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!
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.
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.