Hunks of Burning Love Cupcakes

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This recipe is a variation on that old favorite flavor, red velvet cake. To spice the flavor up a bit, ground red pepper, cinnamon and pepper sauce increase the heat level, creating a new sensation. My first thought upon hearing about the Valentine's Day contest was that Elvis Presley song 'Burning Love.' Love can be the same as tastes: hot, incendiary, smoldering. These cupcakes fit this idea by layering the heat level.

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Mesquite, TX

Ingredients

  • Cupcakes:
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 C. butter, room temperature
  • 3 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/4 C. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbs. red food coloring
  • 1 1/2 C. buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vinegar
  • Frosting:
  • 1/2 C. butter or margarine
  • 6 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 Tbs. buttermilk
  • 4 1/2 C. sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2-1 tsp. Chipotle-flavored or jalapeno-flavored pepper sauce

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Directions

Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 28 2-1/2-inch cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. NOTE: If desired, use silicone heart-shaped cupcake liners placed on a rimmed baking sheet, or place regular paper liners in metal heart-shaped cupcake pan.

In medium bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, red pepper, cinnamon and salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium-high 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until combined. One at a time, add eggs; beat on medium after each. Beat in food coloring on low.Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to egg mixture; beat on low to medium speed after each just until combined. Stir together baking soda and vinegar. Add to batter; beat just until combined. Spoon batter into prepared pans, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake 15-17 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely before frosting cupcakes.

Frosting:In a medium saucepan stir together butter or margarine, unsweetened cocoa powder and buttermilk. Cook and stir until boiling; remove from heat. Beat in sifted powdered sugar, vanilla and pepper sauce to taste with an electric mixer on low speed until blended.

Decorating Note: You can melt white chocolate chips with a touch of red food coloring and drizzle a heart on top of each cupcake. For a more grown-up taste, you could replace one or two tablespoons of the buttermilk with orange-flavored liqueur or cinnamon schnapps in both the batter and frosting. 

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