- With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place baking cups in a 12-cup muffin pan.
- In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, bring the milk, water, sugar, cocoa powder and spices to a boil while whisking. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- In another bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until creamy. With the mixer on low speed, add the milk mixture, alternating with the dry ingredients.
- Divide among the muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool. Remove from the muffin pan and let cool completely.
- Place the chocolate in a bowl. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, bring the cream, corn syrup and spices to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute.
- Gently whisk together the ingredients until the chocolate is completely melted. Slowly whisk in the butter until melted. Refrigerate until the icing is spreadable but not completely set, about 1 hour.
- Ice the cupcakes. If desired, decorate with a few pink peppercorns or a dusting of cayenne.