Monday, May 4, 2009

chocolate cupcakes and peanut butter icing

i just made these this weekend for allie's 30th birthday, and they seemed to be a hit (not that anyone would have said they didn't like them...).  well, the kids loved them and we all know they can't help but be honest...  if you like the chocolate and peanut butter combination, i am pretty sure you will love these.  the recipe is courtesy of the barefoot contessa.

cupcakes -
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup good cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and two sugars on high speed for about 5 minutes (until fluffy).  lower the speed, add eggs one at a time, the vanilla.  in a separate bowl whisk buttermilk, sour cream and coffee, and in a third bowl mix dry ingredients.  on low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds, beginning with buttermilk and ending with flour.  mix only until blended.  divide batter into cupcake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.  let cool before frosting.

i am not really sure why whenever i try to make chocolate cake or cupcakes, they never seem to come out that really dark, delicious color.  mine always look a little more muted.  maybe the cocoa powder i use isn't "good" enough.  any suggestions?  i am always tempted to just buy the box mix next time and make the frosting...  

peanut butter icing
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter (ina garten uses skippy - i used jif)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (yes, allie, butter also - i forgot)
3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup heavy cream

mix confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment.  mix on medium-low until creamy, scraping sides with rubber spatula.  add the cream on high speed until mixture is light and smooth.  


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