Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

My chocolate peanut butter cupcakes finally deserve a posting, as chocolate and peanut butter is arguably the greatest combination in the world of sweet treats. 

When it comes to chocolate cupcakes, I prefer a dark chocolate or Devil's Food cake. Often the standard homemade chocolate cake just isn't chocolaty enough. If you don't have the time to whip up cakes from scratch, I suggest Trader Joe's chocolate cake mix (in the pink box). TJ's leaves out the artificial colors, flavors and preservatives you may find in other mixes and produces a yummy, moist cake. (I've never tried TJ's frosting, so if you have let me know how it is).

Nothing about peanut butter buttercream screams healthy, but it should scream delicious. The frosting is seriously good, and only made better when you top it with even more peanut butter and chocolate. You can use real butter or Earth Balance, and store-bought peanut butter or homemade (It's the same recipe from my vegan whoopie pies if you use Earth Balance). I have had delicious success with all combinations. Note: If you opt to ice your cakes with just a thin layer of frosting, cut the frosting recipe below in half. 

Toppings I've used: regular and mini Reese's Cups (whole, halved, and chopped), chocolate-covered espresso beans, Mr. Goodbar, chocolate jimmies, and milk chocolate chips.

Cell phone shot of marbled cupcakes with Reese's and Mr. Goodbar
If you're a peanut butter lover, I suggest chopping your Reese's and coating the entire top with pieces, until you can't see any frosting. Looks like this:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. milk
6 T. brewed coffee
1 1/2 t. vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350°. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking power, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.
Whisk milk, coffee, and vanilla in a separate bowl and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time. Gradually add flour and milk mixtures at a low speed, and mix just until combined.

Fill muffin pans and bake for 15-18 minutes. Let cool before frosting.

1 1/3 c. peanut butter (recipe for homemade butter here)
1 c. or 2 sticks Earth Balance or butter
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Beat peanut butter and butter with an electric mixer. Mix in powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Refrigerate cupcakes after frosting.

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