Are we out of the woods on peanut phobia yet? I sure hope so, because I have been holding onto this recipe for way too long. I’ve been trigger shy about posting this recipe for chocolate cupcakes for a few weeks now because it involves peanut butter, which is all well and good if you’re, say, my husband. But I know a good chunk of people out there have been steering clear of America’s favorite slatherable substance, given the recent recall.
I hope we can get back to our normal peanut buttered ways soon, but if you’re not ready, I understand. That said, I still urge you to stick around for the truly unmissable part of this recipe, which is the chocolate cupcakes themselves. It’s a devil’s food cake-type recipe, so dark they’re almost black and so moist and rich that they’ll leave even the lactose intolerant clamoring for a swig of milk. But that’s not all. They’re also studded with chunks of dark chocolate and liberally infused with cinnamon. They are, in short, a cupcake that is perfect in every way.
And anyway, the peanut butter in these photos is only in the frosting. That glorious frosting emerging from my (brand! new!) pastry bag is a peanut butter buttercream and it’s just my kind of decadent. I used a natural peanut butter in the recipe, a brand that’s usually shot through with visible little flecks of the nut itself and, happily, those came through in the frosting as well. The combination of peanut butter, chocolate and cinnamon is really the top banana in my book (come to think of it, banana would be a lovely flavor note there too). But, again, I understand that peanut butter is a bit of a pariah at the moment.
So! I’m happy to report that these cupcakes can be successfully topped with just about any frosting you can imagine. For my friend Emily’s bridal shower, I topped them with an almond cream cheese frosting and, to tell you the truth, I preferred that pairing. (Kevin, for the record, much preferred the peanut butter combination).
As I mention above, the pastry bag is new, so I’m a bit of a novice there. I was going for a frosting style similar to this one, but decided to use squat dots, rather than stars. I’m happy to report that round two with the pastry bag (for Emily’s shower) went a bit better (alas, no photos). But I think with a homey combination like chocolate and peanut butter, even a simple slather would do the trick.
Cinnamon-Scented Devil’s Food Cupcakes
30 2 1/2-inch-wide by 1 1/2-inch-high paper panettone molds
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups freshly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (about 7 ounces) mini semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly spray insides of 30 paper molds with nonstick spray; arrange paper molds on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Sift flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into large bowl. Combine sugar, coffee, buttermilk, oil, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla in another large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat egg mixture until blended. Add dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed until blended, scraping bowl occasionally, about 4 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips.
Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each paper mold. Bake cupcakes, 1 sheet at a time, until puffed and center is just firm to touch, about 24 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to racks and cool completely.
Peanut Butter Buttercream recipe here.
Almond Cream Cheese Frosting recipe here.