As I've mentioned before, we alternate between themed swaps (specific proteins, cuisines, ingredients, etc.), and swaps where we're assigned a blog and can choose any recipe we want. The latter is now called the "Blogger's Choice" swap. And that's what this round was themed.
I was assigned the blog Feed Me, Seymour by Kim Cooper. The blog has a lot of recipes that looked delicious, both sweet and savory, but I kept going through the entire blog until something really jumped out at me.
And there it was: chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. I haven't baked in a while. And this recipe combined two of my favorite flavors. Kim included a simple American buttercream icing, but I decided to double up on the chocolate AND the peanut butter and iced mine in chocolate mousseline buttercream, then topped them with a peanut butter drizzle. Because there is no such thing as too much chocolate or peanut butter.
These cupcakes were AMAZING. The filling tastes like the center of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, but better. The cake is moist and chocolate-y. The icing is light and creamy. And then more peanut butter. These do take a while to make, so start two or three days before you plan to serve them. Then sit back and enjoy the sugar high!
Some tips: (1) chill the peanut butter filling briefly to firm it up before scooping and rolling. (2) During baking, rotate the muffins tins 180 degrees and at the same time, put the top pan on the bottom shelf and vice versa. If your oven has hot spots, this will help the cupcakes bake evenly. (3) For all parts of the recipe, but especially the icing, measure out all ingredients first and get all cookware and utensils ready to go. Once the sugar syrup reaches the appropriate temperature, you'll need to work quickly. (4) Use a candy/deep fry thermometer when making the icing.
Also, be aware that the icing recipe makes about a cup more than you'll actually need to ice the cupcakes, so you can
have it for breakfast the next day save it for later.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream and Peanut Butter Drizzle
Cupcakes and filling adapted from Feed Me, Seymour
Icing recipe by Rose Levy Berenbaum's The Cake Bible
Drizzle recipe by Food Network Magazine (March 2012 issue, pg 76)
For the filling:
- ⅔ cup (2 ⅝ oz) confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup (4 ¾ oz) creamy peanut butter
- 2 Tbsp. butter, soft
- ½ tsp. vanilla
For the cupcakes:
- 1 ⅔ cup (7 ⅛ oz) all purpose flour
- ¾ cup (2 ¼ oz) unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup (8 oz) Greek yogurt (full- or low-fat, not non-fat)*
- 2 Tbsp. milk
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup (8 oz) butter, soft
- 1 ½ cup (10 ½ oz) sugar
- 2 eggs
For the icing:
- 2 cups (1 pound) unsalted butter, soft but cool
- 1 cup (7 oz) sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 5 egg whites
- ½ tsp + ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
- 3 fluid ounces chocolate liqueur, such as Creme de Cacao or Godiva liqueur
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao), melted and cooled
For the drizzle:
- ½ cup (4 ¾ oz) peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
- Place confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, soft butter, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until well-combined and creamy.
- Scoop by the teaspoon-ful and roll into balls; place on parchment-lined sheet pan. Set aside. Note: Can be done a day ahead of time; cover entire sheet pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, milk and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each one until well-combined.
- Stop the mixer, and add one-third of the dry ingredients to the mixer. Mix on medium-low speed until almost incorporated. Add half of the yogurt mixture, mix on medium-low until almost incorporated. Repeat with another third of the dry, then the other half of the yogurt, then the final third of the dry. The batter should be very thick.
- Spoon the batter into a piping bag, filling it halfway. Snip off the tip. Pipe a thick layer into the bottom of each cupcake liner (Batter can also be spooned in, but because it's so thick, it will be hard to spread). Place a peanut butter ball in the center of each liner, pressing slightly into the batter but not all the way to the bottom. Pipe more batter around and on top of each peanut butter ball.
- Bake in the oven for 25 to 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set on cooling racks for five minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin pans, then allow to cool completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Set aside in a cool place but do not refrigerate.
- Place a heat-proof glass measuring cup next to your stovetop. In a small heavy saucepan (preferably non-stick), heat ¾ cup of the sugar and the water over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture bubbles. Once it does, turn the heat to low (if using gas range) or remove from heat (if using electric range).
- In another mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy (using the whip attachment on a stand mixer is recommended). Add the cream of tartar and beat until whites form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and beat until whites form stiff peaks.
- Return the heat under the syrup to medium-high (or return saucepan to heat) and boil syrup until it reaches firm-ball stage, or 248 to 250 degrees. Immediately transfer the syrup to the glass measuring cup to stop the cooking.
- Pour a small amount of the syrup into the egg whites and whip on high for five seconds. Add a larger portion of syrup and beat another 5 seconds. Add the remaining syrup (using a spatula to scrape all of it out of the cup) and beat on high another five seconds, then lower speed to medium and beat up to 2 more minutes, until the bottom of the mixing bowl is cool to the touch (If after two minutes, the bowl does not feel cool, drop speed to low and beat until bowl is cool).
- Switch to the paddle attachment, and on medium-low speed, beat in the butter 1 tablespoon-ful at a time. The mixture will thin out, but keep adding the butter. If the mixture ever seems curdled, increase the speed a little, and beat until smooth before adding more butter.
- Once all the butter has been added, drop the speed to low, and slowly drizzle in the liqueur. The icing will seem to separate, but continue beating on medium-low speed until it comes together.
- Slowly add the melted chocolate and beat until the icing is uniform.
- Spoon into piping bag fitted with large round tip and ice the cupcakes. Refrigerate to set icing.
- Place the peanut butter, confectioners' sugar and milk in a microwaveable bowl. Heat on high for 30 seconds, then stir until combined.
- Spoon into a plastic or parchment piping bag, snip a corner off the end. Drizzle peanut butter mixture over chocolate icing.