For the spiced black pepper cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.
Place the chocolate and water in a bowl. Let sit for 1 minute. Stir the chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the applesauce, sour cream, oil, vanilla and eggs. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the brownie mix, flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, pudding mix, pepper, cinnamon, baking powder and salt to the chocolate mixture. Mix until combined. Scoop the batter into the muffin tin, filling each cup three-quarters full. Bake until done, 21 to 23 minutes.
For the icing: Whisk the heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to over beat, or the cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together the mascarpone and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until combined.
Frost the cupcakes with the icing.
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Janell Brown