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Vegan Guajillo Chili Chocolate Cupcakes

Thanks very much to Emilie of the blog Conscious Kitchen for developing this recipe using our chocolate. 

photo and recipe by Emilie Hardman of Conscious Kitchen

In the style of traditional Mexican chocolate drinks, this cake has layered texture and flavor from masa harina, dark brown sugar, cinnamon and the citrusy-hot kick of guajillo chilies. Gentle heat comes right from the Taza Chocolate Disc, but heat lovers can add more chili powder for extra spice. Cayenne pepper offers a neutral flavor and noticeable heat, but sticking to guajillo chilies amplifies the chocolate’s unique, flavorful bite. Guajillo powder can be hard to find; it is more common as a whole dried pepper. Simply grind the whole pepper in a spice mill for fresh homemade powder instantly.


77 grams (one package) Taza Chocolate Guajillo Chili Disc, coarsely chopped
1 cup (125 grams) all purpose unbleached flour
1/4 cup (22 grams) Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon (4.5 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2.3 grams) baking soda
2 tablespoons (14 grams) masa harina * or cornflour
1 teaspoon (2 grams) cinnamon
1/4 to 1 teaspoon chili powder, optional depending on desired heat level
1 cup (240 grams) unsweetened soymilk (Vitasoy brand is recommended)
1 tablespoon (15 grams) fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup (165 grams) piloncillo * or packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (55 grams) canola oil
2 teaspoons (8.7 grams) vanilla extract or ½ Mexican vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 (3 grams) teaspoon sea salt

Frost with Taza Whipped Ganache Frosting. Find the recipe here.

To Prepare:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Fill a medium-sized saucepan less than half way with water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat so water is steaming but not boiling. Place a bowl with a lip wider than the saucepan over the steaming water. Add coarsely chopped Guajillo Chocolate Disc to the bowl and stir gently until fully melted. Note that the discs will not melt as smoothly as some other chocolates and may seem slightly grainy. Remove from heat and set aside, taking care not to allow any water to enter the bowl.

3. In a medium-sized bowl, sift the all purpose unbleached flour, Dutch processed cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk in the masa harina or cornflour, cinnamon and chili powder, if using.

4. In another medium-sized bowl, whisk the unsweetened soymilk and lemon juice together until mixture has thickened and is foamy. Add the piloncillo or brown sugar, oil, vanilla extract and sea salt. Whisk vigorously for about one minute.

5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and whisk until smooth. Add melted Guajillo Disc to the batter and whisk until well combined. Scoop into a prepared cupcake pan or pour into prepared cake pan. For cupcakes, bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. For cake, bake 35-40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes before turning cake out of the pan or removing cupcakes. Allow cake to finish cooling completely before frosting with whipped ganache and sprinkling with cocoa nibs or chopped cacao bean.

A Note on Ingredients:

Masa harina is the flour made from corn that has been soaked in water and lime to soften it and improve digestibility. It is used widely to make tortillas and tamales. Cornflour is produced without this soaking step and without the lime. They are only roughly interchangeable products, but in this recipe, because called for in such a small amount, they may be used in place of one another without much difference. Masa harina is sold in most well-stocked grocery stores as well as specialty and ethnic markets.

Piloncillo is a flavorful, unrefined cane sugar commonly used in Mexico. It is typically sold in a hard, molded block. To use, simply grate. Brown sugar may be used to substitute, but do look for a designation of “dark” which means it contains more molasses than other brown sugar. Alternatively, you might add a teaspoon-tablespoon of molasses to the brown sugar. Piloncillo can be found in specialty and ethnic markets and spice shops.


Products used in this Recipe

Guajillo Chili Mexican style chocolate disc

Guajillo Chili $5.99

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