringue Frosting24

Posted by chockylit in General (Sunday August 29, 2010 at 9:31 am)

cherry chili chocolate cupcake

I felt the need to give these cupcakes a name – they had that much personality. I was about to add half as much chili as planned, but thought why not and dumped it all in. The result? Chili cherry chocolate cupcakes with a good kick. Funnily enough, “cherry bomb” was my ring name when I was an amateur kick boxer. I got that name from the cherry tattoos on my arms and my explosive power, I am sure… My fighting days are well passed me, but a taste explosion is well within my repertoire.

I purchased a jar of Italian wild cherries in syrup based purely on the attractive container. The jar lay ignored in a drawer while I struggled with what to do with the gluten-free chocolate cupcake recipe as a base for something I intended to bring to a party. A trip to the ferry building resulted in a 13 dollar jar of yuzu jam (for a later recipe – it better be tasty!) and I was still without ideas. The cherries called to me from their cool, dark spot and finally inspiration hit. But cherries and chocolate are pretty run of the mill. I decided on the chili so these cupcakes wouldn’t be forgettable.

I was hearing good things at the party. The cupcakes were spicy but that was appreciated. I liked the combination of the chocolate, chili, and tart but sweet cherries.

cherries and chili

Gluten-Free Chili Chocolate Cupcakes
~16 regular-sized cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3.5 ounces (100 grams) Valrhona 85% cacao (or any bittersweet chocolate)
1-1/2 sticks (172 grams) butter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (223 grams) sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (40 grams) quinoa flour, gluten-free (or all purpose flour for non-gluten free)
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (if using gluten-free flour)

1. Chop the chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. Add the butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate melts and the butter is combined.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
4. Measure out the flour, cocoa, chili powder, cayenne powder, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum (if using) into a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together.
5. Transfer the cooled chocolate/butter mixture to the electric mixer and beat for 3 minutes.
6. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 10 seconds between each.
7. Add the flour mixture and mix to combine.
8. Scoop into cupcake cups only 2/3s full. Bake all the cupcakes at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Note: If the oven is not hot enough than these cupcakes may over-flow. One way to be safe is to either fill 2/3’s full or another trick I use is to preheat to 375, then drop the heat to 350 once I put the cupcakes in. I also rotate the pans after 15 minutes of baking. It is safe to gently move them at that point and I find the lower back of my oven to be a bit cooler.


Meringue Frosting

4 egg whites
1 cup sugar

1. Combine egg whites and sugar into the mixing bowl of your stand mixer and set over a bain marie (water bath).
2. Whisk by hand for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved or preferably until the mixture reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit. (Apparently 160 is safest. I have never tried that so can’t tell you if it will still be ok for the frosting. So if you are concerned use pasteurized eggs.)
3. Transfer bowl to electric mixer, beat on medium speed for 10 minutes.
4. Beat on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form, about 5 to 10 minutes more.

cherry chili chocolate cupcakes

1. Fill the cooled cupcakes using the cone method with cherries. I used jarred cherries in syrup and included one whole one and some chopped up ones.
2. Frost.
3. Toast with a torch if you have one.

cherry chili chocolate cupcake

24 comments for Cherry Bomb Cupcakes with Meringue Frosting »

  1. These sound amazing (bonus for gluten free!) but a very important note:

    Egg whites need to be cooked to 160F!!! That is the USDA safe minimum internal temperature for eggs, and with the salmonella recalls going around, you don’t want to risk accidentally poisoning somebody!

    160 is the magic number.

    The best way to achieve this is with continuous beating with a hand mixer on low while the eggs are over the water bath (to prevent them from scrambling) until they reach about 140, then switching to high for the remaining 20 degrees.

    Comment by Olga — August 29, 2010 @ 11:20 am

  2. To be honest I always read 110 in any book/recipe I read. That said, with the recall I can see people being concerned. I have never taken egg whites up to 160 and then make frosting out of so can guarantee that it would work and therefor can’t recommend it. I would recommend then using pasteurized eggs to be safe.

    Comment by chockylit — August 29, 2010 @ 11:49 am

  3. I find it easier to make an italian style meringue. You bring a sugar syrup to the boil- soft ball stage- then pur it into the eggwhites while mixing slowly. Then ramp up the speed and let it beat away. This way the temperature is not an issue and the mixer also does all the work. You can check out my method on my icecream cone cupcakes post.

    Comment by InTolerantChef — August 29, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

  4. Awesome!

    Comment by Leah — August 29, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

  5. I want these so badly. I wonder if my local fancy pants grocery has the cherries. I know they have the Valrhona.

    Someday I will have a culinary torch too, just to get the full effect!

    Comment by Seanna Lea — August 30, 2010 @ 8:30 am

  6. I always looooove how beautifully you toast the meringue frosting on your cupcakes!
    Please open a bakery! :)

    Comment by Ivy — August 30, 2010 @ 11:26 am

  7. These cupcakes are beautiful! I love cherries and chocolate together, and I’m sure the addition of cayenne and chili powder gives them a great kick.

    Comment by jodye @ 'scend food — August 30, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

  8. These look delicious. I love how torched meringue looks!

    Comment by Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) — August 31, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

  9. Hey – I love the idea, but how are the cherries used? I don’t see them in the recipe??

    Comment by Mark — August 31, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

  10. how beautiful! just wondering, what does xanthan gum do to the batter?

    Comment by LimeCake — August 31, 2010 @ 6:18 pm

  11. Yikes! In the assembly part where it says “fill the cupcakes” it should say to “fill the cupcakes with cherries”. Fixed.

    Comment by chockylit — August 31, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

  12. Based on the reading I have done on gluten-free recipes, xanthan gum makes up for the lack of gluten if you use gluten-free flour and helps with texture of the end product. If you use regular flour you don’t need it.

    Comment by chockylit — August 31, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

  13. I like Amarena, I like meringue, I like cupcakes, …….just do it!

    Comment by annick — September 2, 2010 @ 4:02 am

  14. Hi Cheryl,

    I just wanted to say thanks again for re-starting your blog back up!! I always enjoyed your creations, and reading your blog inspired me to start up my own cupcake bakery(in SF, even!) Hope you can come visit sometime. A few years back you hosted a meet-up in Dolo Park, and your Chocolate-Pear-Vanilla Bean cupcakes were AWESOME. Thanks so much – these look delish!

    Also, I agree with InTolerant Chef up there – I do Italian Meringue – its WAY easier than the double boiler method – all the work is done by the mixer! Check it out!

    Comment by Jennifer — September 3, 2010 @ 10:49 am

  15. These look great and the combo of cherries and chili pepper are very interesting, something I wouldn’t have thought of for sure! I will have to give these a try and see what my co-works think.

    Comment by Holly — September 3, 2010 @ 12:54 pm

  16. I am going to be nearby soon! I plan to stop by. Hopefully you will be at the shop…

    Comment by chockylit — September 3, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

  17. Cheryl,

    Cookbooks are correct in saying 110F/115F, but I believe that this temperature assumes that you will then go on to bake the meringue. I know my go-to cookbook has a “Warm-Method Meringue,” but in every recipe that uses it, the meringue ends up being baked as well. Whereas in buttercream recipes that use meringue, the book specifies to take it to 160F.

    Like others have said, it’s probably just easier to make Italian Meringue and let the sugar syrup do the cooking. That way there’s no worries about safety issues and no hunting all over for pasteurized whites. :D

    Comment by Olga — September 3, 2010 @ 11:57 pm

  18. Yeah, I make Italian meringue but usually when I want to infuse flavor in the syrup…

    Comment by chockylit — September 4, 2010 @ 9:27 pm

  19. Thanks for the recipe. I baked up a batch and they were a hit. I made the meringue according to the recipe and I am happy to report we’re all still alive. DELISH!

    Comment by Mark — September 7, 2010 @ 6:46 pm

  20. I tried this out for my people at my work place and they loved it. Honestly, I didnt want to share the recepie with them but I just wanted to come and thank you for sharing this with us. You are a great cook..Thanks

    Comment by Prakash — September 20, 2010 @ 10:35 pm

  21. First – these look amazing, I want one, I love Italian meringue and I eat un”cook”ed egg whites and don’t worry about it. However, for anyone who does care, I seriously don’t see how an Italian meringue ‘fixes’ the potential safety problem because I don’t see how a soft ball syrup could raise the egg temp to 160º.

    Comment by Beki — September 27, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

  22. Yum!!! Thanks for the recipe, will definitely try it out!

    Comment by JanJan @ Cooking for My Love — October 17, 2010 @ 8:30 pm

  23. Whatever this may taste like, I still love it because it has meringue on top. But I’m really curious on how Gluten-Free Chili Chocolate Cupcakes will taste. Imagine a spicy cupcake?! That’s pretty unique!

    Comment by Shane — November 9, 2010 @ 3:59 am

  24. I just made some homemade chocolate covered cherries and was thinking of sticking one each inside the batter while it baked so that the chocolate blended with the cake, or would you recommend not baking the cherry inside and filling it (per your recipe posted above)?

    Comment by KP — April 2, 2011 @ 7:56 am

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