Monday, August 25, 2008

Sweet Heat – Texas Torpedo Cupcakes

I have joined the Iron Cupcake:Earth bakers challenge! Each month a secret ingredient is revealed and bakers are challenged to come up with a winning recipe, much like the Iron Chef America show I still love so.

I’ve been in need of a challenge in the kitchen, so I took this challenge seriously, as I’m sure all the competitors did. Obviously, adding a teaspoon of chili powder to a cupcake recipe is not much of a challenge. I challenged myself to REALLY use chilies creatively and produce a little cake that I would bake again because it tastes great. I further challenged myself to use only ingredients I had on hand and not shop for any exotic chili spices or specialty chocolates. I did not bake gluten free for this first challenge. I have never made gluten free cupcakes, but my experience with the dry tendencies of gluten free treats made me think a gluten free version wouldn’t hold up to the mix-ins I was going to include. So what did I decide on?

As much as I love the combination of deep dark chocolate and a kick of heat from peppers, I figured lots of folks would do the chocolate chipotle combo, so I looked to something different. You may remember the big bag of red jalapenos I got from the farmers market recently. Jalapenos are the king of peppers in Texas. They are hot, slightly acidic, and are added to everything TexMex – migas, soups, breakfast and dinner tacos, breads, margaritas, and on and on. I thought about how I have used jalapenos, especially in salsas in combination with strawberries, mangoes, and pineapples, which are all wonderful.

Believe it or not, I had no fresh or canned pineapple on hand, but I did have dried pineapple. I made this nonvegan dessert, from Anna at cookiemadness, for my mom to take to a party and knowing it would be a huge hit, I bought extra pineapple to make a vegan version. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Anna found chopped pineapple, but this is what I have.

Yes, I do love my chocolate so I did include a bit. Any good chocolate lovin’ gluten free health conscious vegan keeps cocoa nibs on hand, right? So that’s how I came up with the combination of jalapenos, pineapple, and cocoa nibs.

As for the name I chose, “Texas Torpedo” usually refers to a cream cheese stuffed jalapeno (aka “popper”), but really it can be applied to anything with jalapenos as an ingredient, e.g., Texas Torpedo sandwich or cupcake! My cuppers are topped with a cream cheese frosting.

Now for the recipe.

Texas Torpedo Vegan Cupcakes:
(adapted from Golden Vanilla Cupcakes
from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

1/3 cup candied jalapenos (recipe follows)
1 cup nondairy milk
1 t. apple cider vinegar
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
2 T. cornstarch
¾ t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. salt
1/3 cup canola oil
¾ cup sugar
2 t. pineapple extract
½ t. vanilla extract
2 T. dried sweetened pineapple, diced
2 T. cocoa nibs
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Cocoa powder for dusting (optional)

Begin by making the Candied Jalapenos. This is best done the day before. It is a bit time consuming and messy, but so much fun to make!

Candied Jalapenos

8 medium jalapeno peppers
1 cup water
1 ½ cups sugar
extra sugar for coating (optional)

Put on rubber gloves. Cut the tops off the peppers and slice in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and membranes. Slice each half into 1/3 inch wide pieces and put into a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to boil. Let boil for 3 minutes, then drain. This will soften the peppers and remove some of the acidity.

Oil a cooling rack and set it over a parchment lined baking sheet. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add the pepper strips and boil, stirring occasionally, until most of the syrup is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn the peppers onto the rack and separate the strips. Let them dry uncovered at room temperature for 4 to 8 hours, or until they are only slightly sticky.

I coated my candied pieces with additional sugar to make chopping them easier, but yours may not need it. Chop enough strips to make 1/3 cup for your cupcakes.

You will have more than enough candied strips for the cupcakes, so use the leftovers for garnish and/or snacking.

Pineapple Cupcakes:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake tins with paper liners.

Mix the milk and cider vinegar and set aside for 5 minutes.

Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.

In a stand mixer or with electric beaters, beat together the sour milk, oil, sugar, and extracts. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Stir in the peppers, pineapple, and cocoa nibs.

Fill your paper lined cupcake tins about 2/3 full. Bake for about 21 minutes or until done. Let rest 5 minutes in tins, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

The cupcakes turned out perfectly.

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
(from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

¼ cup margarine, softened
¼ cup soy cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 t. vanilla extract

Cream together the margarine and cream cheese until just combined. Using electric beaters, add in powdered sugar a half cup at a time. Mix until completely smooth, then add in vanilla. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Texas Torpedo Cupcake

Do you like the Iron Chef logo positioned peppers? Here’s the inside.

Honestly, these cupcakes are perfectly delicious. The crunchy nibs and chewy candies add excellent texture to the soft cake, and the jalapeno did exactly what it was supposed to – leave a lingering, subtle heat.

Please vote for my pretty little spicy cupcake! Voting begins 9:00 a.m. August 31st and runs through noon September 4th at No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner. Some really nice prizes have been donated for the winner of the competition.

The winner will get all this:
The complete line of HEAD CHEFS from Fiesta Products,

A copy of the new book HELLO, CUPCAKE,

A one-of-a-kind piece of original CAKESPY art by ETSY artist Jessie Oleson,

A luxury hostess apron from JESSIE STEELE,

The next generation of the CUPCAKE COURIER,

And a new publication from the library of TASTE OF HOME BOOKS.

You can view all the outstanding entries for Iron Cupcake on the IRONCUPCAKE FLICKR GROUP page.

Why don’t you join Iron Cupcakes too! The next challenge starts soon. Learn all about it at

This challenge was so much fun and I can’t wait for the next one. Let the battle begin!


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Ahh, so glad that you joined Iron Cupcake:Earth bakers challenge!!! Hooray!!! Your entry is SURE to win!!

Anonymous said...

I wish I could get real "hot" stuff here in France! I made candied oranges for my Iron Cupcake Challenge - we must have been picking up the same energy! These look great!

Anonymous said...

Candied jalapenos?? Love it, love it. Those cupcakes look amazing. And as I love some heat in my foods (sweet or not)--must try these!

tavolini said...

wow!! so creative!! I hope you win :)

Judy's Nutrition said...

Wow! Those are some impressive little cupcakes. I just love Iron Chef...

jessy said...

sweet awesomeness! those have to be the most creative & beautiful cuppycakes! you're going to blow the competition out of the water! wahooooooooo! :D

Kati said...

That is such an intriguing combination of flavors - surely you'll win! Gorgeous frosting job, too. Good work!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

You wrote: "The winner will get all this." What you SHOULD have written was this: "I will get all this." Why? Because unless the judges are INSANE, you will win. The cupcakes look absolutely amazing, and I'm sure they taste even better (if that's possible).

Christina said...

These are gorgeous! They sound so creative and provocative.

There's a VRA hatch chili potluck coming up this week or next, I know you love the chilis, and it would be great to meet you!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, wow, wow!
What a neat idea and amazing result!
I absolutely love the end result pic with the Iron Chef candy :)

I've always said it but you are so creative!

Green Eyes, Green Heart said...

I LOOOOVE ICA!! (I mention my crush on Bobby Flay on my blog!)

Your cupcakes look AMAZING, too!! :)

~Erin @ "Vegan & the City"

Unknown said...

Wow what an interesting recipe,have never tried anything like this before....loved looks delicious:)

Kumudha said...

Spicy cupcakes look so good!

Very creative recipe.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Such creative cupcakes!! And of course, I love the Texas reference. I need to make candied jalapenos just for the hell of it, sounds fun!

Great job on the first Iron Cupcake Challenge!

Amy said...

I'm a big chilli wimp but those cupcakes are so pretty!

Erin said...

Cupcake success! The candied jalapenos are so creative, great job. I love the speckled look they have.

Carrie™ said...

What a cool combo! Good luck with the challenge!

VeganCowGirl said...

You are amazing! Those cupcakes look so great, and what a professional attention you gave to your recipe!!

Impressive and it makes me want to try even harder on Friday when I make mine.

All the best, what an excellent entry - you have my vote for sure.

Unknown said...

Hey thanks! I was at Proper Eats yesterday doing my grocery shopping and they were talking about it, but I have to work.

Pete said...

Cupcakes, Love it!

urban vegan said...

Hot-n-sassy cupcakes, just like you, chica ;)

Good luck! You are the Iron Baker.

Jackie said...

What fabulous cup cakes. You are sure to win as they must taste amazing and the recipe is so original. You have my vote.

Vaishali said...

I had no idea about candied peppers. They look like jewels! Fabulous cupcakes too.

JENNA said...

this is the 3rd vegan IronCupcake I've seen today and I want to vote for all of them. I'm also inspired to join the challenge.

MeloMeals said...

OH.. you definitely deserve to win! I will vote for you!... candied jalapenos... what a PERFECT thing.

Liz Ranger (Bubble Tea for Dinner) said...

candied jalapenos, that's *brilliant*! I think I have to make a batch straight away... they'd be good in so much!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! You should definitely submit those to Tastespotting! It's fun to show people that vegans don't eat boring, flavorless food.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! You should definitely submit those to Tastespotting! It's fun to show people that vegans don't eat boring, flavorless food.

Maggie said...

I love the confetti look of these inside! I added your cupcake to my list of favorites on my blog.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Wow, sounds like a fun cupcake!

Unknown said...

Looks beautiful and sounds absolutely delicious. I will try them real soon.

Anonymous said...

I like how you really challenged yourself here and came through with flying colors. What a great job. Marty would love these cuppers for sure! Wish I would have been back in time to vote for ya.