Double Reese’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes

CupcakesThis past weekend, the youth group at my church held a 24 hour Rock-a-Thon to raise money for Stop Hunger Now. Both of my boys were participating so, I put on my “Good Mom” hat and decided to bake some cupcakes for the kids to snack on while they rocked. I searched through my Pinterest board and found a fun recipe that was loaded with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Pieces. And what teenager doesn’t love candy?

Personally, they were way too chocolate/peanut buttery for me – but, that’s just me. If you love rich chocolate/peanut butter desserts, this could be the cupcake for you. I did have a few issues with the recipe as is though. First off, I didn’t pay attention to the fact that it called for just a regular box mixed cake, without any doctoring. I hate box mixes, and this one didn’t change my mind; it turned out dry. If I was going to make these again, I would use a different chocolate cake recipe, my current favorite can be found here. The recipe also instructs to put the peanut butter cup at the bottom of the cupcake liner. I would put a little batter down first and put the peanut butter cup in the middle. With it on the bottom, it cooked and kind of browned which gave it a weird texture and taste.

With all of that said though, the frosting is DELICIOUS! It is much better than my previous peanut butter frosting recipe (even my husband agreed). The cupcakes were fun and were a hit with the kids (of course, they would probably eat anything though). If you decide to make them, I would definitely recommend tweaking them a little. I’m sure they would be perfect then!

 

Ingredients

For the Cake:
  • Chocolate Cake Recipe (or box + ingredients)
  • 18-24 regular size peanut butter cups
  • 1 box Reese’s Pieces
For the Frosting:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. Mix cake batter according to instructions.
  3. Place a small amount of batter  at the bottom of each cupcake liner, then place a peanut butter cup in the liner.
  4. Spoon cupcake batter into cupcake liners, filling ¾ of the way.
  5. Bake per batter instructions or until firm to the touch on top. Let cool.
  6. For Frosting, combine butter and peanut butter in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add in vanilla extract. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar and heavy cream. Beat on high for a good 30 seconds.
  7. Spread frosting onto cupcakes with an offset spatula or a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Sprinkle with Reese’s Pieces.
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American Flag Cupcakes

Flag CupcakesCupcakes #2 for our 4th of July cookout came from this beautiful Pinterest inspiration. I absolutely loved the rose swirls cupcakes layout as a flag. This one truly was only a design inspiration so I decided to use my favorite  chocolate cupcake recipe with the Very Vanilla frosting that I was already making for the other cupcakes.

These were relatively straight forward, especially since they were not new recipes. The chocolate went together wonderfully with the vanilla bean frosting and they looked absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, the day was very hot & humid and so my frosting did melt a little while transporting them. Overall, they were a hit though. Happy 4th of July!

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) sour cream
  • 3/4 cups (175 ml) room temperature water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
For the Frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4-5 cups powdered (confectioners’) sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean
  • salt, to taste
  • red & blue food coloring

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Line 2 muffin pans with 15-18 paper liners.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
  4. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk until blended.
  5. Add the water in 1/4 cup at a time and whisk until combined.
  6. Whisk in vinegar and vanilla to blend.
  7. Add the egg and whisk until combined.
  8. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure all of the ingredients are well combined.
  9. Divide the batter equally among the cupcake liners.
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out almost clean (it’s ok if a few crumbs stick to it, but should not look shiny).
  11. Cool completely on wire racks.
  12. To make the frosting, beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if mixture is too thick. Add salt if frosting is too sweet (1/4 teaspoon). Divide the frosting and color with the food coloring. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Nutella Cupcakes

First off, I apologize for not posting last week; life got busy and I figured that you all would understand. With that out of the way, I am very excited about this week’s cupcakes! It was another Pinterest find that I wanted to try. The cupcakes were aptly named Nutella Bombs and lived up to every bit of that name.

To begin with, this was the strangest (for me) recipe that I had tried to date. None of the ingredients seemed like they made an ordinary cupcake batter or frosting. In fact, as I spooned the very runny batter into the cupcake liners, I was a little worried that the whole thing was an internet joke and that this wasn’t a real recipe at all. I am so happy to report that I was very wrong! These have been some of the most delicious cupcakes that I have made to date! Both the cake and the frosting was light, fluffy, and completely delicious!

I only have a couple of little things to report. First, I didn’t have any (and couldn’t find any) Dutch process cocoa powder (I used regular old Hershey’s) and mine turned out fine. Second, this recipe makes more than 13 cupcakes. I filled 15 liners but could’ve filled closer to 18 because a number of mine ended up being over filled. Also, the batter will be very runny: don’t panic. Lastly, the buttercream is not very thick at first, which is good for piping. I put mine in the fridge afterwards so that the frosting could set better though; I was afraid that it might melt off.

Enjoy this delicious recipe!

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) sour cream
  • 3/4 cups (175 ml) room temperature water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
For the Frosting:
  • 4 large egg whites (4 ounces, 113 grams)
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup (130 grams) Nutella

Directions:

For the Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Line 2 muffin pans with 15-18 paper liners.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
  4. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk until blended.
  5. Add the water in 1/4 cup at a time and whisk until combined.
  6. Whisk in vinegar and vanilla to blend.
  7. Add the egg and whisk until combined.
  8. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure all of the ingredients are well combined.
  9. Divide the batter equally among the cupcake liners.
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out almost clean (it’s ok if a few crumbs stick to it, but should not look shiny).
  11. Cool completely on wire racks.
For the Frosting:
  1. Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer).
  2. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. The bowl should not touch the water, nor should the water be at a rolling boil. It’s the steam that’s going to heat the egg whites, since we don’t want scrambled eggs.
  3. Heat the egg white mixture until it reaches 145-150 degrees fahrenheit, whisking frequently so as not to get scrambled eggs.
  4. Remove the bowl from the heat, and whip the egg whites on medium high using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer.
  5. Whip the egg whites until they become fluffy and double in volume. The bowl should be cool to the touch (this will usually take several minutes).
  6. Turn the mixer down to medium low, and add the butter in one chunk at a time, until it has all been incorporated.
  7. If the mixture looks curdled at this point, this is normal. Just keep whipping for a few more minutes until it comes together. If the mixture looks soupy, you can add a few cubes of chilled butter, or stick the whole bowl in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes and then continue beating.
  8. Once the buttercream has become smooth, and the Nutella and beat until incorporated.
  9. Transfer the buttercream into an 18 inch piping bag and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.

*On a much sadder note… I will no longer be able to do weekly cupcake reviews. Some of this has to do with  my busy schedule, but most of it has to do with my waistline. I have been working very hard to get back in-shape and back to a healthier weight since last fall and with all these cupcakes I seem to be sabotaging myself. I thought I could be strong but I just haven’t been able to, hence the cut back.

Chocolate Valentine Heart Cupcakes

Valentine’s Day! I am such an optimist when it comes to Valentine’s Day. I love… love! Romantic love, friendly love, family love: it is all so beautiful and I love the day that we get to celebrate it. I know that others can often be bitter and jaded when it comes to Valentine’s Day but I think that is ridiculous! Find someone (even if it isn’t romantic) or something to love, and celebrate! Celebrate with tacky hearts and flowers and every other clique that you can possibly think of because that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about!

Of course Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without a sweet chocolate treat, so that is what I made this week! Chocolate Valentine Heart Cupcakes are what I decided to give a try. I did deviate slightly from the decorating that the recipe called for but, I figure that I’m allowed creative license; I used little candy hearts that I bought (how can you resist the Valentine isle?) instead of making my own. This recipe made a very small batch which is kind of nice for a Valentine  dessert for two (wink, wink). At first I was a little worried that these wouldn’t be much different from the last chocolate cupcakes that I made but I was definitely wrong! This recipe was much better than the last one; the cupcakes were moist and rose nicely while baking. They were so good that it’s probably a good thing that the recipe only made 6. The frosting lived up to the Valentine’s Day standard as well: it was rich, fudge-y, and very sweet. Personally, it wasn’t my favorite but it was nice for a special treat. When you make it, be careful with how much powdered sugar you use; I made mine a little too thick to pipe smoothly. Everything worked out though and they tasted delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:
  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • scant 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • generous 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking power
For the Frosting:
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • scant 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1oz/25g semisweet chocolate, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Put 6 paper liners into a muffin pan.
  2. Place the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs. Sift in the flour, cocoa, and baking powder and, using a metal spoon, fold into the batter.
  3. Spoon the batter into the paper liners. Bake in the preheated over for 20-25 minutes, or until risen and firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
  4. To make the frosting, put the butter in the large bowl and beat until fluffy. Sift in the confectioners’ sugar and beat together until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat together until well mixed. Spread some of the frosting on top of each cupcake and decorate.