Chocolate-Chili Cupcakes

Cinnamon and chili pepper give this chocolate cupcake an ancient Aztec kick.

Serves: 14Hands-on: 25 minutesTotal: 2 hoursDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 14


  • 1 1⁄2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 1⁄2 Tbsp. cocoa powder, divided
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 3⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
  • 3⁄4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper, divided
  • 1⁄3 cup canola oil
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. vegan margarine, softened
  • 1⁄4 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips, melted
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, 4 tablespoons cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, vinegar, and water until smooth. Gently stir wet ingredients into flour mixture, stirring until there are no large lumps. Pour batter into paper-lined cupcake pans until 3⁄4 full.
  • Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cupcakes. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and place on wire racks to cool completely.
  • To make frosting, cream together margarine and remaining 2 1⁄2 tablespoons cocoa powder, remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne in a large bowl on medium speed. Add remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract and melted chocolate chips. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, continuing to beat at medium speed until smooth.
  • Frost cupcakes and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.