Guys, I love peanut butter. I know I’ve talked about the New Zealand peanut butter situation before, but since then there’s been a new development. It’s called Fix & Fogg and it is my new favorite food. And it’s locally made here in Wellington! Even better. So when I went to make these cupcakes, I had to use it. Sure, the consistency of the icing might have been better with something a little less all-natural, but the flavor! The flavor made it worth it.
I also used local sour cream, although that was less by choice and more because I found out halfway through my first batch that most sour cream in New Zealand is made with gelatin (which I, as a selectively-strict vegetarian, don’t eat). So after throwing away my first batter, including all of my extra special, exorbitantly expensive Dutch-process cocoa powder, and having a small temper tantrum, I went out and bought some lovely Zany Zeus stuff made up in the Hutt.
From there the process went smoothly. I baked the cupcakes (ending up with 25, though reviewers on the original recipe claim to have gotten as many as 32). I let them cool, and would have frozen them if there had been room in the freezer – this is soft, crumbly cake. I cut out cones from the top, filled each cake generously with peanut butter and chocolate ganache, and put the cones back on. And then, because the peanut butter icing was too thick to pipe, I spread it somewhat messily over each cupcake instead. The results were very rich and amazingly tasty. Worth every second.
Still upset about that cocoa powder, though.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
For the chocolate cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Line the wells of a muffin tin with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together, mixing thoroughly.
3. Add the oil and the sour cream and stir until well-combined. Gradually beat in the water.
4. Mix in the vanilla and white vinegar. Add the eggs and beat in thoroughly.
5. Fill each paper cup about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean, about 18 minutes. Set aside until completely cool (and chill if you have the time and space).
For the chocolate peanut butter filling:
250 grams semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1. Add all three ingredients to a double boiler. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until melted. Remove from heat and chill for 30 minutes before using.
2. Core the cupcakes: using a sharp, small knife and cut out a cone from the top of each cake. You want to cut down through about 2/3 of each cupcake. Fill each hole to the top and then put the core back on top (they’ll overflow a little but don’t worry). Let the ganache set before icing. I left mine overnight.
For the peanut butter icing:
250 grams cream cheese, room temperature
113 grams (4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1. Beat the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Add the sugar one cup at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Beat until fluffy again, about 3-4 minutes. Add the peanut butter and beat until well-combined. Spread generously over the cupcakes.