Chipotle Chocolate Cupcakes + Fudge Frosting + Cookie Gravestones

Here are some scaaaaaaaary cupcakes for you.
(Now imagine I said that in a ghost voice, all spooky-like.)

Chipotle + chocolate = love. In these cupcakes you can taste the spice without being bullied by it. It’s an obvious heat without being scary.

I used Dutch cocoa to make these super dark and mysterious. If only I was dark and mysterious. I’m pale in the redhead way. I suppose, it could work in my favor though. Like if I wanted to be Daria’s sister, Quinn, for Halloween (like my friend Katie suggested). The only problem is the whole belly shirt thing… I’m a lady, after all.

But mostly, I just hope you’ll give these spicy chocolate dreamboats a chance, because they are hotties. Literally!

Chipotle Chocolate Cupcakes {makes 12}
Recipe adapted from 125 Best Cupcake Recipes


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 t smoked chipotle smoked hot pepper or 1 T chili powder
  • 1/2 t espresso powder
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk*

* Place 2 t lemon juice in the bottom of a 1-cup measuring cup and fill 3/4 of the way up with milk. Set aside to turn into buttermilk.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, cocoa power, chipotle powder, espresso powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl , whisk together sugar, oil, egg and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Alternately whisk flour and buttermilk into oil mixture, making three additions of flour and two of buttermilk, beating until smooth.
  4. Divide batter between the 12 muffin cups and bake for 22-27 minutes or until tops of cupcakes bounce back lightly when touched. Cool completely on a wire rack and frost with fudge frosting.

I really love this frosting.

Fudge Frosting
Recipe adapted from 125 Best Cupcake Recipes


  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 T milk
  • 1 t vanilla


  1. In a small bowl, beat powdered sugar and cocoa powder into the butter until smooth. Add the vanilla and slowly add the milk. Beat until it’s smooth.

Put a toothpick behind the gravestones if they are tipsy.

Brownie Roll-Out Gravestones {makes 2 dozen-ish}
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen‘s Mom


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • heaping 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • white chocolate for decorating


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk dry ingredients together (flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon). Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least an hour.
  2. Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into gravestones using a pizza cutter by cutting the dough into rectangles and then rounding the top. Brush extra flour off the top and bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8-11 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies, until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  3. Melt white chocolate and transfer to a sandwich bag. Snip a teeny corner off of the bag and pipe “RIP” onto the gravestones. Pipe some white chocolate spiderwebs onto wax paper and place in the freezer for more fun decoration. Top your spicy cupcakes!

Elliot was a fireman for halloween when he was a puppy. Now he’s too cool.

7 thoughts on “Chipotle Chocolate Cupcakes + Fudge Frosting + Cookie Gravestones”

  1. I’ve tried this before with disastrous results. I’m glad you’ve met some level of success. I’ll have to try your recipe ’cause this idea is just too good to fail permanently.

    (Unrelatedly, my captcha code is ttnf which made me giggle and want to say “t-i-double-guh-er!”)

  2. oh man! Which part didn’t work out for you? Cupcake disasters are the worst.

    haha I understand your captcha urge! 🙂

  3. There’s a man at the farmer’s market that makes chipotle brownies that are to die for. And the market is all closed up for the winter 🙁

    I’m going to have to file this cupcake recipe away and try it one day.

  4. I tried the recipe for the cupcakes. The smoked chipotle has a subtle warmth. It is very good and I will definitely make these again. Mine were a bit dry, but I overbaked them.

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