We had two very special birthdays this weekend. My son turned 3 and my husband turned 36. Having their birthdays two days apart, I make it a point for us to celebrate separately which means two separate cakes. I’m a BIG birthday person! As in everyone MUST HAVE CAKE on their birthday! It’s how I’ve always been. Birthday = cake. Now with these July birthdays being so close, I just don’t want my husband to have to share the Mickey Mouse cake or Lego cake or whatever creation I decide to make that year for my son. And I don’t want my son to always think he is sharing his birthday.
So this year, I made a great Mickey Mouse Cake and adorable Mickey cupcakes for my son on Friday. Then I made the most delicious cupcakes for my husband on Sunday. Cupcakes are still “cake”, right?!?! I mean they both have “cake” in the name and one is just a smaller version of the other. I think I’m good on the everyone had CAKE this year! :)
Peanut Butter good.
Now, I’ve said before that I’m a boxed cake kind of gal, but I trusted Annie and went with the homemade cupcakes instead of cheating and using a box. I’m so glad I did because these are damn good cupcakes. Plus, they aren’t that hard to make. That “cookie” on top is just easy peanut butter frosting shaped like a cookie. Seriously, easy-peasy.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cookie Frosting
For the cupcakes:
1½ cups hot brewed coffee
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
12 tbsp. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)
1½ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
For the ganache:
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Ghirardelli)
½ cup heavy cream
For the peanut butter cookie frosting:
9 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups creamy peanut butter
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Put paper liners in your cupcake pans. This will make 24 cupcakes. In a bowl, whisk together the hot brewed coffee and cocoa until dissolved. Set aside. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend the butter and sugars. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla.
With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the coffee-cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix each addition just until incorporated, being careful not to overmix. Divide the batter between the prepared liners, filling each about two-thirds of the way full. Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans briefly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
When the cupcakes are cool, make the ganache by placing the chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer, pour over the chocolate, and let stand about 2 minutes. Whisk together until a smooth ganache forms. If you let it sit, it will thicken slightly making it easier to use.
To make the peanut butter cookie frosting, mix the peanut butter and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high for 1 minute. Turn off the mixer, add in the confectioners’ sugar and mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and mix until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the peanut butter mixture and use clean, dry hands to form it into a patty. Use the tines of a fork to make the classic crisscross pattern on top of the “cookie”. Repeat with the remaining peanut butter mixture.
Use a spoon la to spread a layer of ganache over the top of each cupcake.
Place a peanut butter “cookie” on top of each cupcake.
To jazz them up, I drizzled more ganache over the top of the cookie. (I highly recommend doing this!)
And, of course, I had to make some mini cupcakes when I just needed a “bite” and not a whole cupcake. Okay, okay, that meant that I just ate three minis instead of one regular cupcake. Don’t judge. Nevertheless, the mini cupcakes are ADORABLE!
*Recipe was very slightly adapted from Sweet Savory Life Cookbook recipe. (Seriously, buy this cookbook! Look at the yummy recipes you get!!)