Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cupcakes Deluxe

I realize I am a bit behind the curve on the cupcake fad. What can I say? I'm a traditionalist. To me, nothing says "celebrate" like a homemade layer cake (of any variety), imperfectly iced and deliciously moist. So birthdays or any occasion, I go for the cake.

But over the winter, my Mom-mom sent me this nifty little tool for taking the middles out of cupcakes and creating a filled cupcake. Since she and my Grandpop were coming up for the weekend, and my mom would be here as well, I thought it was high time I gave it a spin.

First, I searched around a bit for filled cupcakes ideas on the internet. After stumbling across this site I decided the chocolate-peanut butter combination was the way to go. Because really, you can't go wrong with it. A little more poking around and I came to this recipe on the Food Network website which explained the process a bit more clearly. Not having things like cake flour on hand (or much use for it beyond what the recipe called for), I opted to use the basic chocolate cake recipe out of my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook.

Once the cupcakes had cooled completely, I hollowed them out with my new little tool. I can't give you a good shot of that because I was flying solo on this baking endeavor and that makes in-the-moment photos difficult.

And then I had a bowl full of cupcake centers, begging to be eaten. I decided though to put them back on top after filling the cupcakes, so besides Bert getting one, devouring would have to wait.

Then I simply made peanut butter icing, adding a bit more milk so it was a little thinner, and spooned it into the cupcakes. This is about the time when I realized why I don't do cupcakes: it's just like baking a cake, but you have to do everything thirty times over. Pour batter thirty times, get out of pan thirty times, ice thirty times, and on and on.

Next up was the ganache for the top. I always thought ganache sounded super-fancy and difficult when I would hear it on cooking shows. Turns out, it's icing for slackers. Heavy cream, heated to near boiling, pull it off the heat, dump some chocolate in, let sit for five minutes, whisk until smooth, let cool for ten to fifteen minutes, spread on cake. That's it. Seriously. I may skip icing from now on.

Hmmm...thought there was a picture of it whisked smooth and all glossy. Oh well.

After I plopped the tops back on all the cupcakes, I dipped them in the ganache and sprinkled chopped peanuts on top, leaving me with these beauties.

I would recommend keeping them in the fridge until shortly before serving as the ganache can be pretty melty.

The cupcakes were delicious, but they took pretty much a whole morning, if you include cleaning up (and I do, because that's really the worst part of baking). So certainly worth it, but only when the VIPs are coming to visit.

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