Summer in San Francisco means bringing hot chocolate, puffy coats, and knitting to watch my cousin’s evening soccer game at Golden Gate Park. My friend made some fantastic hot chocolate to which she added a touch of cinnamon. I had brought leftover, unfrosted lychee-coconut cupcakes for dipping, which were great, but I wished we had some churros to dip instead. From that came this week’s ambitious cupcake.

Ambitious it was and most everything was great, but my frosting experiment didn’t quite pan out. The flavor combination worked for me. The cinnamon cupcake was subtle, tender, and not too sweet. The chocolate filling provided a nice shot of deep chocolate flavor that again wasn’t too sweet. These would dip nicely in hot chocolate, for sure.

I was experimenting with a new kind of frosting which didn’t work out at all (so I will not even post the recipe, yikes). I think a simple chocolate ganache would work out just fine. The tiny churros were fun to make and tied in the inspiration of the cupcake.

Chocolate Filling

3/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. in a saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a boil (around the edges of the pan)
2. place chopped chocolate in a stainless or glass bowl
3. pour heated cream over the chocolate and let sit for 30 or so seconds
4. stir, starting in the center, until the combined
5. add vanilla and stir until smooth
6. let sit at room temperature for one hour or refrigerate for a half of an hour, stirring occasionally, the ganache will get pretty firm

24 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon ground extra fancy Vietnamese cinnamon
pinch salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. cream butter in an electric mixer until smooth, about 1 minute
2. while beating, drizzle in sugar
3. continue to beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes
4. add one egg at a time, beating well after each, about 20 seconds
5. in a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt
6. combine milk and vanilla
7. add flour mixture and milk mixture to the electric mixer, alternating and starting and ending with flour, beat well after each addition
8. scoop into lined cupcake tins with an ice cream scooper (about 3/4 full)
9. measure out about a teaspoon of the firm ganache and form it into a ball with your fingers (this is a messy step)
10. poke the ganache ball into the center of the cupcake, repeat for all cupcakes
11. bake for ~20 minutes or until golden

chocolate center pre-baking

chocolate center post-baking

Tiny Churros adapted from this recipe
requires pastry bag with small star tip

2/3 cup water
2-2/3 ounces butter
1 pinch salt
2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground extra fancy Vietnamese cinnamon
vegetable oil, for frying

1. heat 1 inch oil in a wide, deep pan to 360 degrees F
2. in a medium saucepan, heat water, butter and salt to rolling boil
3. stir in flour, stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute
4. remove from heat
5. in a small bowl, beat eggs until smooth and then add to saucepan while stirring the hot mixture
6. transfer dough into a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip
7. pipe tiny churros directly into the hot oil, squeeze the bag allowing the mixture to come through, then chop it off with a butter knife when its about an inch long.
8. fry until golden brown, turning once, about 2 minutes on each side
9. transfer to paper towels to drain
10. mix sugar and cinnamon then dump onto the churros

tiny churros


1. frost cooled cupcakes with a chocolate frosting of your choice
2. top with a tiny churro or two

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