Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Chocolate Ganache and peanut butter frosting.

Oh yes.  You heard me right. Peanuts and chocolate!  Who doesn't like this combination?  Dead people, that's who! 

I was looking for an idea for chocolate and peanut in a cake, and was wondering.. should i make peanut cupcakes and chocolate frosting?  or the other way around?  then I found the perfect recipe, tried the cake base in another recipe this week, and thought this cake MUST be made, and it MUST be made into cupcakes! :)  
Peanut butter cream cheese frosting topping a dark moist cake.  wow.  wow! 
In the theme of the Ganesh cake I made last weekend, I feel that this one also deserves to be attached to some kind of deity. So I'm calling them "Holy Jesus peanut butter chocolate cupcakes".

I've had quite a chocolate week this week, i've already made one decadent chocolate celebration cake, but tonight's celebration (one of my dearest friends is leaving for a year to do his masters in the UK) also calls for an uber chocolate feast!  Apart from all the cakes, chocolate has made an appearance in savoury cooking this week as a friend of mine made us chicken cooked with port, sage and cocoa the other day, which was pretty amazing! :) I will definitely put my adaptation of this dish up when i finally get around to making it!

Anyway, the base of these cupcakes are the same as the Dulce de Leche cake posted previously. Only difference is that i did not add the coffee, which was actually totally an oversight.  ah well, for next time ;)  Honestly these cakes are so good that I don't think the coffee is even needed, especially not with the fact that these are filled with chocolate peanut ganache (yes.  i didn't even know this could be done.  my life will never be the same!) and then topped with cream cheese peanut butter frosting (this tastes infinitely better than it sounds, and i certainly would not have made it had Deb from smitten kitchen specifically mentioned that it's good!!)...

This recipe mostly follows Smitten Kitchen's to the letter, at least for the cake and frosting, however again, I used my own recipe for the ganache, mostly because I have no interest in something as weird and artificial as corn syrup, and partly because I no longer need to use a recipe for Ganache :)   

Anyway, here goes!! 

Cakes (makes 24-30 cupcakes)
2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups sugar (I used a mix of caster and demarera)
3/4 cup unsweetened good quality cocoa powder (the better the quality, the better the cake.  Try and avoid your average bournville type cocoa and go to a coffee shop and get some really nice stuff)
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sunflower oil (or any other neutral tasting oil)
1 cup plain yoghurt (I used low fat)
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons white vinegar (use apple cider in a pinch)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 170 degrees

Line 2 x 12 muffin tins with cases. 
In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, bicarb and salt together.
In a small bowl or jug whisk oil and yoghurt together, add to cake mix and blend. 
Gradually whisk in the water.
Blend in vinegar and vanilla.
Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended.
Use an icecream scoop to pour in equal measures into the cake liners till they are around 2/3 full (for me, that was 1 scoop per cup!)
I should add that this cake mix is very soupy! do not worry! 
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched very lightly.  

You can see in this picture how they shrunk and sank a little.  Do not worry, it's what is meant to happen! 
Cool for at least 5 minutes in the tin, as they are very, very soft!  They will also sink quite instantly and dramatically when taken out of the oven, this cake is a moist and somewhat dense (yet light and soft.. i don't get it, i just accept and love it!), don't worry about the sinking.  

Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack before frosting and filling!!

If you have any mix leftover, fill some more liners and bake away! 
While the cakes are cooking, prepare the chocolate ganache. 

Chocolate Peanut Ganache
150 g dark chocolate (i used Perugina), chopped
a good 1/4 cup of smooth peanut butter (i used sunpat as it is one of the few that doesn't have hydrogenated fats in Malta)
1 tablespoon butter
200 mls cream

Place chocolate and peanut butter in a smallish heatproof bowl
Heat cream and butter in small saucepan.  As soon as butter is melted and cream starts to bubble slightly on the edges, remove from heat and pour over the chocolate.
Wait a couple of minutes, then start stirring with a whisk or fork until completely smooth.  
 Set aside, stirring occasionally with whisk or fork. The colder it gets, the thicker it'll be.
The chocolate and peanut butter waiting for hot cream to be poured over it, i.e. the magic!
Peanut Butter Frosting
200 g cream cheese, at room temperature
100 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups icing sugar, sifted
approx 3 heaped tablespoons of smooth peanut butter (use a commercial brand so that the oil doesn't separate - i used Sunpat as it's free of hydrogenated fats)

n a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light, fluffy and creamy looking, a few minutes.
Add the peanut butter and beat until completely combined and smooth looking.  Taste it!  Isn't it great? 
 A moist naked cake waiting to be given the ganache/frosting treatment.

To assemble:
Make sure the cakes are completely cold.  
Using the thinnest longest piping nozzle available, fill the bag with ganache.
Filled with ganache, ready for the peanut butter frosting. 
Pierce a cupcake using the nozzle and pipe a small amount into the cake.  stop when it starts overflowing.
Alternatively, cut a small hole out of the top of the cupcake using a small, sharp, serrated knife.  Spread a small amount of ganache to fill the hole and place the little lid you cut out back on.

 Repeat until all cakes are filled.

Using another piping bag and a larger tip, pipe the peanut butter frosting over the cakes in whatever pattern you like :)  i used the "inside to out swirl" method that makes the frosting look a little like a rose. it's very pretty :D  
Et Voila! :D  

Leave to set for at least 1 hour before serving, the frosting will set up a little, and the ganache will thicken further inside the cake. 


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