Sarah McLauchlin’s
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 package (18.25 oz.) dark chocolate cake mix
1 can (15 oz./ 1 ¾ cup) pure pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup cinnamon chips *

Cinnamon-Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
½ cup Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (plus more if frosting is too thin)

white and dark chocolate candy melts **

Equipment: 12 cup muffin/ cupcake pan, cupcake liners, wire cooling rack, decorating bags, adapters and tips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin/ cupcake pan with liners and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, place cake mix, pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend on low speed for one minute. Scrape down sides and increase mixer speed to medium, mixing for two more minutes. Fold in cinnamon chips, blending until chips are well distributed.
3. Scoop batter into prepared pan, filling each cup about ¾ full.
4. Place pan on middle rack and bake for approximately 12-16 minutes (depending on oven) until tester inserted comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan, resting on a wire rack, for 5 minutes. Pull cupcakes out of pan and cool on wire rack 30 minutes more.
5. To make frosting: Mix cream cheese and butter on low speed in large mixing bowl until well combined, about 1 minute. Stop mixer and add cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar. Blend on low speed, until ingredients are moistened, adding more sugar if the frosting seems too thin. Increase speed to medium and beat until the frosting is fluffy, about two minutes more.
6. To make decorations: Melt chocolate candy melts and pour into separate decorating bags. On a sheet of parchment paper, using desired tip, make small “c” shapes with the dark chocolate and disk shapes with the white chocolate. Chill until hardened.
7. To assemble cupcakes: Frost cupcakes, sticking a dark chocolate “c” into one side for a handle and a white chocolate disk on top for creamy foam. Dust with cinnamon. El bueno comer!

* After obsessive searching, the only place I have been able to find cinnamon chips is online, though any store that sells King Arthur products, like THE BROOKLYN KITCHEN, can special order them for you. If you can’t get the cinnamon chips, you can substitute chocolate chips for the cinnamon chips, adding more cinnamon to the cupcake batter. The result is an equally delicious, but more chocolate-y, cupcake.

** I used Wilton’s Candy Melts, melted in a microwave in a disposable decorating bag, but you could use any easily melt-able chocolate.

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