Firefly Inspired Chocolate Chili Cupcakes

Firefly Inspired Chocolate Chili Cupcakes

Finding Inspiration and Chocolate Chili Cupcakes

Jump to recipe:  Chocolate Chili Cupcake Recipe

Recently, I met and interviewed Firefly Grill’s new Executive Pastry Chef, Michael Conti.  

firefly grill desserts

After I photographed all the new desserts, Chef Conti brought out a dozen spoons and said, “Here you go.  You should probably try all of these too.”  Whaaaat?!!!  Instantly, I was five years old and meeting Santa.  So cool.  I think I was on a sugar high for the next 3 days.

firefly grill desserts

Since Conti and I chatted, I can’t get 3 of his desserts out of my head: the Whiskey Pecan, the Chocolate Espresso, and the Passion Fruit mousse.  

Whiskey Pecan
The Firefly Grill’s Whiskey Pecan
Passion Fruit
Firefly Grill’s Passion Fruit Mousse
Chocolate Espresso
The Firefly Grill’s Chocolate Espresso

Sweetening bitter defeat

Yesterday we valiantly cheered on our Green Bay Packers as they met a crushing defeat against the Atlanta Falcons.  There was only one thing left to do: make chocolate cupcakes.  

And because the day was gray and cold, I thought adding guajillo chilis would heat things up nicely.  I chose these chilis in particular because they don’t have a lot of heat (as chilis go) and they have a tanginess to them that reminded me of limes.  Knowing raspberries and limes play well together I felt this was a perfect fit.

Chocolate Chili Cupcake Recipe - moist rich chocolate cupcakes with a kick! Oh la la! |
Guajillo Chili

Conti plays with layers of flavors.  I kept thinking about that, especially the way he uses raspberries on the passionfruit mousse and what seems like 106 chocolate variations in his chocolate espresso petite sweet.  Thinking about those flavor points, I came up with a chocolate chili cupcake with raspberry filling and a chocolate ganache icing with chili sprinkles.  

Chocolate Chili Cupcake Recipe - moist rich chocolate cupcakes with a kick! Oh la la! |

My taste testers approved!  This cupcake recipe is adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, From My Home to Yours.  She did a great interview with America’s Test Kitchen.  I love her passion for inspiring home cooks to take her recipes and make them their own.  Check it out if you get a chance: Episode 534.  And stop by the Firefly Grill for a little something sweet!

Chocolate Chili Cupcake Recipe - moist rich chocolate cupcakes with a kick! Oh la la! |
Chocolate Chili Cupcake with raspberry filling and Ganache icing with Guajillo Chili Sprinkles



Chocolate Chili Cupcakes

Chocolate Chili Cupcake Recipe - moist rich chocolate cupcakes with a kick! Oh la la! |

Moist rich chocolate cupcakes piped with raspberry filling.  It’s got a kick too! Oh la la! |

  • Author: Madalaine
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cupcakes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 oz strong coffee
  • 2 teaspoons bird’s eye chili, discard the seeds and grind the outer husk
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, preferably syrupy and thick)
  • 2 oz German chocolate
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 oz milk chocolate
  • 1 cup seedless raspberry jam


  • mixmaster or hand mixer
  • large bowl
  • cupcake tin
  • cupcake lines (24)
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • grinder or blender
  • cookie sheet
  • ice cream scoop or disher
  • shallow bowl
  • icing pipe bag and tip


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill cake pan or cookie sheet with water and put in oven. This creates a humid environment and makes for moist cupcakes.
  2. Put liners in cupcake tins.
  3. Cut the chocolate into small pieces and microwave for 20 second increments, stir in-between until melted.
  4. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Grind the chili as fine as you can and blend 1 teaspoon of it into the dry ingredients.
  5. Mix the milk, coffee, and balsamic vinegar together.
  6. Beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars. Scrape the sides down.
  7. Add the eggs 1 at a time. Beat for 1 minutes in between eggs and scrape down sides. Then add the yolks and oil, blend again and scrape the sides. Beat in the vanilla.

  8. Turn the mixer on low or stir and carefully add 1/3 of dry mixture. The add 1/3 of liquid. Continue alternating until you’ve add all of them.
  9. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl. Add the cooled melted chocolates. Blend well.
  10. Using your ice cream scoop (or disher), fill cupcake lines 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Cool completely.
  12. Fill icing bag with raspberry jam. Poke tip into cupcake and gently pipe 1 1/2 teaspoons into center of cupcake.
  13. Melt 6 ounces of milk chocolate and put into a shallow bowl. Carefully dip each cupcake into chocolate and sprinkle with remaining chili grounds.


This is a fun indulgence.  It’s got a real Aztec vibe!  Enjoy!

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6 thoughts on “Firefly Inspired Chocolate Chili Cupcakes”

  • wow! Mad a the pictures are amazing and the new recipe look outstanding. Love the way you describe the lime/guajillo connection, It made me feel like we where talking together at your house.

    • Thank you so much Maca 🙂 Speaking of guajillo… Juan picked out a Pastor Taco recipe using a paste made from guajillo chilis and we made them this past Saturday. WOW, were they GOOD!!!

  • These look amazing! I had no idea that the Firefly had a new pastry chef. I’m really excited to go there. Their desserts are always great; especially the ice cream, but I can see they have been taken to new heights! Thanks for the wonderful blog!**Looking forward to making sous vide with my friend soon!

    • Thanks! I’m with you. Firefly has the BEST desserts and their ice cream is off the charts!!! This past week they had Butter Peanut. 😀 I love how creative Conti is and how they are constantly bringing new items out with a twist. Delicious AND fun!

    • Thanks Kate! I really hope you like them. It took me a few trials to get the chocolate/spice balanced. Let me know what you think!

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