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Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from Love and Olive Oil and Food Network
Makes 24 cupcakes

1 cup sugar
1 cup real mayonnaise
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
1 cup buttermilk

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
½ to 2 tablespoons of milk*

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard muffin tins with cupcake papers.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and mayonnaise until blended. Add the vanilla and blend.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne. Add dry ingredients to the mayonnaise mixture in 3 batches alternating with the buttermilk.
4. Divide the batter among the prepared pans, filling each cup 2/3 full. Bake for 18 minutes, or until the tops are firm and spring back when lightly touched. Cool in tins for 10 minutes. Remove from tins and place on wire rack to cool completely.
5. When cupcakes are completely cooled, make frosting: In a medium bowl, sift together sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and salt, and beat until combined. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar mixture, and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add milk as necessary to thin out to desired consistency. (Start small with the milk. You can always add more if you need it. If you do add too much, add in some more confectioners’ sugar until it gets back to the consistency you’re looking for.) Pipe or frost onto cupcakes.

*Note: I suggest warming the milk up a bit before adding it to the frosting. Bring it to room temperature while the cupcakes are baking, or throw a little bit in the microwave for 10 seconds or so. Adding in cold ingredients tends to make your buttercream separate and look a bit curdled, which doesn't make for pretty swirls.

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