Think Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in cupcake form. These are rich, chocolately cupcakes filled with a just-sweet-enough peanut butter filling.
You know how it is.
You’re sitting in front of the TV, you’re tired and it’s late … but you’re not quite motivated to get up and go to bed — so you begin fooling with the remote.
That’s how I discovered DC Cupcakes.
There isn’t much plot here: 2 sisters “ditch their corporate jobs” to start a shop that makes the “best cupcakes in the world,” Georgetown Cupcakes.
Whether the cupcakes are really that good or we’re just witnessing the miracle of reality TV, who knows. But a friend of mine recently traveled to D.C. and assured me the line to get into Georgetown Cupcakes is blocks long. (We get a shot of this during the show’s opening credits.)
Each week, the sisters face yet another cupcake challenge — whether it’s making a 6-foot cupcake guitar for a sweet 16 party, creating a dazzling cupcake bra for a breast cancer fundraiser, or sending 10,000 cupcakes to the troops in Afghanistan.
I watch, fascinated, as they bake and decorate.
I’ve been baking since I was old enough to hold a wooden spoon in my hand, and while I not-so-modestly admit my baked goods taste amazing, they generally look rather crappy.
I am no artist when it comes to visuals.
My cakes have that endearing, made-by-my-own-little-hands look. Fortunately, once people bite into something I’ve baked, they couldn’t care less about its appearance.
I noticed the other night as I was routing through On Demand’s offerings, that Sophie — one of the cupcake sisters — had a 2-minute video showing how to make their famous Lava Fudge Cupcakes.
She took the chocolate cupcakes out of the oven, then used a cylindrical apple corer to put a hole right through the middle. Next, she poured hot fudge sauce into the cupcake cavity — and then frosted the cupcake with their famous mound of buttercream frosting.
“I can do that,” I said out loud.
I mean, can’t anyone poke a hole in a cupcake?
Fortunately, a friend’s birthday was coming up. I can’t remember the last time I made cupcakes, but I knew that’s exactly what I was going to bake.
As for flavors? Easy enough: Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter filling — and maybe a nice dark chocolate glaze on top.
I rushed to the supermarket to get that apple corer — and then began texting everyone I knew that “I just bought an apple corer so I can make cupcakes with filling!”
I’m not sure everyone was quite as excited as I was — but then, that’s the nice thing about having friends who know you almost as well as you know yourself.
I’ll make one small confession first: The original plan called for me to make some kind of low-fat whole wheat-y cocoa muffins instead of cupcakes.
Which I did.
Excited about plunging a hole in them, I took the apple corer and stabbed the first muffin. Easy enough.
Happily, I popped the bit of muffin caught in the corer into my mouth.
Ugh! What was I thinking?!
Healthy muffins instead of cupcakes??!!
I dumped the muffins and started again. And amazingly enough, they not only tasted great, they looked terrific.
If I can do it, you can do it — and I highly recommend you give it a go:
Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling and Chocolate Glaze
Chocolate Cupcake: (from my all-time favorite dessert guru, Maida Heatter, and her Book of Great Chocolate Desserts)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 5 1/3 ounces unsalted butter (10 2/3 Tbs)
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup milk
Line 24 cupcake forms with liners and spray with Pam. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In an electric mixer, cream butter with sugar and vanilla till fluffy. Add eggs. On lowest speed, add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Do NOT overbeat.
Spoon batter into prepared pans, filling 2/3 full.
Bake 25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly pressed. Do NOT overbake.
Peanut Butter Filling:
In small bowl of electric mixer, beat together until combined;
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter (don’t use natural — go with Skippy)
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Now comes the fun part: Take the apple corer and firmly press it into the center of each cupcake. It will leave a deep, cylindrical hole down the middle.
Put the tip of your pastry bag into a cupcake hole and squeeze, filling it with the peanut butter mixture. It’s OK if it erupts out the top. Just make a nice flower or star design (think of the Dairy Queen curl).
In a small bowl, combine with a spoon:
- 3 Tbs. cocoa
- 2 Tbs. melted unsalted butter
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 3 Tbs. hot water
Stir together until combined and drizzle all over the cupcake tops.
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