Anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while knows that, while I’ll happily bake anything, my true love is a fruit dessert. Apple crisps, cherry cobblers, lemon bars – they’re what I dream about.
Not everyone I love feels the same way.
Last week, I told my youngest daughter I was going to do some baking. Expecting a smile, I was surprised to see a long face. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“You’re making a fruit dessert, aren’t you?” she said glumly.
Ahem. Mothers are supposed to read their kids’ minds, but sometimes it happens the other way around. Or maybe she just knows me that well.
So I decided to make the least fruit-filled dessert I could think of – Ina Garten’s wonderful chocolate cupcakes.
I made half the cupcakes with the peanut butter icing below (which was delicious), but in the end I couldn’t help myself. I iced the other half with this orange cream cheese frosting. Because chocolate is great, but adding fruit, even in the form of icing, makes it even better.
Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing
(from Barefoot Contessa at Home)
12 Tbsp (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 Tbsp brewed coffee (I omitted this)
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
Kathleen’s peanut butter icing, recipe follows) OR Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
Chopped salted peanuts, to decorate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with 15 – 16 paper liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended.
Divide the batter among the cupcake pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and let cool completely before frosting.
Frost cupcakes with peanut butter icing and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
Kathleen’s Peanut Butter Icing
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.