Thursday, August 05, 2010

Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes with Cherry Preserve Butter Cream

it's hot outside.

i don't just mean warm summer days with a cooling breezy night.

I mean, it's hot. Like a 100 degrees in the shade. even the light breeze feels like heat from the oven. it's almost uncomfortable to breathe. like the heat hurts your throat.

this heat makes me think of one thing- ice cream.

i know, a little unsettling. but i love ice cream. unfortunately i don't have an ice cream maker.

**reminder to future emily, get an ice cream maker**

but i do have the neccessary ingredients for cupcakes. since my favorite flavor is cherry vanilla....let's try that in a cupcake.

Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes

1/2 c butter, room temp
2/3 to 1 c sugar( depends on how sweet you like it)
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond
zest of one small lemon
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c milk

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts and lemon peel. Mix flour, salt, and baking powder, stir in and then beat in milk.
Pour into lined muffin cups and bake 18-20 minutes at 350.
let cool before frosting

Cherry Preserve Butter Cream

3 cups powdered sugar
1.3 c. butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tblsp. milk
1/4 c. cherry preserves

With an electric mixer at low speed, mix the powdered sugar and butter together. Once combined, add vanilla and milk. Increase speed of mixer to medium and beat for 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth and of spreading consistency. Add the cherry preserves and beat on low speed until incorporated.

To make these extra special, pipe some extra cherry preserves into the center of each cupcake. it makes them extra cherry and leaves a special surprise for the lucky eaters :)

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

so i've been busy. a lot has been going on. I'm currently switching jobs, my husband is deployed, and i might be moving soon. i've been preoccupied with life for the moment. so the regular stresses of the day lead me to bake. i know, why bake when you can't think straight? because when i'm baking i forget about everything else. its enjoyable to know that when everything around me is uncertain, i know that i can put a few regular ingredients together and make something beautifully delicious.

like chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes.

these little beauties were a hit at the office. the dark chocolate cupcake with that fluffly PB frosting? What more could a girl want.....except for a tinier waist.....these certainly aren't going to help.....

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
makes 24

2 1/4 cups organic all-purpose flour
2 cups organic cane sugar
1 cup organic unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon organic vanilla extract
2/3 cup organic canola oil
2 teaspoons organic white vinegar
2 cups cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside. In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, water, vanilla extract and vinegar.

Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients being careful not to overmix. The mixture will be quite wet, but that’s ok.

Pour the batter until the cups are two thirds full and place in the oven for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cup comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then place on a wire rack until completely cool before frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3 to 4 cups powdered sugar (depending on your desired consistency)

1 tablespoon milk (or water will do too)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, beat butter and peanut butter until creamy and virtually no butter lumps remain. Scrape down the bowl. Add three cups of powdered sugar and beat on low for 1 minute. Add milk and beat on medium high for 1 minute. Add the remaining cup of powdered sugar if you’d like your frosting a bit thicker.

Slather frosting onto cooled cupcakes and top with coarsely chopped peanut butter cups.