I know, I know – everyone else is talking turkey, cranberries, and stuffing and I’m posting cupcakes that have absolutely nothing to do with Thanksgiving. It’s very hard to get into the season when it’s still HOT outside and that’s what I’m experiencing now.

I made these cupcakes a couple weekends ago for a family party and they were a big hit with the under 3 bunch. I didn’t try the actual cake but I will say that the batter was delicious. The frosting, as written, is very thick so leave out some of the sugar if you don’t want it that thick. I obviously had trouble getting it to pipe.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream
For the cupcakes:
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 pinch salt
For the buttercream:
  • 8 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 16 tablespoons 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons. milk plus more, if needed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
To make the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a cupcake pan with paper liners, or grease and flour cups.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, shortening and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter alternately with the milk. Spoon into the prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top of the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the buttercream:
  1. Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
  2. Put the chocolate in the top pan of a double boiler set over but not touching simmering water in the bottom pan. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, the 6 tablespoons milk, the vanilla and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, then reduce the speed to low. Add the chocolate and beat until combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute more.
  4. If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks. Makes about 4 1/2 cups.



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