I love Santa Fe. Everything about the city is magical. On my first trip there almost a decade ago I ventured into a tiny cupcake shop called “Dream Cakes” near the plaza. One particular cupcake caught my eye—green chili and cornbread cupcake. What!??? All of the traditional flavors of New Mexico married together in an cupcake? Yes please!
I purchased a few cupcakes and took them back to my hotel. The snow lightly fell outside and my husband and I waited to try this most unique cupcake. We fell in love. Such a unique eat. The moist cornmeal cake topped with sweet honey buttercream frosting. The tiny chunks green chiles added a subtle spice that was balanced by the sweet frosting. It was the perfect balance of everything I want in a treat.
Years went by and my husband and I would talk about those cupcakes often. We revisited Santa Fe last year and unfortunately the mysterious little cupcake shop is long gone, but their tantalizing creation lives on. I spent quite a while crafting my own take on this delicious treat.
If you’re not familiar with Hatch Chiles, I’m assuming you’ve never visited the American West, or more specifically New Mexico. Never before has a single ingredient been so associated with a place. New Mexicans serve chiles on top of everything. “You want red or green? Let’s make it Christmas !” You’ll hear this often if you dine out there. I promise you there’s a reason I dreamed of this dessert for years. Make my version and you will too. Even my kids go crazy for these. A truly unique cupcake that I guarantee you’ll love. Check your local grocer and see if some fresh hatch has made it in—and behold one of the best things I’ve ever ate.
If hatch chile peppers are in season, you can roast them in your oven – about 1 large hatch chile makes enough for this recipe (link to recipe here), canned hatch chiles work well too. If you’re roasting your own chiles, remove all the seeds before dicing them.