One of my gal pals celebrated a birthday last week and NO ONE made her a cake. This is basically a crime. Ina Garten would have been be pissed; hence, I dropped everything and made some Barefoot Contessa cupcakes. Fear not, while the cupcake recipe DOES start with nearly 2 sticks of butter, for dinner I made Lemony Chickpea Stir-fry which basically cancels out the butter! Eat up!
Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature (I never have this on hand, so I “made” buttermilk using 1 cup skim milk and 1 T lemon juice-it really does work)
- 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup good cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Peanut Butter Icing, recipe follows
Chopped salted peanuts, to decorate, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it’s completely blended.
Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Frost each cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.
Peanut Butter Icing:
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.
I have a lot of friends that hate working with tofu because it’s “too spongy” or too this, or too that…I create extra, extra firm and combat spongy, with a very scientific pressing technique that I have perfected in my kitchen, you can see it in the first few photos post cupcake in the slideshow. Hint: it involves a cast iron grill pan. Very complex.
For the record, the birthday girl hated the stir-fry, but learned that she loves chickpeas. One small victory. I on the other hand decided this is one my fave Heidi Swanson recipes. Different strokes.
Lemony Chickpea Stir-Fry
- Recipe from 101cookbooks.com
- 2 tablespoon ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
- fine grain sea salt
- 1 small onion or a couple shallots, sliced
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas (canned is fine, if you don’t want to cook up a pot of dried chickpeas)
- 8 ounces extra-firm tofu
- 1 cup of chopped kale
- 2 small zucchini, chopped
- zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
Heat 1 tablespoon of the ghee/olive oil In a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in a big pinch of salt, the onion, and chickpeas. Saute until the chickpeas are deeply golden and crusty. Stir in the tofu and cook just until the tofu is heated through, just a minute or so. Stir in the kale and cook for one minute more. Remove everything from the skillet onto a large plate and set aside. In the same skillet heat the remaining tablespoon of ghee/olive oil, add the zucchini and saute until it starts to take on a bit of color, two or three minutes. Add the chickpea mixture back to the skillet, and remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and zest, taste, and season with a bit more salt if needed. Turn out onto a platter and serve family style.