My Cake Decorating Gallery

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chili Cook-Off Cupcakes

I host a chili cook-off at work, and this was the third one we've had so far - it is getting bigger and better each year! We had 12 chilis enter the contest and probably about 60 people. Maybe someday I'll post "how to host a chili cook-off" but for now let's take a look at these cute cupcakes I made especially for the event!

I had googled "chili cupcakes" and saw a few chili/crockpot cakes but nothing in the way of chili cupcakes.... so I decided I could certainly make my own.

I decided I wanted to make basic cupcakes with frosting and then have a cute token on the top of them, and I was going to make four types -- red chiles, yellow chiles, blue #1 ribbons, and the GM symbol.

I hadn't used Royal Icing since the Gingerbread House party but I thought that should work out fine - it is an extremely stiff icing that dries hard and keeps its shape and it is good for making little flowers, etc ahead of time, which will be used to decorate a cake later. It's OK for taste but it's nothing you'd want to frost a cake with solely. Royal icing is also sometimes used for frosting cookies.

I mixed four different colors - blue, red, yellow, green and got out my tips that I'd be using for the different shapes, and started piping the shapes onto the parchment paper. It actually went pretty smoothly, and I made several extras in case they didn't dry quite right or if any of them broke accidently.

I let the little cute shapes dry overnight and they were perfect - they popped right off of the parchment paper and they stuck into the frosting without a problem. I think they turned out cute and I'm glad I learned a little bit more about using Royal Icing and making little decorations ahead of time - it works well!

Royal Icing
3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder (can be found at Michaels)
1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar
6 tablespoons warm water
Beat all ingredients until stiff peaks form, 7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy duty mixer (or 10-12min at high speed with a handheld mixer). Keep all utensils grease free for proper icing consistency. Makes 3 cups (though it seemed a lot less for me!). For stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water (this is what I did).


  1. These look great for our office chili cook off! What kind of icing did you use for the cupcakes themselves?



  2. Hi Tracy, thanks for stopping by! I used the Wilton's decorator buttercream icing (a double batch is about right for 24 heavily frosted cupcakes), and I use both pure vanilla and pure almond extracts and I didn't add any other flavor or cocoa. You can add water to get it to the right consistency and these cupcakes can sit out overnight without a problem.

  3. I realize this is an older post but if you could share what tip you used to make the little chili?

  4. Hi there! Thanks for your comment. I can't quite remember but any regular circle/round tip would be fine. I probably used a #7 or #10 or something like that - you can adjust the size of the pepper by varying the pressure and speed you pipe the pepper shape. If you have some round tips, try it out, or if you are shopping for one, I think a #8 is often the default round tip provided in decorating sets. Good luck, hope this helps!