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Chocolate Chip Cayenne Cupcakes

November 7, 2010

In the midst of the major, shared holidays, it’s also birthday season all around me.  My baby brother and a sister recently celebrated their special days, while next week another brother and my father will be doing the same.  Next month Jonathan and our very dear friend will reach their mid-twenties together and we just attended a party last night in celebration of our friend, Chris.  To the lover of all things sweet, spicy, very spicy and experimental, these were made for Chris’s party!

A cupcake so sweet and fluffy, with chocolate chunks, a vanilla topping and a surprising kick.

Chocolate Cayenne Cupcakes
Makes 18
Influenced by Vegan Cupcakes

Ingredients:
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp cayenne powder
1 c. + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 c. warm soy milk
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

To Do:
1: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place cupcake cups into tins.
2: In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and cayenne powder.
3: In another large bowl, beat together sugar, milk and shortening until smooth. Mix in vanilla extract, then pour batter in with dry ingredients.  Blend well.  Fold in chocolate chips.
4: Fill cups 3/4 full of batter and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a clean toothpick test.

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With party guests in mind, who weren’t expecting a cupcake with spice, I added a very vanilla frosting.   Having never used shortening at all before, I conclude that it is a great baking ingredient.  It bothers me that it’s not natural, but it is vegan and surprisingly has less unhealthy fats than coconut oil and butter.  While taste-testing the frosting I couldn’t send it out without a little buttery flavor, hence the margarine.  Try them!  Tell me what you think!

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Vanilla Frosting Ingredients:
1/4 c. + 1 Tbsp vegetable shortening
2 3/4 c. organic powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp warm water
4 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp margarine, room temperature

Sprinkled topping (optional):
cayenne powder and 1 ounce grated semi-sweet chocolate

To Do:
In a medium bowl, beat shortening with 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 Tablespoon water until smooth and almost fluffy. (Beating with a spatula as opposed to a whisk will alleviate headaches and messes.) Slowly add remaining water and sugar until well blended.  Add vanilla extract and margarine, continue to blend until smooth and creamy.

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