Thursday, October 25, 2012

Peanut Butter / Chocolate Swirl Cupcakes

When it rains it pours. I'll go for so long without any reason to bake, and then BAM ... lots of reasons to make cupcakes. This past Sunday, my husband was having a cookout with some of his co-workers ... he should take cupcakes. Monday was my friend Beth's birthday ... she needs a birthday cupcake. Monday night was the junior high band chili supper ... I need to supply cupcakes. By my calculations, I was going to need 4 dozen (I always have to make extra for the boys to take to their girlfriends ... it's so cute).

What haven't I tried?

I went back through recipes I had pinned on Pinterest that I hadn't tried yet, and I found a winner! Chocolate and peanut butter swirled cupcakes!!!!!!

I used the cake recipe exactly how ... kevin {&} amanda ... posted it on their blog. Really the only thing I changed was the frosting. I love the peanut butter buttercream I usually make, so I stuck with that.

Personally, I thought the cupcakes were a little dry, but everyone who had one liked it. Maybe I'm just too picky. I like this recipe, though, because it starts with a box ... 2 boxes to be exact.

Chocolate Cake
1 box devil's food cake mix
1 small package Jello instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix together everything except chocolate chips until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter Cake
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 box butter cake mix
2/3 cup water

In a large bowl, combine peanut butter and butter. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add approximately 1/3 of the water, and mix on low speed until just combined. Repeat 2 more times with remaining cake mix and water.

Preheat oven to 350. Line 4 standard-sized muffin tins with cupcake liners. Add approximately 2 tbsp of peanut butter cake batter and 2 tbsp of chocolate cake batter to each liner. I found that if I alternated flavors, it swirled batter. Use a knife to gently fold and swirl the cake batter.

Bake for 18-22 minutes.

Peanut Butter Buttercream
2 cup butter, softened
2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 lbs powdered sugar
4 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp heavy cream

Cream butter and peanut butter. Add powdered sugar and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl, mix on high speed for a minute, then add extract. Mix again before adding the heavy cream. Mix on high speed for 3 minutes.

Sweet Milk Chocolate Ganache
1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. In a medium saucepan, whisk the heavy cream, vanilla, and sugar and bring to a simmer. Pour over the chocolate chips, let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until completely smooth. Chill for 1 hour or until the ganache reaches a thick frosting consistency.

How to Pipe Swirled Frosting
I tried to follow a tutorial for swirling the peanut butter buttercream and ganache on each cupcake. You can find it at Good Life Eats. Here's how mine turned out ...

I thought it looked really cool, but it also made a huge mess. I think maybe I didn't let the ganache chill long enough and it was still too runny. I also quickly discovered that I wouldn't have enough for 4 dozen cupcakes. I only decorated a dozen this way, and I also added chopped peanut butter cups on top. 

I packaged them up in my cupcake carrier and away we went to the cookout.

When I got home, I decided to just drizzle the rest of the cupcakes with the ganache before adding the chopped candy to the top.

So 2 dozen of the drizzled cupcakes went to the band chili supper ... they were a hit ... Beth got one for her birthday ... she liked it ... the boys each gave one to their girlfriends ... they each got a hug ... and the rest were eaten by my family.

These cupcakes are a little high maintenance, but have a "Wow!" factor to them. I'm glad I tried them.

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