Sister Solidarity (and Dragons)

Today marked a proud and momentous occasion in history: a multi-national women’s march in peaceful protest of human rights. In true Sarmie Sister fashion, we baked about it.


Digestible declarations disappear upon consumption, but it’s our hope that these words echo to the generations who follow us. We applaud the millions who spent their Saturday roaming city streets in the name of dignity and respect for all humans.

In honor of the women’s march, we thought we’d share a bakeoff-winning recipe with a strong presence– one inspired by Game of Thrones’ Danaerys Targaryen, a nasty woman in her own right. We present our “Mother of Dragons” cupcakes, a chocolate sponge filled with ancho chili ganache, salted caramel, and adorned with vanilla bean buttercream flames and a piped chocolate dragon. Enjoy a touch of heat, paired with the emblem of the Khaleesi herself.


Admittedly, this recipe requires plenty of steps; but then, so did today’s march (see what we did there?). For these cupcakes, our base chocolate cake recipe is adapted from the tried-and-true King Arthur Flour recipe, with a few tweaks. Without further adieu, here’s the recipe:

Mother of Dragons Cupcakes
Yields approx. 24 cupcakes

Special Items Needed:

  • Candy melts
  • Food color spray in orange and red (we use Wilton Color Mist)
  • Wax or parchment paper
  • Chocolate wafer cookies
  • Dragon wing, tail, head template (draw your own or print 1″ copies)

Chocolate Cupcakes:


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup coffee
  • 4 large eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the cupcake tins with paper liners.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  3. Mix in the butter at low speed until smooth, then spoon in the oil.
  4. Stir the vanilla, buttermilk, and coffee together in a liquid measuring cup, then the liquid to the batter. Mix for at low speed, stopping to scrape the sides until combined and smooth (should take one to two minutes).
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well at medium-high speed between additions.
  6. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl, and mix for one minute more.
  7. Spoon the batter in 1/4 cup portions into the cupcake liners.
  8. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. The cupcakes are done when the top springs back when very lightly touched in the center.
  9. Place on a rack to cool.

Ancho Chili Ganache:


  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. Place chocolate into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with ancho chili powder
  2. Over low / medium heat, scald the heavy cream. You should see bubbles on the edges of the surface. Do not boil.
  3. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit for a minute.
  4. Using a whisk or fork, gently mix the chocolate and cream until shiny and smooth.

Salted Caramel Filling:


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt


  1. Heat granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly (but gently) with a high heat-resistant rubber spatula.
  2. Watch closely until the sugar turns into an amber-colored liquid. Be careful not to burn.
  3. Once completely melted, drop the butter into the pan. Don’t be alarmed if the mixture bubbles rapidly,but be careful not to burn your hands.
  4. Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted.
  5. Slowly drizzle in heavy cream while stirring.
  6. Allow the mixture to boil for one minute.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow to cool down before using.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting (dyed yellow for design)


  • 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3  Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 2 drops yellow gel coloring
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the butter, salt, and shortening until pale and voluminous. This will take about five minutes.
  2. Add sugar one cup at a time and mix, alternating with a spoon of heavy cream (NOTE: add cream as needed).
  3. Once the mixture is nearly smooth, add the vanilla and continue whipping until smooth and airy.
  4. Add yellow food coloring and whip until desired hue is achieved.

Instructions for final assembly:

  1. Using either a cupcake corer or butter knife, cut a well into each cupcake. Pipe the ganache into the center, followed by the salted caramel (see below):


  2. Pipe the butter cream on top of the cupcakes in teardrop shapes to resemble little flames.
  3. Lightly spray the tips of the buttercream “flames” with color spray until desired flame effect appears.
  4. Heat the candy melts. Place template images of wings and dragon body underneath the parchment paper so template is visible. Pipe chocolate onto parchment, tracing the images. Allow to harden.
  5. Place the wafer cookie into the center of the cupcake so a half-moon protrudes from the center. Arrange the dragon body parts around the wafer to assemble the dragon.


Hope this recipe empowers you to take on something ambitious!