Chocolate Cupcakes with Whipped Peanut Butter Buttercream

It’s potluck night, boys and girls, and I’m in charge of dessert.  It’s not just any potluck.  It’s the one year anniversary of the monthly potluck group!  The first anniversary is the paper anniversary, I think, so I decided that cupcakes in paper wrappers would be just the thing.  Cupcakes have been all the rage in the last couple of years so it’s easy to find new recipes, even for an old standby like chocolate.  Here’s what I’ll say about these.  They’re fantastic and a complete mess all at the same time.

I made this a little hard on myself by making just a half recipe.  I figured four people probably didn’t need 24 cupcakes.  The first thing that struck me about this recipe is that the egg yolks and whites are measured in ounces.  It occurred to me after the fact that the ounces were probably supposed to be measured in liquid ounces and not by weight.  Oops.  So, I likely had way too much egg in mine.  Then I noticed how much liquid is in here.  Even for a half recipe there’s 1 1/4 cups liquid, not even counting the egg.  This batter is nearly water thin.  That makes it a mess to spoon into the cupcake liners without dripping everywhere.  Still it’s a surprisingly rich chocolate flavored batter.

On to the baking portion of the program.  I followed the instructions to fill the liners 3/4 full.  Big mistake.  Of course you should always put your muffin pan on a cookie sheet for baking for just this reason.  Sadly, I didn’t.  I spent a good portion of today cleaning the dripped over burnt cupcake out of the bottom of the oven.  Ugh.  The other problem with cupcakes that run all over the place is that you can’t get them out of the pan.  I had to run a knife around them which meant a lot of cupcake got left stuck to the pan and the edges are really ugly.  Fortunately the potluck girls are very forgiving about presentation.  The amazing thing is that these cupcakes are feather light.  Amazingly airy.  Which bring us to the frosting.

These are so, so light that I think they might just collapse under the weight of regular buttercream.  I could have done a seven minute or meringue frosting, but I love buttercream and I wanted a peanut butter flavor which won’t work in either one of those other frostings.  Hallelujah, I found a recipe for whipped buttercream on epicurious.com!  I’ll admit it’s harder than regular buttercream, but it’s exactly the right thing for these.  I made the frosting by the recipe (only a 1/2 recipe), whipped it about half way, added about 3 tablespoons of peanut butter and finished the whipping.  Only one complaint about this frosting. It calls for regular sugar instead of powdered sugar.  I like that the flavor is less sweet, but the texture is a little grainy.  Next time I might add half the sugar to the milk and flour slurry and substitute a little powdered sugar to whip into the butter.  The peanut butter flavor is subtle and perfect.

I think these are going to be a BIG hit tonight, but just to make sure I topped each one with a peanut butter ball.  My dad makes them every Christmas and I keep a stash in my freezer and try to make them last all year.  This is a perfect way to use a few.  And the final kicker is that I get to take them in my personalized cake carrier!  Don’t you wish you had one?!

 

Good? C’mon, they’re cupcakes.  Of course they’re good.
Easy? Nope. There are much easier ways to make cupcakes.
Good for company? Definitely a way to impress your friends!
Special shopping? Nope.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Whipped Peanut Butter Buttercream

The recipe below is halved, but no other changes have been made. Consider the text above when you’re filling the pan.

Ingredients

(makes 12-15 cupcakes)
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cups cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 ounces egg yolks
1 1/2 ounces egg whites
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line regular sized cupcake pans with 12 liners.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks, egg whites, milk, oil, water, and vanilla. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients in 3 stages, scraping down at each addition and beating for about 30 seconds.
Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full and bake until baked through, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.

Whipped Peanut Butter Buttercream

Ingredients

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
1/8 cup sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 T creamy peanut butter

Directions

In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the milk, the flour, and the vanilla extract, and whisk until there are no lumps. Over medium heat, slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup milk, whisking constantly, and cook until the mixture comes to a low boil. Then reduce the heat to low and keep whisking for a few more minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken.

Immediately remove the pan from the heat, but keep stirring. (After you have removed the pan from the heat, the mixture will continue to cook for a minute or two on its own. If you overheat it and get small lumps, try to whisk vigorously to get them out, or pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve.) If necessary, place the pan over a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and allow the mixture to cool.

Once the milk mixture has thickened, set it aside to cool to room temperature. You can stick it in the freezer to rush the cooling.

Cream the butter on medium speed, 3 to 5 minutes, in a standing mixer or with a hand mixer until soft, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the milk mixture into the butter-sugar mixture. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting begins to come together, 1-2 minutes. Add vanilla and peanut butter to combine. Whip another 2-3 minutes. Pipe onto cupcakes.

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2 Responses to “Chocolate Cupcakes with Whipped Peanut Butter Buttercream”

  1. Brandy Says:

    ….and frankly these cupcakes (so moist, best frosting ever, best peanut butter ball toppers ever) were the hit of potluck. Of course the personalized carrier they arrived in was also uber-fabulous!! Happy Anniversary to the Potluck Group!!

  2. Stephanie Says:

    Sound delicious. I would if you used superfine sugar if that would’ve taken care of the grainy issue.

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