Source: Enlightened Cakes
For the last couple of weeks, I have been craving chocolate and peanut butter so much that I’ve started to wonder if it’s a sign of some deficiency. It can’t be protein, because I’ve recently discovered Greek yogurt, which is freaking awesome and way high in protein. And it can’t be antioxidants, because come on — I’m not craving a restrained piece or two of the darkest of chocolate.
No, I’ve been craving the pure, unadulterated, utterly ideal combination of salty-sweet peanut butter and smooth milk chocolate. I’ve been craving Reese’s peanut butter cups, people, and I finally surrendered last weekend with the giddy excuse of making cupcakes for my friend Jake’s birthday.
I followed a chocolate cupcake recipe in my Enlightened Cakes cookbook. The recipe said it would yield 12 cupcakes. Um, it yielded 24.
But — I think it’s because in 12 of those cupcakes I placed a mini Reese’s peanut butter cup. That’s the only thing I can think of; that the little nugget of the best. candy. ever. must have taken up more volume than I expected.
So, long story short, I had thought I wouldn’t end up with a party-sized collection of cupcakes, but I did. So I sent some home with the birthday boy and his girlfriend, took some to work, and left a few unfrosted. But last night, Terwilliger forlornly said, “There’s no frosting on those cupcakes in the fridge.” And who am I to deny such a cute boy such peanut-buttery goodness?
A couple of notes on the recipe: I think I might have overcooked the cupcakes just a tad, because when I checked them at 15 minutes and then 20, they were nowhere near done, so I just kept cooking. I might have missed that delicate moment when the cupcakes go from done-and-moist to done-and-dry. They still tasted good, but the ones without any peanut butter cups in them were more crumby than I really like in a cupcake. So don’t overbake!
For the cupcakes:
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1/2 C. boiling water
2 C. cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 & 1/2 C. sugar
1/3 C. trans-fat-free vegetable shortening
2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
1 C. fat-free buttermilk
12 mini Reese’s peanut butter cups
For the peanut butter frosting:
4 oz. 1/3-less fat cream cheese (half an 8-oz package)
1/3 C. creamy peanut butter
1 & 1/2 C. confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
A tablespoon or two of half-and-half or milk (optional)
To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350. Line 12 (or more…) muffin cups with paper liners. Put a peanut butter cup in each one. (If you do this, you’re probably going to need another muffin tin for the rest of the batter.)
In a small bowl, whisk the cocoa powder and boiling water until blended and smooth. Set aside to cool. In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a large bowl, combine the shortening, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Beat in the cocoa mixture until blended.
Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, beating well after each addition. Spoon batter into prepared cups.
Bake 15 – 18 minutes (or longer…) until the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched (or a toothpick comes out clean).
Cool cupcakes in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. Frost with pb icing.
To make the icing (or frosting. What do you call it?):
In a medium bowl, blend peanut butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Beat in vanilla. If icing is too thick, add just a splash or two of milk, blending until you reach your desired consistency.