I have been enjoying the sweetest of days. My niece’s Bat Mitzvah gathered family in beautiful bucolic Sonoma County, California – a place that stole a piece of my soul many years ago. A second niece celebrated the pivotal milestone of turning twenty-one. And, to add icing to my cake, Jael was able to join us from New York for the weekend. Few things in life provide more joy and warmth than family gatherings, the kind when multiple families from the same tree collect in one place for the singular purpose of sharing another’s accomplishments and successes. And that is how I spent this past weekend, nourished with both the love of family and more food than was reasonable to eat.
I had the great honor of providing dessert for my niece’s luncheon. Flying from LAX to SFO with dozens of cookies and macarons, even if only on an hour long flight, was a challenge. Only a few macaron were sacrificed in transport. Cupcakes were the central theme of the dessert table. It was impossible to fly twelve dozen cupcakes on a plane that would have amounted to hundreds of dollars in baggage fees, not to mention the condition they would have been in upon arrival. So, I spent Friday baking and frosting. Such a sweet day, in my sister-in-law’s kitchen with other family members, fluttering about with the united purpose of creating a memorable and scrumptious meal.
Satisfy your craving for chocolate AND peanut butter as you bite your way through the twirled topping of this tender crumbed cupcake.
Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Peanut Buter and Chocolate Twirled Frosting
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup hot water
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups peanut butter cup minis
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a liquid measuring cup, combine the hot water and the cocoa. Stir until the cocoa is completely dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and the sugar and beat on medium speed until blended and lightened in color. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down the side of the bowl.
Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, to which the vanilla has been added, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrap down the side of the bowl. Add the cooled cocoa mixture and beat until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold the mini peanut butter cups into the batter.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes in the middle of the pan comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
1 cup butter, room temperature
5 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons whole milk
Miniature Peanut Butter Cups for decorating the cupcakes (optional)
Chopped Peanuts for decorating the cupcakes (optional)
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar, one cup at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down the side of the bowl. Add the peanut butter and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and salt and beat to combine.
Remove one half of the peanut butter frosting to another bowl. Set aside.
To the remaining peanut butter frosting, add cocoa and beat until combined and the mixture is smooth. Add enough milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is piping consistency.
Prepare a large piping bag with a decorating tip with an opening of approximately 1/2-inch. (I used Ateco 825)
Carefully spoon the peanut butter frosting into one side of the piping bag, followed by the chocolate frosting on the other side of the bag. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Top each cupcake with a miniature peanut butter cup and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
Yield: 30 cupcakes
Source: Mary Weinberg of Sifting Focus