Dear readers, you guys are in for a treat! My sis-tar is in the house, which means there will be lots of mouth-watering pictures =) We have been enjoying a spat of brilliantly sunny days these past week, and it really puts me in the mood to bake, especially something fun and cheerful, and what's more cheerful then chocolate cupcakes?
Chocolate and peanut butter is one of the flavour combinations I adooore the MOST in this world. It even beats just good old plain dark chocolate. In this recipe, instead of making a proper peanut butter frosting, I'm going to 'cheat' and use only peanut butter, though I don't really see this as cheating. I would only make a proper frosting if it's going to be left somewhere warm for a period of time, as peanut butter melts; otherwise, room temperature peanut butter spreads wonderfully and taste heavenly, not to mention that its requires zero work =P
Chocolate Cupcakes [makes 12]
85g cocoa powder
85g plain flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
1/4 tspn salt [or just use salted butter]
170g unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 tspn vanilla extract
120ml sour cream [or substitute with milk and 1 tbspn white vinegar]
Chunky/smooth peanut butter, room temperature
As you can see from the ingredients, there's no chocolate in this recipe, only cocoa powder. I personally actually prefer using only cocoa powder in cupcakes, though not so much in whole cakes, because a large amount of cocoa gives this incredibly intense and velvety texture, that while amazing in a cupcake, can be a little too much in a whole cake.
First, cream the butter and the sugar until creamy. Its ok if the sugar stays grainy, but mix it for a good 10 minutes. All the beating will benefit the rising of the cupcakes later. Then, beat in the eggs one by one. While the creaming of the butter helps, the beating of the eggs is CRUCIAL to the rising of the cakes, and must be done well. Beat till creamy and thick. Then beat in the vanilla as well.
Mix together all the dry ingredients and sift them through. I know Nigella never sifts, and I've been guilty of that on occasions as well, but a fluffy cupcake is no time to muck around with the sifting of the dry ingredients, as it really helps. Once sifted, fold in the flour in two batch, alternating with the sour cream/milk. I found that the butter mixture doesn't take very well to the cocoa, but just mix it as well as you can, as gently as possible, and it should be fine. Mine turned out brilliantly anyway =)
Fill your cups 3/4 full, and bake in a preheated 180 degree celcius oven until a skewer comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting with the peanut butter.
To get the spiky look, place the flat of a butter knife against the peanut butter and lift up. Dead easy =)
By the way, recipe adapted from Marthasteward.com, and Martha is an absolute genius.