Chocolate Cake & Mexican Hot Chocolate (Inspired) Icing

8pm hit and I needed some chocolate. I wasn’t feeling patient, nor was I looking forward to cleaning anything in the kitchen that I had to use, so I found the least taxing chocolate cake recipe I could find and invented some icing, and scarfed down a boatload of both.

I was so eager to have my cake and eat it too that I’d already piled all the ingredients into the mixer before I realized that I didn’t have white vinegar, which, apparently, has been voted “most popular” household liquid for its utility. Vinegar is common in baking because, as every second grader knows, it reacts with baking soda and helps leaven the batter by enlarging the air bubbles. Cool, too bad I didn’t have any. But, good news, there are other things that one can use in place of vinegar that react similarly, like lemons, which I did have on hand and substituted in equal parts for the vinegar.

This recipe made more batter than I knew what to do with, so before I knew it I was making not only an entire cake, but a bunch of cupcakes and refrigerating left-over batter.

“You know, steppin’ on fruit, baby oil, shoe danglin’.” – MGB

The cupcakes alone were stellar (see picture of young lady, enjoying one in the dark).  And though I’ve never been much for icing Meg’s suggestion of a Mexican Hot Chocolate Icing couldn’t resist experimentation. After looking through a few different icing recipes I decided to blaze my own path and just throw what I had into the mixer and hope for the best–a typical “Nan” solution to any myriad of challenges. To approximate, I creamed together about 1/2 cup of room temperature butter, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of an unlabeled red substance that I think was chili powder and 2 cups of powdered sugar.

The result was an orangey, spotted rather thin icing that didn’t look very trustworthy and nothing like what you might want globbed all over a delicious dark chocolate cake. The taste, though, was spot on of Mexican Hot Chocolate, sweet and slightly spicy, and the two things actually made quite a nice pair.

So I had to figure out a way to pretty up the icing with minimal effort. I decided to try piping the icing into circles onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and freezing it for a few minutes, then decorating the cake. The icing was too gooey (and my patience too thin) to try any more intricate designs, but the result was pretty nifty looking, eh?

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