I wanted to make a simple recipe for chocolate-chili cupcakes that I could decorate with flames. There's tons of really good chili & chocolate recipes if you Google "spicy chocolate cake", but this recipe is much more basic than that. I used a Betty Crocker Devil's Food cake mix to which I added two teaspoons of McCormick Gourmet Collection Ancho chili powder. For the frosting, mix one 8 oz. package of cream cheese (I always use the reduced fat Neufchatel cheese), 1/2 cup softened butter, three cups powdered sugar, and one teaspoon vanilla. I then used food coloring to make orange, yellow and red frosting. I used the orange as a base and streaked it with the other two colors, focusing on making little peaks (to simulate flames) by pulling the frosting in an upward motion with the back of a spoon. Finally, I garnished the frosting with red, yellow and red Fruity Pebbles (or the Malt-o-Meal version in my case).
Here are a couple observations: The chili powder doesn't really make the cupcakes spicy; instead, it adds just enough flavor to make you wonder what's in there and leave you begging for more. I also love how the Fruity Pebbles add a slight crunch that contrasts nicely to the sponginess of the cupcake. Although this frosting recipe is amazing, it's too thin to adequately make peaks that resemble flames, so I think a store-bought frosting might turn out better. Let me know if you try it.