Spiced Chocolate Marigold Cupcakes

Spiced Chocolate Marigold Cupcakes

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

These spiced one-bowl chocolate cupcakes come together in a snap and are decadently rich and fudgy, a perfect complement for everyone’s favorite: cream cheese frosting. If elaborately piped frosting isn’t your thing, a simple dollop will taste just as delicious! 


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup (8 oz, 2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch processed
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 4 large eggs plus 2 yolks
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda


For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 1 cup (8 oz, 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup (4 oz, ½ package) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • yellow and orange gel-based food coloring, as desired


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with a rack in the center position. Line the cavities of two standard muffin tins with paper liners and set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and light brown sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, cinnamon, ancho chile powder, salt, boiling water, and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in the butter mixture and sour cream until well combined. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, whisking vigorously after each addition. Add the flour and baking soda and whisk until smooth.
  3. Transfer the batter to a container with a pour spout and divide into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cavity about two-thirds full.
  4. Bake the cupcakes for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue baking until the cupcakes spring back to the touch and a skewer inserted into a center comes out clean or with moist crumbs, about 12 minutes longer. Transfer the cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely.
  5. For the cream cheese frosting: Combine the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  6. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add about 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and beat until no dry patches remain. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until light, about 30 seconds. Continue adding the remaining confectioners’ sugar in this manner, beating well after each addition.
  7. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the food coloring, a few drops at a time, until the desired color is achieved. Refrigerate the frosting for 15 to 20 minutes if it is soft and difficult to work with.
  8. To pipe marigolds blossoms: Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch petal tip. Pipe a ¼-inch tall ring of frosting on the top of a cupcake, leaving about a ¼-inch border.
  9. Hold the piping bag at a 45-degree angle with the narrow end of the petal tip towards the outside edge of the cupcake. Starting in the center, pipe outwards over the frosting ring and then back to the center, forming a narrow U-shaped petal. Continue piping petals, working around the top of the cupcake in a single layer. Pipe additional layers of petals in the same manner, each layer slightly smaller than the one below. Refrigerate the frosting and the cupcakes if at any point they become difficult to work with.
  10. Store the cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


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