Pistachio Cupcakes with a Cinnamon Black Pepper Buttercream


I think my call to arms in the baking world is a dessert that is both spicy and sweet. And no, this isn't a phase I'm going through. Red Hots, Hot Tamales, and Fireballs run in my blood thanks to my mom. Although I don't see the possibility for confrontation in my desserts, my official dessert tasters think otherwise. When I made these cupcakes over Easter my brother told me that I should name my future bakery "It's Not What You Think", because he truly did not expect to taste a salty sweetness with a peppery kick when biting into one of these guys. He was intrigued, confused, enthused, and energized after eating one of the cupcakes and told me that my slogan would be "if it doesn't burn your tastebuds, it'll burn your face!"

Thanks, Eric.

Baking Temp: 350 degrees F

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Baking Time: 18 minutes

Decorating Time: 5 minutes

Yields: 22 (ish)

First Cupcake Consumption Time: 1 minute, 45 seconds


1 cup roasted pistachio nut meats, crushed and turned into dust

1 ½ cups sugar

¾ cup flour

¾ cup cake flour

2 tsp. baking powder

¾ tsp. salt

¾ cup butter

4 large eggs

2/3 cup half n half

2 tsp. vanilla extract


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin cup pans with paper liners.

-Blend the crushed pistachios with ½ cup sugar, set aside.

-In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

-In a large bowl, with an electric mixer/beater, beat the butter and 1-cup sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat one egg in at a time.

-In a separate bowl, stir milk and vanilla together.

-Combine the flour, milk, and butter mixtures, mix well.

-Mix in the pistachio/sugar mixture.

-Spoonful batter into the prepared muffin cups to about 2/3 full.

-Bake 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

-Let cool in the muffin cups for about 5 minutes before removing.

Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

½ cup butter, softened

4 ½ cups confectioners sugar

1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. almond extract

6 tbsp. half n half

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. cracked black pepper


-In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy.

-Add in everything else and mix well with electric beater.

Cupcake Decorating Instructions

-Grab 1 frosting decorating bag and the jagged edge tool. Create the decorating spout.

-Add as much buttercream frosting into the frosting decorating bag that can fit.

-Begin to decorate cupcakes in a slow spiraling motion, starting from the outside, making your way to the center of the cupcake, then lifting up to leave a nice icing peak.

-With a rainbow peppercorn grinder, grind pieces of pepper overtop of the icing.

And enjoy!