Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

Yum! I can't say that this is my favorite cupcake ever, but it is my favorite that I've made up all by myself. I started to bake, decided not to use a recipe, and this is how it ended up:

I know. I really should take pictures with a good camera. But, my camera is having some issues and my phone is oh, so much more convenient!

Even Sam, who doesn't do cake often, complimented these. That's really saying something, lol!

Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark) 
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 sticks butter, softened to room temp.
1 c. white sugar
4 eggs, room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. coffee
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. milk

Preheat your oven to 400. I like to preheat mine so high, and then when I put the cupcakes in the oven I immediately turn it down to 350. The higher temperature at the start helps the cupcake rise to a nice dome and hold their shape well--no spilling over the sides! 

Mix cream, coffee, milk, and vanilla together and set aside.
** Don't worry that these will taste like mocha. The coffee just helps enhance the chocolate flavor and leaves no coffee taste. When I want to make a mocha cupcake, I brew the coffee twice as strong!**

Mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder and soda together in a bowl with a whisk or a sifter. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. When I know I'm going to make cupcakes, I leave the butter out overnight to soften. Anyway, cream for 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated between each. Add 1/3 flour, incorporate, add 1/3 liquid mix, incorporate, continue until all ingredients are mixed together. Don't overmix! 

Fill cupcake cups 2/3 full and bake about 16 minutes. Depending on your oven, you may want to rotate the pan halfway through for even cooking. 

Let cool completely, on a rack, before frosting. Don't leave them in the pans or they will continue to bake and end up too done. This recipe should make about 24 cupcakes.

Peanut Butter Buttercream:
3 sticks butter, softened. 
1/2 to 3/4 c peanut butter 
4-6 c. powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp. heavy cream

You don't want the butter to be as soft for the frosting as you had it for the cake batter. You want it softened enough to cream well, though. I pull it out as I'm gathering ingredients for the cake and by the time I'm ready to make the frosting (after all the cupcakes have cooled) it's ready.

Anyway. Cream the butter about 2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and mix well. You can add as much or as little as you like, it's all about preference. Add one cup powdered sugar and cream and mix well. Continue adding sugar one cup at a time until desired consistency is reached. The peanut butter may make the frosting thick; add  cream a little at a time if needed so that the consistency is smooth and creamy. 

I added a few sugar sprinkles after I piped the frosting on. So yummy!

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