Nathan and I decided to have a bake off tonight. I don't know if we were bored, desperate for some dessert, or if we just watch too much Food Network. We love to watch shows like Chopped and Dinner Impossible where chef's are challenged to make a meal out of surprise ingredients or without much notice. We felt like we were in one of the shows, or a combination of them. For some reason I have not been paying much attention to the status of our pantry and we were low or out of a lot of basic things. For instance, the last of the oil was used last night, the last of the milk this morning for breakfast, and I only had about 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar.
So, our challenge was to see who could pull off the best dessert with ingredient substitutions. As I was trying to figure out what I wanted to make, I only knew one thing for certain. It would be in cupcake form. I was invited to participate in the Gourmet Girl Magazine's Cup Cake Crawl. For rules and details go HERE. The deadline for that is the 19th so I didn't think I was going to be able to pull it off, but Nathan's challenge got me moving. Nothing like a little spousal competition to motivate you.
I'm afraid I didn't take pictures of each step, but here is the recipe.
* 4 eggs
* 2 cups sugar
* 3/4 cup melted butter
* 3/4 cup peanut butter
* 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
* 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk (the yogurt and evap milk were my substitutions for buttermilk and it turned out quite yummy, but feel free to do 1 cup buttermilk instead of the yogurt and evap milk)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup cocoa powder
*2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (higher elevations may not need as much--this is for my Utah friends--I'd try 1 1/2 teaspoons and see what happens)
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1. I preheated my oven to 350 degrees and put my baking cups in the muffin pan. I hate them, but I didn't want to clean up afterward!
2. I put the eggs in my stand up mixer and beat them until they were starting to get a little frothy (about 1 minute on medium) then I added the melted butter, peanut butter, and sugar and continued to mix. Scrape down the sides as needed. I remembered how my last from scratch cake fell, so I let it mix a good 2 minutes to get a lot of good air whipped in. Then I added my yogurt and milk and beat for another minute.
3. My batter was looking good and I could see the air bubbles in it so I slowly added the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and soda. Once those were well incorporated I added my flour last. And guess what? I let it mix for another 2 minutes on med-high. I wasn't taking any chances (I forgot I was just doing cupcakes, so I don't even know if a 9 inch cake would have fallen or not!)
4. I filled my cupcake pans 2/3 full (The batter still looked a little thin, but not too thin, does that make sense? Sometimes my cake batters are really thick like pudding, don't know why) and baked them for 23 minutes. They came out a lovely shade of lighter chocolate. I should have cut one open for you to see. It was like dark brown sugar and the texture was almost more muffin like than cake like. They had a very light peanut butter flavor and the chocolate was light as well. I kept thinking they would be yummy for breakfast without the frosting. Maybe that is where the last dozen will end up!5. I then made a quick cocoa butter cream frosting and sprinkled some shaved chocolate on them.
Here is my NEW favorite icing recipe, from Conversations With a Cupcake
1 pint heavy cream
11.5 oz. 60% Bittersweet cacao chips
½ c. butter
4-5 c. powdered sugar
In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate chips and heavy cream until a thick, smooth ganache forms, to keep the mixture from burning, stir constantly. Put in fridge until chilled. Remove from fridge and beat in butter & powdered sugar until frosting is a spreadable consistency. Frost. Chill cake. To serve, remove from fridge 10-15 minutes before serving."
Of course I didn't have heavy cream or enough powdered sugar. So my frosting was not nice and thick and creamy, but it still tasted good. I used a little more of the Belgium chocolate from Easter. I only have 2 lbs left! What will I do when I run out?