Chocolate cupcake with peanut butter icing

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They say that you revert back to a child as you get older.  I recently found this to be true since I am suddenly into peanut butter (and jelly) lately.  I would make a PBJ sandwich for my son and eat half of it before handing it to him.  There is just something about that sticky peanut butter on the roof of your mouth that is so satisfying.

With that, I decided to take my new found love for peanut butter and combine it with my true love: chocolate.  Just don’t speak of this in front of my hubby.  But, I think he is starting to realize that he cannot compete with chocolate.  Just like a reeses peanut butter cup,  this cupcake is a combo made in heaven.

I feel that the slight saltiness from the peanut butter enhances the sweetness from the chocolate cupcake.  To take it a notch up, I garnish this little babies with a few caramel balls.  Now, that is like a red cherry on top of a great dessert.

 

 

Chocolate cupcake with peanut butter icing (source: Barefoot Contessa)

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup good cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Chopped salted peanuts, to decorate, optional
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it’s completely blended.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frost each cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Peanut Butter Icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Perfect yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting

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I had a birthday request from my little guy for a vanilla cupcake.  I knew I wanted a nice texture cake that is buttery and not too sweet.  I compared both this recipe from cheftalk which has some characteristic of a pound cake.  So, this is not a sponge like cake at all.  That type of cake requires more eggs which was not what I was looking for.  I thought this cake has a nice crumb and taste.  However, it was a little more dense than I thought but I did made a mistake in putting one less eggs.  Hey, my daughter wanted to crack the eggs and we only used two intead of three.  So, that could be  why it was not lighter.  I wonder what would the results be if I used cake flour next time or use buttermilk instead of milk?

Next time, I may try Cooks Illustrated fluffy yellow cake since that has similar ingredients of a sponge cake with the exceptions of more ingredients such as butter and either milk or buttermilk.

As for the frosting, I convinced him to pair the yellow cupcake with classic chocolate buttercream frosting.  Doesn’t remind you of cafeteria or afternoon snack with milk?  I remember all I wanted to that smooth chocolately frosting.  I did not use the entire amount of powder sugar as in the recipe.  I wanted just the right amount of sweetness without losing the volume.

Yellow Cake (source: cheftalk)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (do not sift the flour)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
Vegetable oil
1 stick butter (not margarine), softened
1-tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°

Cut wax paper to fit the bottom of (3) 9 x 1 1/2-inch round pans. Spray the pans with cooking spray, place the wax paper in the pans and spray the paper.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, mixing well.

Measure the 1-1/4 cups of milk in a 2 cup measuring cup….then add enough vegetable oil to bring the liquid up to 1-1/3 cups.

Add the milk/vegetable oil mixture, butter and vanilla to the flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer on medium to medium-high speed for 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed.

Add the eggs and continue beating an additional 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near center of cake comes out clean, or until cake springs back when touched lightly in the center.

Cool cakes on wire racks for 15 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely.  Frost as desired.

Basic Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.