I must admit that I'm not a huge fan of chocolate. I know, I know, what's wrong with me - right? Don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't like chocolate, it's just that it's not one of my favorite things. I can appreciate a Hershey bar or a bowl of chocolate ice cream just as much as the next person. Of course, I pretty much have to or I think my Mom and Sister would disown me and claim that I don't belong in the family. It's just that I much prefer sweeter, spicier or fruitier flavors and one of my all time favorites are Hot Tamales.
I actually can't keep a box of Hot Tamales around because I'd be in danger of eating the whole box in one sitting and then not being able to feel my tongue for several hours (and making dentists everywhere cringe). So it's not so far fetched that I'd want to try to make a Hot Tamale Cupcake. The weird thing about this is that I usually search the interwebs to get recipe and technique ideas but I couldn't find any other Hot Tamale cupcakes out there. So what's a girl to do? I decided to take one of my favorite vanilla cake recipes and add a bit of crushed up Red Hots to it and then top it with a Hot Tamale icing. Why red hots? Well....the hot tamales in the grinder didn't do so well. The gummy centers don't break down so well into a powder that can be added to a cake batter. And the red hots taste very much the same, so....
These are nice and moist and the super strong cinnamon icing balances out really well with the more mild cake. I will make these again someday.... yum!
Hot Tamale Cupcakes
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 tbsp Sprite
3 tbsp Cinnamon Imperials (Red Hots) – ground
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard cupcake tin with paper liners.
Whisk the flour, ½ of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until thoroughly mixed.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the eggs together with the vanilla, sprite and the Ground up Cinnamon Imperials.
Add in the remaining cup of sugar and mix until blended. With the mixer running at a slow speed slowly add in the oil, followed by the buttermilk until mixed. Add in the flour mixture ½ cup at a time and mix just until blended.
Spoon the batter into the paper liners with a ¼ cup measuring cup filling them until they’re ¾ full. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops bounce back when touched. Let cool on a wire rack until ready to ice.
This recipe makes 24 cupcakes
NOTE: I used my spice grinder to pulverize the red hots into a fine powder.
Hot Tamale Syrup
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup Hot Tamales
Bring Water to a slight simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the Hot Tamales and simmer until all of the red coating has melted off the outside of the candies. NOTE: the inside jelly part of the candy won’t melt via stovetop, but since all of the flavor is in the coating it’s okay.
Let the syrup reduce over low heat for an additional 5 – 10 minutes stirring occasionially. Strain the syrup into a bowl and discard the jelly parts that are left.
Hot Tamale Icing
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
4 -5 cups powdered sugar
5 tbsp Hot Tamale Syrup
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Cinnamon Imperials (Red Hots) – ground
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment whip the butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add in half of the confectioners’ sugar (¼ cup at a time) and mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula periodically.
Add in the Hot Tamale Syrup and ground Red Hots and mix until well combined. Continue adding in the remaining confectioners sugar a quarter cup at a time, stopping when the desired icing consistency and sweetness is reached.
Ice cupcakes and garnish with an extra Hot Tamale if desired.