Becky, an old friend from high school came across a recipe for a Mexican spiced chocolate cupcake a few weeks ago, and passed the recipe along to me. I couldn’t wait to try them! A heavy dose of delicious spices are added to the batter to make them sing of spice. It’s funny how spice can be like that, isn’t it? Spicy doesn’t necessarily mean hot!

Ancho chile powder for a punch of smoke, cayenne pepper for a little bit of heat, and of course cinnamon to round everything out and kick the spice factor into the next stratosphere. These cupcakes were very different, but very well received. The first and foremost thing you taste is definitely the cinnamon – but the other additions are there, simmering on the back burner. The original recipe called for a ganache topping, but I opted for a buttercream instead, and loved the outcome!

If you have a hard time finding ancho chile powder, do what I do – and just grind your own. Dried peppers are a great thing to have on hand in your pantry. A ton of flavor, and they never go bad! If you’re looking for something different, try these cupcakes – they won’t disappoint!

I’d been wanting to make these cupcakes for eons it seems, but I was always a little bit thrown off by them. Who wants a margarita cupcake, when there is chocolate or red velvet to be had? Silly girl. We had a newlywed couple over for dinner earlier this week, so I took the opportunity to make them for dessert. Jamie is always declaring my previous cupcake creations “the best she’s ever had”, but she says this one now takes the cake (no pun intended!). It’s a new favorite in my book as well!

The flavors are so light and refreshing, and even with the additional tequila/orange liqueur brushed onto the cupcakes when cooling, they weren’t too boozy. Just a hint! And I loved all the lime zest in the batter. My hands reeked of lime all day long after making these! I’d made Swiss meringue buttercream some time ago, and I remember not being impressed. This frosting, however, was a completely different story. Even while beating, I was unsure. I thought it would be too sweet, and it seemed runny – “I’ll never be able to pipe this”, I thought. Then, all of a sudden, it came together magically to form the perfect consistency. Piped beau-ti-fully. And, definitely not too sweet. Loved, loved, loved it!

I also topped the cupcakes with a sprinkling of fleur-de-sel right before serving. Something about the occasional salty bite hiding in the fluffly cloud of frosting that really “sealed the deal” for me – just like a margarita. Make these now!

I have yet to meet a cupcake that I didn’t like, but this one really “takes the cake” (heh, no pun intended!). My girlfriend Morgan made them for a cookout a couple years ago now, and they’ve been my favorite ever since. There are several variations on Oreo cupcakes floating around on the blogosphere. All of them contain the little treasure at the bottom of course, the Oreo cookie. Which, is such an unexpected and delightful treat.

Here is my take on it; a simple vanilla cupcake with an Oreo surprise on the bottom, topped with a rich Oreo buttercream frosting. It’s pretty much perfection. If you’re looking for something fun to bake this weekend, look no further. I’m sure they’ll quickly become your favorite cupcake too!

In case you hadn’t taken notice, St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend. I love all the glittery shamrocks, leprechauns, and Irish booze. What better way to mark the occasion than by baking cupcakes laced with two of the green isle’s two favorite spirits? Bailey’s and Guinness.

A quick Google led to several different variations. Many recipes called for a whiskey ganache filling for the cake, which sounded divine, but I was kind of pressed for time.  So, I went with a basic recipe for a moist, chocolate Guinness cake topped with a Bailey’s buttercream frosting.

I made these for my ladies book club that I hosted last Friday night, and everyone really enjoyed them. There is just enough of a boozy bite from the frosting to give it a kick, and the Guinness cake was just perfect – light, airy, and moist. I was honestly a bit worried about the cupcakes before putting them in the oven. With a whole bottle of beer in the batter, it’s very thin. Next time I might try using a batter bowl to fill the cupcake liners, instead of a scoop. Whether you’re creating an Irish celebration at home this St. Patty’s Day, or going out for a wild night on the town…try to squeeze in some time to make these cupcakes!