Today was another one of those days that I just knew what I needed to bake. I had been meaning to bake some cupcakes but hadn’t really come up with any concrete ideas. While I was eating breakfast with my little girl I was suddenly day dreaming about peanut butter caramel sauce. Snickers bars are one of my favourites and I figured the combination of caramel, peanuts and chocolate would work wonderfully as a cupcake.
I decided to modify one of my favourite chocolate cupcake recipes, a caramel recipe and my brown sugar frosting to come up with these delicious cupcakes. Experimental baking can be a very good thing!
The cupcake batter doesn’t require a mixer, all you need is a whisk. The cupcakes are fluffy and moist with a great peanut butter flavour.
While the cupcakes are cooling it’s a good time to make the caramel. Don’t be tempted to make it while the cupcakes are in the oven because the caramel needs your full attention. Sugar can go from caramelised to burnt in a matter of seconds.
Once you have made (and taste tested) the caramel sauce you can make the frosting while the caramel cools. As you can see all that was left of the caramel after filling and drizzling the cupcakes was a tiny cup, I might double the recipe next time so that I can keep a jar in the fridge, it is delicious and would be so good on ice cream or crepes.
In not too long you will have 16 delicious and very decadent cupcakes ready and waiting for you. I definitely recommend sharing with your family and friends, I had some very happy visitors here this evening.
A PhD Baker original recipe
Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes
1 cup flour
1 1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Peanut butter caramel sauce
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons water
2/3 cup cream
3 rounded teaspoons smooth peanut butter
Sea salt to taste
Brown sugar peanut butter frosting
150 g butter (softened)
2 cups icing sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 rounded tablespoons peanut butter
2-3 tablespoons of milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line 16 holes of a cupcake tray with papers. Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda. In a small bowl mix together the sour cream and peanut butter until smooth then add to the dry ingredients. Add the water and oil and whisk to combine (it will be very thick at this stage, don’t worry). Add the vinegar and vanilla and beat to combine. Add the egg and whisk to combine. Fill the cupcake papers 2/3 full and bake for 17-18 minutes, turning once, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Set aside to cool.
2. To make the caramel place the sugar and water into a medium thick based saucepan over a high heat. Use a wet pastry brush to wash any sugar crystals down off the side of the pan, do not stir the mixture or it can crystallise out. The sugar water mix will begin to bubble quite rapidly, you can swirl the pan gently. As it continues to cook you will start to smell it caramelising and will know it is nearly ready. As soon as it starts to go a light brown colour you have 30 seconds to a minute till it goes a darker brown/amber colour. As soon as it gets to this stage take it off the heat and very carefully add the cream. It will bubble up violently, be careful of the steam! Mix till smooth and leave to cool for 3-5 minutes before adding the peanut butter. Mix until smooth and add 1/2 to 1 teaspoons of ground sea salt and check the taste to be sure you are happy with it.
3. For the frosting begin by softening the butter and then beat until light and fluffy. Sift together the icing and brown sugar and add a cup at a time to the butter. Once it is all added mix in the peanut butter and then add the vanilla and enough milk to make it light and fluffy.
4. To assemble the cupcakes cut out the middle of the cupcake with a sharp knife or with an apple corer (my preferred tool). Fill the holes with the cooled peanut butter caramel, there should be enough left to drizzle over the tops of the cupcakes. Today I used a Wilton 2D tip to pipe the frosting but feel free to use whatever you like. I decided to go with a mini mountain of frosting unlike the standard rosettes I normally like to pipe, the cupcakes are already decadent and it doesn’t hurt to bump them up a little. Using a piping bag with a small tip drizzle the extra peanut butter caramel over the top and if you want to you can garnish with thin slices of mini snickers bars (I chopped each one into 4 thin slices).