Chipotle Mexicorn "Cupcakes"

CornbreadChipotle Mexicorn "Cupcakes"
Adapted from Chicago Sun Times and The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2009
Makes 1 dozen

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated hot pepper Monterey Jack cheese (I used a Colby/MJ mix)
1/2 can (11oz) Mexicorn (Green Giant Brand), drained, or 1/2 can of corn kernels, drained, and 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper)
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely minced

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Spread cornmeal on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in center rack of oven. Toast until color deepens and becomes fragrant, about 5 minutes.

3. Mix cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the cheese.

4. In a small saucepan or skillet, heat oil and butter. Swirl to mix until butter is completely melted. Remove from heat.

5. In another bowl whisk buttermilk and eggs. Slowly pour about 1/4 of oil mixture into buttermilk mixture, stirring constantly to temper. Slowly pour in remaining oil mixture and whisk to combine. Add chipotle chile and corn mixture, stirring to mix. Add to flour mixture, and stir only until it comes together.

6. Pour batter into well oiled cupcake tins. Bake until tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Turn out on a rack to cool.

Chile Lime Butter
Makes 1/2 cup

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 to 1 teaspoon lime zest (about 1/2 to 1 lime)
1 tablespoon lime juice (about 1/2 a lime)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
Pinch of salt

1. Stir ingredients together until combined. Chill until ready to use.

Cornbread and ChiliMy second IronCupcake: Earth entry! This month's challenge was creating a savory cupcake. Ah! I don't do savory! #1-- I can't cook! (Okay that's not entirely true. I can. I'm just not very skilled at it.) #2--My insatiable sweet tooth doesn't understand the concept of savory. Even things I do cook have a sweet element to it! (That chili over there in the picture? Totally has brown sugar and chocolate in it..) What could I make that would pass as a savory cupcake?! The only thing I could think of was some kind of cornbread. Better make it spicy and full of corn to resist any temptation to lead it to the sweet side.

I found a recipe for cornbread in the Best of America's Test Kitchen 2009 magazine I bought for Boyfriend a couple months ago. It sounded pretty good, so I "borrowed" the magazine from him. (It's not like he was really using it anyway. *hint hint Boyfriend: make me dinner!*) As good as it sounded, it didn't have many savory elements to it. With a little more searching, I turned up a recipe for Chipotle Cornbread, chock full of red bell peppers and chipotle peppers. Score! Now let's throw a bit of corn in there too, for good measure.

While I was out shopping for my ingredients, I came across a can of Mexicorn--a mix of corn, and red and green bell peppers--from Green Giant. Absolutely perfect! Now I don't have to worry about what to do with the rest of the red bell pepper I was going to buy. (Eating it is completely out of the question. Yuck!)

I took some of the methods from the ATK recipe, like toasting the corn meal first to enhance the flavor, as well as the addition of melted butter to the oil. Honestly, I don't know that either of these really added to the flavor, so don't feel like you have to do these. (If you're not using the butter, don't worry about heating the oil. This was just to combine the butter and the oil together.) Both recipes called for making one large cornbread loaf in a cast iron skillet. Well that wouldn't be very cupcake like, would it? (Plus I don't have a cast iron skillet..) I poured the batter into well greased cupcake tins instead. I also adjusted the cooking time. I wasn't sure how long to put them on for, so I started with 15 minutes on the timer. That ended up being the magical number; they were done perfectly when I checked on them.

Sure, they were perfect little cupcake shapes, but they still didn't scream "cupcake" to me. They were missing something very important. Something that distinguishes a cupcake from it's muffin cousin. Frosting. What could I possibly put on a spicy, savory cupcake? I decided on a Chile Lime Butter "frosting". I absolutely love the combination on grilled corn. Mmm the sweet kernels of corn, dripping with buttery goodness, mixed with a bit of a tartness from the lime and a kick from the cayenne pepper. Since corn is the star of this show, I thought it would pair well. (Just go easy on it. The amount I slathered on the top were for photos only. No way could I ever eat that! I'm not Paula Deen y'all.)

Overall, it's an alright cupcake (*cough* muffin..). Not the best I've ever had, but not completely inedible. It's got a very strong chipotle flavor to it. It pretty much overpowers everything else. Maybe next time I'll just use ground chipotle powder instead of the chopped chiles. And I don't really like eating it with the Chile Lime Butter, even after I scraped the majority of it off after taking pictures. Maybe on plain cornbread? There's just too competing flavors. Honestly, I'd take a Jiffy corn muffin over these any day.. Slather a little jam on top.. Mmm.. But maybe that's just my sweet tooth talking again.

Even though they weren't the greatest creation on Earth, thanks for showing your Busty Baker love by voting for my Chiptole Mexicorn Cupcakes! Here's the awesomeness I could've won!

Our May ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:
Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, http://www.fiestaproducts.com, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, http://blog.hellocupcakebook.com, JESSIE STEELE APRONS http://www.jessiesteele.com; TASTE OF HOME books, http://www.tasteofhome.com; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM http://www.upwithcupcakes.com/. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, http://www.1800flowers.com .

In hindsight, I wish I would have made these awesome Corn on the Cob Cupcakes from Hello Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson (which I could win!), instead. How much cuter would these have been? And certainly yummier too! But I guess not really "savory"..

Picture from Hello, Cupcake! Book, page 25
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bigchief said...

They were tasty! Like I said when we were eating.. they just needed to firm up a bit so they were a bit more harder like corn bread.. the chili was yummy too!!!!

Kiesha Jenkins-Duffy said...

Looks pretty good to me! I'm not a big spicy food fan, so I would have to skip that chipotle.

I would have eaten the rest of your red bell pepper.

I'm making apple pie this week...I had to buy FIVE POUNDS of apples for this pie!!!! It's insane.

cookies and cups said...

These are great and something totally doable for dinner...love your pictures too!

Elyse said...

Awww, I'm sorry that these didn't taste as you would've liked. I have to say, they certainly sound delicious. Maybe the chipotle powder would make a difference! Either way, I think this is a fabulous entry for Iron Cupcake! Great job!

Ingrid said...

I'm not too crazy about savory cupcakes but these actually sound pretty good especially if you give me a bowl of tha tasty chili!

Ingrid said...

I meant to tell you I thought you were being too hard on yourself. And good luck!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Haha did you see the episode of Paula's Best Dishes with the lady who was on SNL?? It was hilarious!

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