Had a special request for a dessert cupcake for a dinner with friends...not just any friends but friends with kids. Now while most of my cupcake cravings lean to the more couture or gourmet or maybe just plain funky side, I wasn't sure that a few kids under the age of 5 would think that something like a margarita cupcake was super cool. Or more specifically maybe they would, but Mom and Dad definitely woudln't.
Good ole Peanut Butter to the rescue. Actually, TJ's mini milk chocolate peanut butter cups. I made a vanilla buttermilk cupcake and baked mini PB cups into them. Topped with a simple cocoa buttercream, confectioner-sugar style and a few sprinkles and mini PB cups. Not your 'basic' cupcake, but still fun for kiddies too.
Used the Dorie's Tiramisu Cake recipe, since I loved the way the cake tasted when I made it for my friend's bday (before the espresso soaking), and just added a bit more vanilla and buttermilk. I am a sucker for a really vanillay buttermilky cupcake ala Kara's in SF. I also halved the recipe to get just 12 cupcakes and 3 minis. I love the minis for me because then I can give away all the large ones and just 'sample' the small.
Preheat your oven to 350 and line a cupcake pan. I finally got to use my Unbleached Cupcake Liners from Whole Foods, they are a pale tan color and soft to the touch, not rough textured at all...they look wonderful with the light cake and the chocolate frosting.
Peanut Butter Surprise Cupcakes:
Makes 12 large and 3 mini
1c all purpose flour (original recipe called for cake but I wanted a more rustic crumb ala old fashioned style)
1 tsp baking powder
1/16 tsp baking soda
1/16 tsp salt
5 tlbspoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2c bakers sugar
2 room temperature eggs
1 tblsp vanilla
1/2c+ buttermilk (i used slightly more but not quite 2/3)
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
Cream butter and sugar together in mixer til fluffy.
Mix in eggs one at a time, until each is mostly imcorporated. Whip til totally incorporated. Add vanilla.
I use a KA mixer up until this point, but then remove it from the machine and hand-mix in the rest of the ingredients so I don't get a flat cupcake. Add in dry ingredients and buttermilk to the bowl, alternating each time, wet and dry, until incorporated entirely. Do not mix.
Use a spring release canteloupe baller to fill cups 1/3 way, just covering bottoms with batter. Press mini PB cups into batter (I used 3 of these but they are really tiny, if you use mini Reese's you'd just probably need 1), cover with another scoop of batter til cups are about 2/3 full.
Bake at 350 (using oven therm!) for about 18-20 minutes (mine were done in about 18). Remove from oven, let cool in pan for 3-5 minutes, remove to cooling rack right side up and cool entirely before frosting.
Simple Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
6 tblsp room temperature unsalted butter
2-3c confectioners sugar
1-2 tblsp milk
3/4c unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
Cream butter and mix sugar in slowly, along with milk until consistency is reached, add cocoa and whip slowly until all air bubbles are remove. Add more cocoa or confectioners powder to make the frosting more stiff for piping if required. My frosting was super stiff, but I love it like that.
Pipe or frost onto cupcakes. Sprinkle with kid-friendly colorful pareils or just another PB cup. It's so funny because this frosting recipe is not my fave, it's soo sweet, but people seem to just love it. I always get compliments on it.
These cupcakes were a huge hit. I mean HUGE. One of our friend's had two..and my husband pronounced them my best yet. Wow. And he samples a lot of stuff. I have to admit, the PB surprise inside was a total sneak attack of fabulousness...and they are so fun when you are eating them.
I had some random teal colored chocolate covered sunflower seeds which were perfect for the two little boys in terms of decor, I figured pink sprinkles weren't cutting it here.
Make these NOW. Seriously. I am already contemplating making them again for next wkd. They were that yummy. Interestingly enough after refridgerating these for about 15 min they tasted even better than when room temperature. Something about the frosting and PB inside.