In a little break from posting about London (how awful is it all generally and what happened at The Ledbury?), I thought I’d quickly share a recipe for some pretty fabulous cupcakes (if I do say so myself).
I made these cupcakes just before we went on our trip overseas as a thank-you and farewell to my colleagues (I had been working out of a different company the last few months). When trying to decide what kind of cupcake to make, peanut butter instantly came to mind. Given how well peanut, caramel and chocolate go together, I thought a salty, caramelly frosting would be perfect atop a chocolate cupcake.
The frosting was a little tricky to get right. I found the peanut butter flavour to be very prominent and it was difficult to get the caramel notes to come through in the way I had envisaged. Nonetheless, these were really, really good and were very well received around the office. The chocolate cupcake was nicely chocolatey but still retained a lightness. I’ll definitely be making these again!
Chocolate cupcakes with salted peanut butter caramel frosting
Cupcake recipe adapted from More from Magnolia by Alyssa Torey – I upped the quantities and adjusted for spelt flour. Frosting is inspired by a recipe from Cooks Illustrated via the Whimsical Cupcake, although I upped the caramel portion so much that the quantities are completely different. The caramel sauce recipe is from my Salted Caramel cupcakes. If you can’t be bothered making the caramel sauce a bought sauce would be ok too…
Makes 18 full sized cupcakes
For the cupcakes
375g plain flour (or 450g spelt flour)
1.5 tsp bicarb soda
300g caster sugar
320g brown sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
255g dark chocolate
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the frosting
If you are making the caramel sauce
300ml heavy cream
Note: The quantities for the caramel sauce will make more than you need for the frosting, but it’s difficult to reduce the quantities and the sauce is delicious to boot!
240g unsalted butter, at room temperature
180g smooth peanut butter
1 cup of icing sugar, sifted
6 tbs caramel sauce (either make the sauce above, or buy some)
- Pre-heat the oven to 175C.
- Line muffin tins with paper and set aside.
- In a small bowl, sift the flour and the bicarb soda. Set aside.
- Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, then set aside.
- In a separate bowl, cream the butter until it is smooth. Add the caster sugar and the brown sugar and beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes).
- Add the eggs one at a time, make sure each is incorporated before adding the next. Add the melted chocolate.
- Add one third of the flour and bicarb mix, then half the buttermilk – mix to combine. Add the next third of flour and bicarb, then the remainder of the buttermilk, mix to combine. Add the final amount of flour and the vanilla and mix to combine.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared liners, fill them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- First, make the caramel sauce (or you could just use some sauce from a bottle – I won’t tell anyone!)
- In a heavy-bottomed, high-sided saucepan, cook the sugar over medium-high heat until it begins to melt around the edges, about 5 minutes. Stirring with a clean wooden spoon, continue to cook until the sugar is melted and has turned golden amber, about 3 minutes longer.
- Carefully pour the cream down the side of the pan in a slow, steady stream (it will bubble and spatter), stirring constantly until completely smooth. Stir in the salt. Pour the caramel into a small heatproof bowl and let cool completely before using. (The caramel can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week; bring to room temperature before using.)
- In a stand mixer or using electric beaters, beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth (a minute or two). Add the icing sugar and beat briefly to combine. Then increase the speed of the mixer and beat for a couple of minutes until the frosting has lightened in colour and the sugar is incorporated.
- Add the caramel sauce and beat on medium high until the mixture is combined. The frosting should have a reasonably thick consistency, allowing you to pipe it. If you have problems with the consistency you can chill the mixture in the fridge for a few minutes before beating again.
- Pipe or spread on to cooled cupcakes, top with chocolate sprinkles to decorate.