Welcome to A Cuppy Cake Life

Follow me on my journey as I experiment with different types of cupcakes and the joy a simple little treat can bring.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Today I made cupcakes based on the best flavor combination ever created - chocolate and peanut butter. How can you go wrong when these two amazing flavors are working together? My husband disagrees with me on this. He is a very strange individual that doesn't like chocolate and peanut butter. I don't know what's wrong with him! Anyway, in order to try to win him over, I made these cupcakes with less peanut butter than I normally would. I have included tips for you to make them the "real" way if you are a peanut butter fiend like me. I also have the recipe so you can make them at home!

I started with a chocolate buttermilk cake recipe and added chocolate-peanut butter chips at the end. You could also use plain peanut butter chips or even chopped up peanut butter cups. The recipe calls for 1 cup of buttermilk. Let me tell you a secret - powdered buttermilk is the best thing since sliced bread. It is a small container that you keep in the fridge. You mix the powder with water as needed to make however much buttermilk your recipe calls for. You no longer need to buy a large container of buttermilk just to have the leftovers go to waste. There are two ways to use the powder: You can mix it with water before adding to your recipe or you can add the powder with the dry ingredients and the water with the liquid. For this recipe I mixed it beforehand, but you could add the powder into the flour mixture and add the water when the buttermilk is added.

For the icing I just used a basic vanilla buttercream and substituted peanut butter for some of the vegetable shortening. Again since my hubby is not a big peanut butter fan, the icing is a little on the tame side. To make it a stronger peanut butter flavor just add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of peanut butter instead of the 1/4 cup called for in the recipe. If you do this you may not need all of the milk and may need to add a little bit more powdered sugar to stiffen it up. I always make icing in my stand mixer but feel free to use a hand mixer. Just know that your arm will probably get pretty tired! Warning: The cupcakes in this recipe are very crumbly. Do not attempt to spread the icing over the top. I used my decorating bag with my trusty 1M tip. If you don't have a decorating bag and tip, simply fill a sandwich bag with icing and cut off the corner of the bag. Don't seal the bag or it will explode when you squeeze it. I topped all of the cupcakes with a mini peanut butter cup.

These are normal-size cupcakes. I normally make the jumbo ones but I knew I would have a lot to give away if I made them smaller. This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes. Be careful that you don't overfill your liners. The tops will break off when removing from the pan if they are too full.

I hope you make these for yourself! They are made from scratch but they aren't hard to make. Please tell me what you think about them and how you may have adapted the recipe to suit your taste buds.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
(makes approx. 24 cupcakes)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted in double boiler or microwave
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 10-ounce package of chocolate-peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake pans with liners.

In a medium-size bowl sift together flour and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and both sugars until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition until thoroughly incorporated. Add chocolate and mix until well blended. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. Once everything is incorporated beat for about 2 minutes until batter is light and fluffy. Gently fold in chocolate-peanut butter chips.

Fill cupcake liners until they are ¾ full. Bake for 20-22 or until tops spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Do not add frosting until completely cool.

Peanut Butter Buttercream
(makes enough for approx. 24 cupcakes)

¼ cup vegetable shortening
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
½ cup milk
Pinch of salt

In large bowl of stand mixer add vegetable shortening, peanut butter, vanilla, salt, and a third of the powdered sugar. Beat until well incorporated, scraping bowl as needed. Add a little bit of the milk. Continue adding powdered sugar, alternating with the milk. When everything is completely blended, beat on high for 5-10 minutes to fluff icing. If you find that the icing is too stiff add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time. If it is too soft, add additional powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.

A Note to my Audience

I just wanted to write a little note to update everyone on a few things.

First of all I would like to thank you for visiting "A Cuppy Cake Life" and participating in this blog. I appreciate your votes for what I should make next. Don't be afraid to leave comments either!

I also want to thank those of you who have shared recipe ideas with me. Hopefully soon I will be able to feature some of your ideas. I am always open to suggestions and flavor combinations!

Here is a random fact about me: I am allegeric to cream cheese. This is why you haven't seen any recipes using this ingredient. Just know that any of the buttercream icings you see can be replaced with cream cheese.

I am planning to make the poll a weekly thing! The winner for next week is Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes. Make sure you vote for your next choice!

I also hope to start including recipes. This way you can make these yummy treats for yourselves instead of drooling over pictures. Get your recipe cards ready! This way you can also tell me what you think about the flavors instead of using your imaginations.

I hope these updates have you looking forward to the future of "A Cuppy Cake Life." I know I am looking forward to hearing from you!

St. Patty's Day Cupcakes

Apparently the luck of the Irish was not on my side since I made these after St. Patty's Day. Hopefully if you decide to make them it will go much smoother.

What makes these cupcakes stand out is their color. Their flavor couldn't be any more basic - vanilla. I started with a basic white cake and added about 80 drops of green food coloring. I normally would use the gel based color, but for some reason that is beyond me I chose to use the liquid. Mistake #1. I didn't have the time or the patience to make them as dark as I would have liked. I was going for a deep, dark green, like the red is in a red velvet cupcake. I ended up with cupcakes the color of Play-doh.

I decided to use the same buttercream recipe that I used for the Valentine's cupcakes. Mistake #2. I will now stick to my traditional vanilla buttercream, my Nana's recipe. It didn't matter how much liquid I added or how long I beat it, it would not get nice and fluffy. Last time I didn't have any problems at all. I finally just put it in my decorating bag. I usually use the 1M decorating tip to make the swirl on top of the cupcakes. I decided to use a multi-opening tip (#233) to give the icing a grass-like appearance. The icing was so stiff and thick that I couldn't even squeeze it through the tip. I finally got a tiny bit out and my hands were so sore that I just gave up and switched back to the usual tip. So much for a different look! Even this took a long time and looked horrible. Out of 10 jumbo cupcakes I ended up with 5 "pretty" (a.k.a. not horrible) cupcakes. At least I went the easy route and used the gel coloring for the icing. After I finally got some icing sloppily put on the top of them I sprinkled them with green decorating sugar.

The cupcakes tasted good - not too sweet and a good vanilla flavor. My husband (and other family members) always tell me, "It doesn't have to look good, just taste good." I am not a member of that school of thought - at least not if I have made it. I was very upset with the way these turned out. Oh well, there is always next time!

Mocha Madness Cupcakes

This week I made Mocha Madness Cupcakes. They consist of a jumbo mocha cupcake topped with cafe au lait buttercream and grated chocolate. If you like coffee you will like these!

I had one cake mix left in the cupboard and I figured I may as well put it to good use. It was another dark chocolate fudge one but I tweaked it this time. Instead of adding the water called for on the box, I used homemade coffee liqueur. I also added a tablespoon of instant coffee. Next time around if I use another mix I think I will substitute the water with milk and dissolve about three tablespoons of instant coffee in it. I liked the flavor but I think the milk would be a nice change.

For the buttercream I made a basic vanilla buttercream and dissolved two tablespoons of instant coffee in the milk before adding it to the icing. I then grated some milk chocolate over the top. Next time might just do a chocolate curl.

Overall I like the way they turned out but I think with the changes I mentioned they will be even better next time! Be sure to check out the competition going on over at Hoosier Homemade! It's week #3 of Cupcake Challenge. What can you do with a cake mix?

Turtle Cupcakes

Today I decided to embark on an experiment I had thought of a while ago. Once again I "cheated" and used a boxed mix. I wanted to focus on the icing and filling.

I took the basic concept of turtle desserts and candies - chocolate, caramel and pecans. I used a dark chocolate fudge cake mix and baked it in my jumbo cupcake pan. I have become a big fan of the jumbo cupcakes. There are fewer to store and eat and they are easier to decorate as you have more surface area.

After the cupcakes cooled I used caramel ice cream topping to fill them. Using a bismarck tip and piping bag I injected the filling into the centers of the cupcakes. I then made a caramel buttercream for the top. It is similar to a basic buttercream but uses half vegetable shortening and half butter. Caramel ice cream topping is also added to the buttercream.

I then toasted whole pecans on a stoneware dish in the microwave and chopped them while they were warm. I sprinkled them over the tops of the cupcakes.

I recommend keeping these particular cupcakes in the refrigerator. The filling in the center makes them very moist and soft and the caramel in the buttercream keeps it from firming up.

Overall I am pleased with the results. The flavors go together well and no one item stands out and overwhelms the others. Next time around I will use at least another cup of powdered sugar in the icing to make it thicker and possibly add more filling to the cupcakes.

Valentine's & Anniversary Cupcakes

I had planned to make these cupcakes for Valentine's Day. What I didn't know was that my husband had rescheduled my birthday party to surprise me and we had a ton of leftover cake. Instead I made them a week later for our second wedding anniversary.

I kinda cheated with the cake part - I used a box mix. This was my first time using my jumbo cupcake pan that I received for Christmas and I wanted to use something that I knew would work instead of starting from scratch. The cake is a red velvet. I then made a buttercream icing and dyed it bright pink. It was the first time I tried this particular icing and it's my new favorite. It isn't too sweet and it holds up well to decorating. I then added a red fondant heart. I dyed prepared white fondant the color I wanted and then rolled it about 1/4 inch thick. Using a small cookie/fondant cutter I cut out the hearts and inserted toothpicks into the bottom. This way they could be supported by the cake and not just balance on top. While I am not a big fan of the way fondant tastes I was pleased with the way the decorations turned out. In the future I may try using modeling chocolate.

I had intended to sprinkle red decorating sugar on top of the icing before adding the heart. I didn't remember this until after all of the cupcakes had been eaten. I guess I will just have to make them again!

If you are interested in trying the buttercream I made the recipe can be found at http://www.wilton.com/.