Sunday, July 22, 2012

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Forgive me cupcakes for I have sinned. It's been several weeks since I last baked one of you...

Who knew getting married would monopolize so much of my time? And I fear it's only going to get worse from here since we're now 41 days away. Holy crap. I find that when you say it out loud (or read/write it) it really hits home how close it is. I'm not even panicking, at least not yet. We're pretty well organized, unless there's something major that I forgot. We'll see.

While I have been busy with wedding events and preparations and real-life things the past couple weeks this week I'm back! Did you miss me? My goal is to not take another cupcake hiatus until the wedding. I can't promise I won't, but I'm going to try not to.

When I left you last I had made a couple cakes for some birthdays, but my last cupcake adventure from Martha's book were these chocolate chunk cupcakes. The first of three in the cookie cupcake series in the third section of the book. I had high hopes for them, but they were disappointing, mostly because the chunks were so chunky they sunk and didn't make for very good looking cupcakes. I was hoping the second installment in this section, peanut butter cupcakes, would yield better results.

From the onset I wasn't very excited about these cupcakes because in my previous experience with peanut butter cupcakes I didn't enjoy them. The cupcakes were a bit too heavy, dense and peanut buttery for my taste. I feared that I would get the same result from this recipe. I didn't. Phew.

Let's break down the recipe, shall we? It was easy, plain and simple. I did get a bit thrown when it came time to fill the liners. The recipe said to fill the liners with 3 scant tablespoons of batter. I still don't know what that means, but because I was able to successfully make the cupcakes without that knowledge I didn't bother to look it up afterward. I used a tablespoon to fill the liners and filled them roughly three-quarters full. I just eyeballed it. The recipe said I should yield 20 cupcakes. I ran out of batter at 20 cupcakes so I figured my measurements were pretty close to on point.

However, when baking time came and they took longer than the recipe said they should have, I thought I might have made them a little too big. Martha said to bake the cupcakes about 13 minutes with a turn halfway through the baking time. I ended up baking them for 19 minutes. They were good size, but they certainly weren't too big. In fact they were the perfect size for my taste.

I let the cupcakes cool completely and then began work on the frosting (recipe can also be found with the link above). I let the cream cheese and butter get to room temperature while I was baking the cupcakes so it wasn't too difficult to work with. The frosting was also easy to make and didn't take long. Once I was done with that I used my new, small offset spatula that I got at my recent bridal shower (thanks Laney!) to frost the cupcakes. I had quite a bit of frosting left over. Enough that I probably could have frosted 20 more cupcakes. I threw the excess away. Wasteful yes, but also good for my waistline. We're 41 days out people, it's all about the waistline right now.

After all the cupcakes were frosted I put them in the fridge for 10 minutes to set so I could finish them off with my favorite detail of the cupcakes, the criss-cross fork pattern! I just think it looks really cool, like they're peanut butter cookies, but they're actually cupcakes... boo-yah! Even though I put confectioner's sugar on the fork it still stuck a little when I pressed it into the frosting. Most of the cupcakes came out ok, but some lost a little frosting to the fork tines. Perfection is boring. Imperfection is what builds character, and I thought the cupcakes turned out looking really nice.

They also turned out tasting really nice. Relax, stay calm, I ate less than half of a cupcake. Truthfully I almost always only eat half a cupcake when I bake and that's usually the one that I take the pictures of. I am dedicated to shedding for the wedding... most of the time. I was expecting the cupcake to be very heavy, dense and peanut buttery like the peanut butter cupcakes of the past. While these cupcakes were heavy in weight, the texture of the cake was actually quite light and fluffy. I really enjoyed them. The frosting wasn't even too much. I was so pleasantly surprised and it took some willpower to only eat half.