Double Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling
- ACTIVE: 45 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 3 HR
- SERVINGS: Makes 24 cupcakes
Peggy Cullen, the owner of Lucky Star Sweets, fills her tender chocolate cupcakes with a creamy, salty peanut butter mixture; then she dips the tops twice in a rich, silky chocolate ganache frosting. "For some reason most bakers don't fill their cupcakes," says Cullen, "but taking that extra step is no big deal." All you need to do is poke a hole into the top and squeeze in the ultrasimple blend of peanut butter, sugar and butter.
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350° and position 2 racks in the lower and middle third of the oven. Line 24 muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
- Put the cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Add the boiling water and whisk until a smooth paste forms. Whisk in the buttermilk until combined. In a medium bowl, sift the flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1 1/2 sticks of the butter with the granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, then beat in the dry ingredients in 2 batches, alternating with the cocoa mixture. Carefully spoon the cupcake batter into the lined muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are springy. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, beat the peanut butter with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter until creamy. Sift the confectioners' sugar into the bowl and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Spoon all but 3 tablespoons of the peanut butter filling into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch star tip. Holding a cupcake in your hand, plunge the tip into the top of the cake, pushing it about 3/4 inch deep. Gently squeeze the pastry bag to fill the cupcake, withdrawing it slowly as you squeeze; you will feel the cupcake expand slightly as you fill it. Scrape any filling from the top of the cupcake and repeat until all of the cupcakes are filled.
- In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Off the heat, add the semisweet chocolate to the cream and let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk the melted chocolate into the cream until smooth. Let the chocolate icing stand until slightly cooled and thickened, about 15 minutes. Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the icing, letting the excess drip back into the pan. Transfer the cupcakes to racks and let stand for 5 minutes. Dip the tops of the cupcakes again and transfer them to racks. Spoon the remaining 3 tablespoons of peanut butter filling into the pastry bag and pipe tiny rosettes on the tops of the cupcakes.