Peanut, Peanut Butter...

Seriously. Who doesn't love it? I've seen a lot of chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting in the bakeries (and cupcakeries) about town, but a peanut butter cupcake isn't seen all too often. Well...I think I figured out why.

Although ridiculously tasty, these cupcakes pack a pretty sweet punch. The batter was a little dry, and therefore the final product was a bit dry as well ( oven. I just keep shaving time off of all my baked goods, to no avail!). I think my darling husband made an excellent suggestion, that paper liners may have helped to retain the moisture. The recipe I used called for a ganache to use with it. While the ganache was just didn't cut it. I made a chocolate frosting instead, very traditional, yet exactly what these cupcakes needed.
That...and a LARGE glass of milk.

Side cupcake note: There was an interesting article in the Express today (for you non-DCers, that's the free version of the Washington Post we get here). While I love all of you who have had suggestions to start my own business, this is exactly what makes me hesitate: Half a dozen cupcake-centric shops opening in the DC metro area in the last 20 months! I think it's a bit risky, especially since cupcakes are so trendy. Check out the article here

We'll see though...The Hill doesn't have a cupcake shop (virtually the only corner of the city that doesn't!). Maybe I'll try my hand someday! In the meantime, enjoy these tasty peanut butter cupcakes, with chocolate frosting!

makes 12 cupcakes (yeah...12. I doubled it)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until blended, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, then mix until just combined.

Divide batter among lined muffin cups (about two-thirds full) and bake in middle of oven until pale golden and a tester inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Turn cupcakes out onto a rack and cool completely.

Natalie's Chocolate Frosting (aka flying by the seat of my pants frosting)

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 handful chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
  • 1/2C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • powdered sugar
  • 1-3 Tbsp milk (plus some if you need it)

So I wish I could say I had this all planned out...but I really was just flying by the seat of my pants. I took a basic frosting recipe, and then I killed it with impatience and lack of required ingredients. So here's the gist of what I did:

Melt butter and chocolate chips in a small saucepan, remove from heat. Stir in cocoa powder until smooth. Pour the mixture in bowl of stand mixer, and mix with the whisk attachment on high to cool down your chocolate mixture. When you come back 5 minutes later to find that your chocolate is still ridiculously hot, put it in the freezer for a minute. Worry that you're going to mess it up and take it out. Feel the bowl...decide it's cool enough. Put bowl back in stand mixer, start adding powdered sugar.

This is where you'll think you totally screwed it's going to look like wet sand.

Add some of the milk until the mixture smooths out. Add powdered sugar until you get the sweetness/consistency you like. If the mixture starts to get crumbly and dry, just keep mixing and adding little pours of milk. Once you get the consistency and sweetness you like, crank the mixer speed up to high to make the frosting nice and fluffy (this will whip some air into it). Decorate your cupcakes, and devour!

:) Yeah...somehow some pretty delicious frosting came out of this. Good luck!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

So I know tomorrow's not Friday, but I'm going back to Ohio this weekend to take my sister to see Sugarland and Keith Urban in concert, and we also might buy a car this weekend! For those reasons, tomorrow has been deemed (by me) Cupcake Thursday!

I decided to go with Red Velvet cupcakes, from a few requests by all you crazies out there who get a kick out of what I bake, as well as a couple people from work. I had all of the ingredients handy, so it was pretty easy to make. I've just never understood the appeal of the red velvet cupcake, though. I know that must be some kind of cardinal cupcake sin, but it's just never really appealed to me--so much so that I have...never had a red velvet cupcake.

Have you seen this recipe?! Who would think that a crap-ton of red food dye, buttermilk, and VINEGAR would produce something edible?! turns out that a crap-ton of red food dye, buttermilk, and vinegar actually tastes pretty darn good. Top it with a little cream cheese frosting, and you've got a downright tasty little treat!

This recipe is from the infamous Magnolia Bakery in NYC, courtesy of one of my favorite food blogs, Enjoy!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

  • 2¼ cups (9¾ oz) sifted flour (sifted, then it)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 2 tablespoon red food coloring (2 1-oz bottles)

  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs


  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened

  • 8 oz butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-3 tsp milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place liners in 12-cup cupcake pan.

Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in small bowl to blend.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.
Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions.Spoon batter into cupcake liners only 2/3 or ¾ of the way full—don’t be tempted to fill them higher: they’ll bake into mushroom caps instead of nice rounded domes, and if they are filled too high, there will not be enough batter for the 24 cupcakes.
Bake cakes until inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 23-26 minutes (Natalie here-again, my turbo charged oven tried to pull one over on me. My cupcakes took 18 keep an eye out!). Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan onto racks; bake remaining cupcakes; cool all completely before frosting.

Frosting: Beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth and combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth. Add milk until you get the consistency you like (this allows the frosting to harden a bit, and I-Natalie-added this ingredient. If you want creamy frosting without that little bite to it, just leave out the milk).
Okay back to me. I garnished with festive little bit of red sugar, just because I had it in the drawer. :) I'd also like to mention how ironic it is that I used organic butter and cage-free eggs in this oh-so-not-natural recipe! I got a good laugh out of that.

Enjoy your weekends everybody!

Banana Cupcakes w. Brown Sugar Frosting

So you know how sometimes you'll be eating a candy...let's say Starburst...and you really really like the cherry ones. You save the cherry ones for last right? Well these banana cupcakes were the cherry starburst, and I made them first (woops)! These tasty fellas set the bar WAY high for the cupcake craziness. Ever since I made them, every week someone has said "Well these cupcakes are good...but they're still not as good as the banana cupcakes."

They're kind of an ace in the hole, and I'm guessing they'll make a repeat appearance again soon (the next time I have bananas hanging around). The second cupcakes that I made I used this recipe, but subbed Strawberries for Bananas. A good idea in theory, but it was way too wet of a batter, and didn't really work-they were a bit soggy. I'll keep experimenting with that one before I send it out to you. Until then...Banana Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting!

Banana Cupcakes

  • 1 2/3 C All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 medium VERY ripe bananas
  • 1/3 C buttermilk
  • 8 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, set aside.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with the buttermilk until smooth (REALLY smooth, otherwise the chunks will make your cupcakes soggy).

Beat the butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating completely after each addition. Add the vanilla. On low speed, add the buttermilk/banana mixture in three parts, alternating with the flour mixture in two parts (so you start and end with the buttermilk/banana mixture). Mix at low speed until just blended.

Add mix into cupcake pan, about 2/3 full. Bake 15-20 min until a toothpick comes out dry (crumbs are actually okay-just make sure it’s not batter. If there are no crumbs, they’re usually overcooked).

Remove from oven and let cool completely. Top with brown sugar buttercream (chocolate is good here too!)

Brown Sugar Buttercream

  • 8 Tbsp butter (I used salted, I don’t think it really matters for this)
  • ½ c dark brown sugar
  • ¼ c milk (any kind, I used skim and it was fine)
  • 2 c confectioner’s sugar

Melt the butter and brown sugar in a heavy bottomed pan, stirring over moderate heat until sugar is dissolved. Add the milk and blend (I used a whisk to smooth it out a little more). Cool completely, then add confectioner’s sugar slowly until stiff enough to spread. Once you get the consistency that you like, crank up the speed and whip until lighter/fluffier.

Aren't these so cute?! I got a new piping bag and piping tips at Hills Kitchen. So much fun!

Lemon-Lime Cupcakes

As I mentioned in my intro, I started this whole cupcake bonanza business a couple weeks ago, before I started the blog. The first three recipes I made aren't in here yet, so I thought I'd bring everyone up to speed.
First up we have Lemon Cupcakes with Lime Frosting. These little babies were deeeeelish if I do say so myself! It's been stifling hot here in DC recently (yes mother...I know the weather's always perfect in San bragging needed) so these cupcakes were completely refreshing. I got the recipe for the cupcakes from the food network, and the frosting I just kind of made up. They are so light and fluffy- in my opinion they don't need any frosting at all...but I'm pretty sure that's some type of cupcake sin that I'd be terrified of ever committing. The lime was pretty tasty on top, though. It kind of tasted like a margarita, which if you switched out the lemon for lime in the cupcake, I'm pretty sure you could pull off pretty easily!

Lemon Cupcakes with Lime Frosting

  • 2 1/2 C cake flour (if you sub AP flour here, look up how to, it's not the same!)

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened

  • 1 1/2 C granulated sugar

  • 2 whole eggs at room temperature

  • 3 large egg yolks at room temperature

  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest

  • 1/4 C fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 C whole milk

  • 2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F, line muffin pan with paper liners, or spray with baking spray

In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir together with a whisk

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed about 30 seconds, or until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and increase to med-high speed. Continue about 3 minutes until mixture is light

Add whole eggs & yolks 1 at a time. Beat in vanilla and zest, reduce speed to low, and gradually beat in the lemon juice (the batter will look curdled, that's okay!)

Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions, and milk in 2. Scrape down sides of the bowl and beat another 10 seconds.

Try to hold back here, because this batter is DELICIOUS. There's that whole raw egg thing going on in there, though, so I can't recommend it to you ;)

Fill muffin pan with batter, about 2/3 full, bake 15-20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in the pan on a rack for about 10-15 min, then invert and cool completely.

Lime Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened

  • 8 oz butter, softened.

  • 16oz confectioner's sugar

  • juice of one lime

  • zest from 1 lime

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1-3 Tbsp milk (I used 1)

Beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes high speed in a stand mixer. Gradually add the sugar, mixing until smooth. Add the vanilla, zest, and juice and mix through. Add the milk, 1 Tbsp at a time until you reach the consistency that you want.

And now for a picture! I didn't go all fancy on these, I just spread the icing on with a small offset spatula. The icing is pretty potent, and when you taste it you'll probably think it's pretty strong, but it really does match up nicely with the lemon cake. I only used a thin layer of frosting for that reason, though, instead of piping it on.


I Want S'More!!!!

So this past Friday I made s'mores cupcakes. They were pretty tasty little guys, but more than anything they were just so darn cute!! I had the idea to make these because of the recipe I had for Boiled Vanilla Frosting (BVF). I made a birthday cake a couple weeks ago for my friend Shaina, which used the BVF and a chocolate cake, and I loved the texture and how deliciously marshmallow-y it was. It's kind of like a smoother thicker version of marshmallow fluff, so obviously the s'mores idea came pretty soon after that. I also had the PHENOMENAL idea to use my handy dandy kitchen torch that I got in my Christmas stocking last year to toast the frosting!

They turned out pretty well for me, the only warning I want to send out is to watch the time while cooking the cupcakes. I put mine in for the minimum 15 minutes that the recipe suggested, and I thought they were a bit overcooked, so know your oven! Ours is circa 1975 and apparently slightly turbo charged, so if I were to make them again, I'd probably put them in for about 13 minutes.

S'mores Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1 3/4 C all purpose flour

  • 1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 3/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter

  • 3/4 C packed brown sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted

  • 1 C buttermilk (if you don't have this on hand, use just under 1C milk w. 1 Tbsp lemon juice OR white vinegar)

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Boiled Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 C sugar

  • 1/3 C water

  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 2 egg whites

  • 1 tsp vanilla

Garnish-Graham Crackers, Kitchen torch if you have it.

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350F, prep muffin pan with liners, or use spray (especially if you're going to torch them! I like Baker's Joy).

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat butter & sugar on high speed until light and fluffy (seriously, give it a minute or two!). Add the eggs one at a time beating completely after each addition. Beat in the melted chocolate, vanilla, and almond extracts.

To the butter mixture, alternate buttermilk in three parts, and dry ingredients in two parts (starting and ending with the buttermilk). Mix on low speed until just blended.

Fill cups about 2/3 full (I like to use a zip lock freezer bag for this, it's less messy! Just fill it with the batter and cut off a corner to pour out of).

Bake 15-20 minutes until dry and risen (or less if your oven is turbo charged like mine!). Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

You'll need a candy thermometer. If you don't have one, google "soft ball stage" and figure out how to CAREFULLY test for it (this terrifies me...I'd just invest in a thermometer).

Mix the sugar, water, cream of tartar, and salt in a heavy bottomed pan. Boil without stirring until the mixture reaches 240F on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage). Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (don't overbeat! they'll break down). With the mixer running at high speed, pour the hot syrup into the egg whites in a slow, thin stream. Continue at high speed until thick enough to spread. Stir in the vanilla, and frost the cooled cupcakes.

To finish, take your kitchen torch and lightly pass over the frosting to brown. Garnish with a piece of graham cracker. Enjoy!

First Post!

Welcome to the blog!

After massive amounts of facebook commenting (especially on the part of my wonderful mother and aunt), and at my friend Whitney's suggestion, I am starting a blog about my cupcake adventures.

Cupcake Fridays started at my job. After taking a cupcake class at Hill's Kitchen I decided one Friday to test out one of the recipes on my coworkers. Due to lots of compliments (and because who doesn't like their ego stroked a little?!), I have kept up with this every Friday for the past 4 weeks. My coworkers have become my little taste testers, and I get to try out new ideas...without having 20 cupcakes sitting in my kitchen tempting me every night!

So why cupcakes? Not because they're completely trendy right now (although that's cool)...but because it's the easiest portion control! Have you seen that episode of Sex and the City where Miranda makes a chocolate cake and keeps cutting little slices off over and over until she makes herself throw it away...and then has to pour dish soap on it to make herself stop? Yeah...that'd be me. There's something waaaay too dangerous about being able to slice a cake, versus eating an entire portion of something else!

So here we go with the cupcakes! Enjoy!
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