Monday, January 02, 2006

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

After seeing Joe's banana cake, topped with a gorgeous looking peanut butter frosting, I knew that I had to find something to put it on. And very few combinations work as well as peanut butter and chocolate.
I went with a batch of moist chocolate cupcakes. They are quite easy to put together and are really delicious. The cake is cark, moist and tender, with a great chocolate flavor. Though I usually like to use buttermilk in chocolate cakes, this recipe uses plain milk. The lowfat variety is fine, but make sure to warm it up slightly, as that will help the flavor of the cocoa really come out.
Peanut butter wasn't overwhelming in the frosting, making the inside of your mouth sticky. Instead, it was plesantly sweet and smooth, a great topper for the cupcakes. I liked a thin coating of frosting for these, not only because I would have had to double the frosting recipe for a thicker layer, but because it would have been too sweet otherwise. I added 1/4 cup more confectioners sugar to the original recipe to make it a bit stiffer.

Chocolate Cupcakes
1 ½ cups ap flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
¼ tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup butter, very soft
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk, warm

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.
Add flour and milk, alternating in 3 additions, ending with flour.
Evenly distribute into prepared muffin tins.
Bake at 350F for 15-17 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
Makes 24.

Peanut Butter Frosting
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups confectioners sugar
chocolate buttons or kisses

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt peanut butter and butter and dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and whisk in milk. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside to cool completely.
Add confectioners sugar and beat on medium/high speed with an electric mixer, until smooth and fluffy. Spread on cooked cupcakes and top each with a chocolate button.
Will thinly frost 24 cupcakes (approx. 1 1/2 cups).