My Award Winning Chili Chocolate Cupcake Recipe from the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars


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Back in 2011, I was a contestant on the show "Cupcake Wars" and was honored to walk away with some winning recipes.

In my effort to create unique and delicious confections, I pushed the limits a bit and experimented with innovative ingredients. Some of the judges were a bit skeptical a first, but thankfully they ended up loving them.

My Chili Chocolate Cupcakes were one of them. I hope you and your family will enjoy them!


  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/ ½ cups of white granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup of cocoa powder
  • 5 tablespoons of chocolate instant pudding
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of ground chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ of kosher salt
  • 1 cup of low-fat milk
  • 5 whole eggs
  • ½ of canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces of sour cream (light)
  • 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise with olive oil
  • 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips

Dark Chocolate Ganache:

  • 2 and 1/2 pounds dark chocolate (recommended: Ghirardelli's)
  • 1-quart heavy cream
  • 1/4 pound butter, cubed


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Prepare a cupcake pan with 24 cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, pudding mix, baking powder, baking soda, chile powder, cayenne, and salt in a medium bowl. Combine the milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract in a 5-quart mixer with a paddle attachment on first speed. Add the sour cream and mayonnaise. Add the dry ingredients, 1 scoop at a time, allowing each scoop to be incorporated before adding the next. Once all the dry ingredients are incorporated, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom. Turn the mixer up to the second speed and mix well. Turn the mixer off. Add the chocolate chips and fold them in by hand. Fill the cupcake liners using a 2-ounce scoop. Bake for 15 minutes. Insert a skewer into the cupcake, if it comes out clean they are ready to be removed from the oven. Let cool completely before decorating.
  3. To assemble:
    Place a star tip #849 in a large piping bag. Fill with Dark Chocolate Ganache and generously frost each cupcake. Mix equal parts of gold dust with vodka to make edible gold paint. Using a small round brush, paint the edges of the ganache with edible gold paint. Garnish by placing 1 large and 5 small sugar diamonds on top of each cupcake. Sprinkle with edible gold glitter.
  4. Dark Chocolate Ganache:
    Make your own double boiler by filling a pot halfway with hot water. Let the water come to a boil. Place a metal bowl over the pot, making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Put the chocolate in the bowl and stir to melt. When the chocolate is melted completely, remove it from the heat. Scald the cream (to 180 degrees F) in a pot over medium heat. Pour the heated cream over the melted chocolate and slowly incorporate; the chocolate will appear glassy. Add the butter, in pieces, to the chocolate. Mix until all the butter has melted. Let it sit for 1 to 2 hours. The ganache is ready when it is a pipe-able consistency.

One comment on “My Award Winning Chili Chocolate Cupcake Recipe from the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars”

  1. First of all, Casey's Cupcakes are the best in the world. I go there for every occasion I can possibly think of. When I found this recipe, I got so excited!!! I can't wait to try it. My question is; Is there really a total of 5 1/4th cups of the flour (cake and all-purpose)? That's more than I have ever seen.

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