The Iron Cupcake Challenge visited Mexico this month. My first thought upon hearing our destination was chocolate and chile but I wanted to find a flavor that was a bit more unique. After asking friends and searching for Mexican flavor combos I was left with these two cupcake flavors, margarita and horchata. Most people have heard of a margarita and they are aware that it typically involves lime, salt, sugar, and alcohol. However, I’m sure many people have not been introduced to horchata. It is a drink that typically includes rice, almonds, cinnamon, milk, and honey. I was a bit skeptical at first, never having tried one before. Imagine my surprise when I went to purchase one and learned that it was a cold drink. In my mind I had been imagining it as a hot drink, similar to a hot chocolate. After sampling horchata from a local taqueria and another from a taco truck I decided to go ahead with the horchata flavor. And let me say right now, I am so glad I did!
The cupcake has a cinnamon flavor, but there are subtle flavors of rice milk and almond mixed in. The cream cheese frosting is the perfect addition! These little guys just kept popping in my mouth; right out of the oven, cooled down that evening, the next morning, then with the frosting, later in the afternoon. Yikes! My husband was even talking about these the next day at work. I didn’t make any changes to the recipe. I have included the recipe for homemade horchata but I used the one I bought from the taco truck. Enjoy!
Source: The Pink Apron
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 level tablespoons cinnamon
1 1/3 cups safflower oil
1 cup fresh Horchata (see recipe below or purchase already prepared)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, gently beat together the oil, horchata, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla with a mixer. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins, filling about 2/3 full. Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through baking. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup butter, room temperature
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Cream the butter and cream cheese on medium speed using an electric mixer. Add vanilla extract, mix in thoroughly. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and mix on low-med speed. Once all the powdered sugar is mixed in, put mixer on med-high speed and beat for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Shake cinnamon over the top as a garnish.
Makes 3 cups
1/3 cups (2.5 ounces) rice, medium or long grain rice will work
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 ounces) blanched almonds
3 inch piece of cinnamon stick
1 1/4 cups hot tap water
1/2 cup turbinado (raw) sugar, plus more to taste
1 cup cold vanilla soymilk or almond milk
In a large bowl, combine the rice, almonds, cinnamon stick and water. Cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor, add the sugar and blend on high for several minutes, until the mixture is as smooth as possible – there will still be a hint of grittiness when you rub a drop between your fingers. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing on the solids until only a dryish pulp remains. Pour into a pitcher and add the milk. Taste and sweeten with more sugar to taste, if needed. Enjoy over ice.