Several weeks ago, Manchild got a calendar in the mail. Included with it were several pages of stickers with the names of holidays printed on them. His job was to stick the sticker on the correct date on the calendar. And, boy oh boy, did he love that job. It took him a couple of days, of course, but for weeks he would pull out that calendar and inform us of the dates of the somewhat obscure holidays that made it onto the calendar. He was especially taken with Cinco de Mayo. Not only was it in Spanish, but it fell on 5/5. A lucky omen if ever there was one.

So this morning when he woke up and looked at the digital clock, which includes a date display, we were all awakened by his excited pronouncement: “IT’S FIVE FIVE! IT’S FIVE FIVE! CINCO DE MAYO!” I knew I had to come up with something fun to do. And after a couple of hours spent trying to figure out why Squish was so cranky (I mean, aside from teething and recovering from a high fever with accompanying poor sleeping and little appetite, of course), I finally let him cry himself to sleep and decided that “fun” meant “chocolate.” Manchild agreed with my plan, as long as it came in the form of “muffins.” Mexican chocolate cupcakes it was, then.

Now, you may be curious about what makes these chocolate cupcakes “Mexican.” I will tell you: cinnamon. I would have added a bit of chili powder or cayenne pepper, but it was supposed to be fun for the kids, too, so I refrained. But if you don’t have kids or if you do and they don’t complain about something being “too spicy” every time they get a fleck of pepper on their tongue, I think it would make it a little bit more Mexican if you added a pinch of something hot.

Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes adapted from King Arthur Flour

makes 1 dozen

1 cup plus 2 T. all-purpose flour

3/4  tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

6 T. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup + 6 T. sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup  butter, very soft

3 T. vegetable oil

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup water

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

Pre-heat oven to 350. Line one cupcake pan with cupcake papers, or grease and flour each cupcake well.

Sift or whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter and mix at low speed for one minute. With mixer running, add the vegetable oil. Continue to mix until it resembles coarse sand. In a liquid measuring cup, measure milk, water and vanilla. Stir together, then add to the dry ingredients all at once. Mix on low speed for 1 minute, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix for 30 seconds more. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well at medium high speed after each addition.

Fill each cupcake well 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

Whipped Cream Frosting

1 cup heavy cream, cold

2 T. sugar

2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Beat with a handmixer on medium high speed until thick enough to spread, 2-3 minutes.

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