chocolate hippos

birthday cupcakes

It was my birthday last weekend, and I’m feeling guilty for not making my famous birthday cupcakes.  Not because I particularly care for cupcakes, but because those I love expect cupcakes from me.  On my birthday or theirs.  But truth be told, this has been an incredibly busy year, and I am behind in my cupcake baking.

I am hoping to redeem myself this weekend by squeezing in enough time to bake some for a first birthday party of a friend’s daughter.  I’ll keep a few in my fridge, so if you’re feeling dissed that I haven’t made you any cupcakes this year, stop by for one.

My famous birthday cupcakes are a chocolate cake base with a peanut butter frosting.  Obviously, you can use another type of icing if peanut butter is not your thing.  I made some salted caramel buttercream for some of the cupcakes this weekend, and waiting to hear feedback.  If it is a hit, it post the recipe for that as well.

The Chocolate Cupcakes (adapted from Gourmet)

Makes about 24 cupcakes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

2 ounces (55 grams) dark chocolate, chopped

1 cup (236 ml) hot black coffee

2 cups (402 grams) sugar

1 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (208 grams)all purpose flour

1 cup (125 grams) cocoa powder

1 1/3 teaspoons (8 grams) baking soda

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder

1 teaspoon (8 grams) table salt

2 eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup (118 ml) vegetable oil

1 cup (236 ml) buttermilk

1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla

Add dark chocolate to hot coffee and stir to melt chocolate.  Set aside.

Mix oil, buttermilk and vanilla in small bowl and set aside.

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In a medium sized bowl whisk sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined.  Set aside.

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In large mixing bowl beat eggs until light and lemon colored, 3-5 minutes.

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On low speed, mix in coffee/chocolate mixture until combined, then slowly add buttermilk mixture.  Add flour/cocoa mixture. and mix on medium speed just until combined into a smooth batter.

Line cupcake pan with paper or foil liners (I prefer foil liners).  Add 3 tablespoons (45 grams) to each liner.

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Bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 15-18 minutes, tops will spring back when lightly touched.  Do not over bake.  Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack.

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The Peanut Butter Frosting:

1/2 cup (115 grams) butter, room temperature

8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, room temperature

1 pound () confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla

1 cup () peanut butter (do not use natural, it won’t incorporate well)

In mixing bowl beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add confectioners sugar and vanilla and beat until well combined.   Add peanut butter…

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and beat until light and fluffy.

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Using a pasty bag with a wide tip (or a zip lock bag with 1 corner cut off), pipe frosting onto cupcakes.

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Store cupcakes in refrigerator if not eating right away, as frosting will be quite soft.  Happy Birthday to you.

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