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When I bake, I have to be on constant lookout and ever vigilant from roaming fingers. You see, my family suffer from Finger Dippyitis – otherwise known as the compulsion to stick their unwashed fingers into my cake and cupcake batters.
This sometimes involves being armed with extra teaspoons and spatulas, as a wandering finger can be redirected with a teaspoonful of batter, and a whack from a spatula can deter even the most eager batter-seeker as they inch towards your mixing bowl.
These members of my baking arsenal proved particularly useful when I was baking these adorable peanut butter cupcakes this afternoon…
My family ADORE their peanut butter. It’s not uncommon to see my kid brother wandering around the house with a spoon full of peanut butter dangling from his mouth (in much the way most folks devour their nutella!), and both my mother and brother will spread peanut butter on almost anything as a flavour aide – from muffins to celery, and even on most crackers!
Therefore, when my mother sniffed her way into the kitchen while I was mixing up the batter, I immediately took the offensive, grabbing my spatula and posing ‘en garde’, wiggling my spatula in her face to indicate that she had better scram before I started whacking. Grumbling under her breath, I could hear the pout as she slouched back to her bedroom, proclaiming loudly that she had only wanted to ask what I was baking – and that she didn’t even think it smelled tasty.
I sighed, scooped up a little batter on one of my clean teaspoons and carried it to her room as a peace offering, which she gladly downed and declared to be delicious. I considered this a sign that my peace offering had been accepted, and settled down next to her to take a baking break and hang out for a few minutes, when she declared that she was out of tea and plodded off to make some more.
Engrossed in the video that we had been watching, I thought nothing of it till I realized a minute later that the cupcake batter had been left in the kitchen unattended! I raced into the kitchen and my pounding footsteps heralded my arrival to my mother – who proceeded to freeze like a rabbit in headlights, with a guilty finger stuck in her mouth.
My mother looked at me blankly as she finished sucking off the last of the batter she had scooped up. “Well,” she said, “it’s your fault for making it so delicious!”
I stood there, gobsmacked, as she calmly walked back to her room with a fresh cup of tea in hand.
Woman, you may have won this round, but next time, I’ll get you!
Peanut Butter Cupcakes – two ways!
(with Strawberry Filling & Frosting or Chocolate Ganache & Chocolate Whipped Cream)
60g unsalted butter
220g brown sugar
150g peanut butter (smooth or chunky, whatever your preference!)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
225g all-purpose flour
Chocolate – 200g good quality dark chocolate, 2/3 cup double cream
Strawberry – 1/4 cup strawberry jam, warmed and sieved
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
200g cream cheese, at room temperature
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tbsp strawberry jam
1-2 cups soft icing mixture (replace with pure icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar if you cannot find)
Pink food colouring
Chocolate Whipped Cream Ingredients
1 cup double cream
1/2 cup chocolate ganache (reserved from filling)
Cocoa powder, to dust
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, then beat together the butter, brown sugar and peanut butter till creamy, then add the eggs and vanilla and beat till smooth.
2. Set aside the batter, and sift together the flour, bicarb soda and baking powder.
3. Fold the flour into the batter in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk. Spoon into cases (I got about 20 cupcakes with each weighing about 40g) and bake for 20 minutes, or till a wooden skewer inserted into the cupcakes comes out with moist (not wet) crumbs.
4 Once baked, set the cupcakes on a wire rack to cool, then proceed to fill and decorate however you wish.
For PB & J cupcakes – fill the cupcakes with the strained strawberry jam and set aside. Mix up your strawberry cream cheese frosting, ice the cupcakes and decorate with a few silver cachous.
For chocolate cupcakes – mix up your ganache, then beat your cream till it almost reaches firm peaks (if you beat it till it reaches firm peaks like I did, it will take on a curdled appearance as you work in the chocolate.)
6. Reserve about 1/2 cup of ganache and use the remaining amount to pipe into the cooled cupcakes as filling. Use a large metal spoon to slowly and carefully fold the chocolate ganache into the whipped cream, until it is no longer streaky and has been properly worked in. Ice your cupcakes, dust with cocoa powder and decorate with a few silver cachous
Now, these cupcakes do develop a fairly hard crust so I would suggest icing them at least a few hours (and up to 24hrs) before serving as this will help soften the crust. However, in the case of the chocolate whipped cream, they would need to be refrigerated – and you certainly would not want to keep the icing longer than 24 hours at most.
Also – here is more evidence of what I have to put up with! Even Mr Woofy wanted in on the cupcake action – I was about to line up to take this shot when his head appeared out of nowhere and made a beeline for the cake platter – it was pure luck that I managed to stop him before he ran off with one!
However, despite my scolding and stern commands for him to move, he plonked himself down and refused to budge till he got some cupcake goodness for himself!
And in case you’re wondering, he did get a little bit of strawberry-filled peanut butter cupcake for the road