Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes & Peanut Butter Buttercream

I have a 4-day weekend and what better thing to do than bake?  I've been itching to try out the decorator bottles my parents gave me for Christmas, so it was the perfect excuse to find a new cupcake recipe to try.  Do you know how many different cupcake recipes there are?  In case you didn't know, there are a lot.  I probably could have spent hours looking through all the different recipes and cupcake/frosting combinations, but I stopped when I spotted a chocolate cupcake with a peanut butter frosting (but trust me, I bookmarked about 10 recipes along the way).  Also, I did want to bake sometime today, so I needed to stop being so indecisive if I was going to get anywhere.  ;)

These cupcakes are delicious.  Just be careful not to over bake the cupcakes or they will be dry.  The frosting is absolutely amazing.  I wasn't sure about a peanut butter buttercream at first.  I didn't want it to be an overwhelming peanut butter taste.. but it wasn't.  I may or may not have eaten a big huge spoonful before frosting the cupcakes.  He he.  It was like peanut butter and sugar and heaven all whisked together and it was just begging for me to eat it.  I probably would've licked the bowl if I didn't have any self-control...

Chocolate Cupcakes
recipe from Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • optional:  chocolate shavings for decoration
TIP:   Don't have buttermilk on hand?  No worries!  Place a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup,  then add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line.  Let stand for about 5 minutes.. then voila, use as much as you need!  Buttermilk substitute!  I use it all the time.  :)

Preheat oven to 350 F and put 12 cupcake liners in a muffin tin.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.  Add sugar and beat about 2 minutes, until blended with the butter.  Add the egg, then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  Beat in the vanilla, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear.  Scrape down the bowl and add the buttermilk, mixing until incorporated, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients.  Scrape down the bowl, add the melted chocolate and mix it in with the rubber spatula.  Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins, about 3/4 full.

Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean - be careful not to over bake!  Transfer the muffin pan to a rack and let the cakes cool for 5 minutes before unmolding them.  Cool to room temperature before frosting.

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
recipe from Cook's Illustrated
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or natural peanut butter)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
In a medium bowl, beat (or if you have a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment) the butter and peanut butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.  Add the powdered sugar and salt, beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined (make sure to get all those lumps out.. you want a smooth frosting).  Scrape the bowl again, then add the vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium-high speed until the buttercream is light and fluffy - about 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl a couple times.

Makes 1 1/2 cups of frosting (will frost 12 cupcakes).

Also, I absolutely loved using the decorator bottles.  It was so easy to use.. no mess, and an easy clean-up!  And I must say, I like anything that makes my life easier.  :)


Stephanie said...

Oh yum. Now I want a cupcake!

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