These mouthwatering chocolate chili cupcakes with chili cream cheese frosting are possibly the most requested dessert recipe I’ve ever made in my life. Whether you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo or just want incredible flavor, these Chili Chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are sure to please.
Every year friends of ours hold a Chili cook-off and we whip up a batch or two of these cupcakes, people rave about them! In fact, we often refer to them as Earl-Cakes, after our buddy Earl who’s not usually much of a dessert kind of guy… until he sees a plate of these sitting on the table.
If you’re not much of a cake decorator ( I can assure you, I’m not!) you can use this simple frosting gun to apply the frosting in pretty swirls. It’s also great for filling cupcakes or donuts too.
1 box Devil’s food chocolate cake mix (& ingredients to prepare the cake as directed on the box)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ancho chile pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the Frosting:
1 teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract, or to taste
24 small dried red chiles (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.
In a large mixing bowl combine the dry cake mix, 1 1/2 teaspoon of ancho chile pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, mix with an electric mixer or whisk to incorporate the spices evenly throughout and remove any potential lumps.
Add the water, vegetable oil, and eggs (in the amounts listed on the box); mix until combined then beat for 2 minutes.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake cups, filling them 2/3 full.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes.
Remove and cool completely before frosting.
In a medium bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of ground ancho chile, 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon with the confectioners’ sugar, mix with an electric mixer or whisk to incorporate the spices evenly throughout and remove any potential lumps.
In a bowl, combine cream cheese and butter, beating with an electric mixer on medium speed until blended, then add the spiced confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, mixing well between additions until all the sugar is fully incorporated and the frosting is smooth; mix in the vanilla extract.
Spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes in attractive swirls, and poke a small dried chile, stem-side up, into the frosting as a garnish, if desired.