The Proposal / Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes

A public proposal gone awry leads to a meet cute in Jasmine Guillory’s sophomore book, The Proposal. I have found romance novels to be hit or miss, but I have loved all of Jasmine Guillory’s books and eagerly await her new releases. Her characters are well developed and while of course there are some romance novel cliches, they all feel natural and fit with what the characters would actually do.

One common theme among Guillory’s books is a love of food, which I obviously appreciate. In this book, the main character’s best friend owns a cupcake bakery. Her signature cupcake is a spicy chocolate cupcake that I decided to try and recreate.

Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting


  • Cupcakes
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 cup hot water
    • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
    • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Frosting
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and cayenne pepper. In another small bowl, whisk together hot water and cocoa powder.

In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, vegetable oil and vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Mix in flour mixture, alternating with water mixture, until no lumps remain.

Spoon batter into prepared tins, filling ¾ full. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from tin and let cool completely.

For the frosting, add heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar to a bowl of a stand mixer and whisk using the whisk attachment on high until soft peaks have formed.

Add vanilla extract and cinnamon and beat for about a minute longer, until stiff peaks have formed.

Transfer whipped cream to a piping bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

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