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

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