Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

January 3, 2011

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Last week, my cousin and her two kids came down from San Francisco for a visit.  I had been looking forward to it all month and the visit did not disappoint.  Her daughter really wanted to spend the day with me in the kitchen and with the rain, it was the perfect day to stay indoors.  I wanted to do something that we could all enjoy but I wanted to include the kids in the process.

What better way to get the kids involved than with homemade pizza.  While the dough did it’s thing, I made the sauce and grated the cheese. I put out little bowls of chopped basil, grated cheese, pepperoni, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, olives, peppers, and homemade pesto.  I made a big Italian salad and warmed up some butternut squash soup.  Yet, even with all of that, I knew that Violet (my cousin’s daughter) would want to bake.  I prepped the ingredients for cupcakes and had it all ready by the time they arrived.  I was so excited to have them spend the day with us and my kids were anticipating their arrival.

So, after we did the whole meet and greet thing, I pulled Violet into the kitchen to share with her what was on the agenda.  She seemed excited, until she confessed to me that she really didn’t like “cupcakes”.  Oh well… we made them anyway.  Regardless of that one debacle, it was a great day!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
yield: 14 cupcakes
for the cupcakes, I used this recipe

Peanut Butter Buttercream
yield: 3 cups

ingredients:
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup creamy, smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 cup peanuts, roasted and salted, chopped

instructions:
• in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and peanut butter until incorporated.
• add the mascarpone cheese and blend.  add the heavy whipping cream and the vanilla.  beat until combined.
• slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time until you get the desired consistency.
• put the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a metal tip.  pipe the frosting on to the cupcakes.
• top with the chopped peanuts.
• i find these best stored in the fridge.  best eaten within three days.

btw – I had some left over milk chocolate ganache that I topped the cupcakes with prior to piping on the peanut butter buttercream.  next time, i will put it in the center of the cupcake.  ooo-lala!