I have a confession. I enjoy shopping for food and stationary more than I do clothes. This would be pretty evident to anyone who chanced a glance at my pantry, bookshelf and closet. Cupcake pans, boxes of pencils and hard-to-find-ingredients have started to encroach the space in my closet, having spilled over the limits of my kitchens storage capacity.
I have a second confession to make. I very often end up using these pans, ingredients and stationary items only once, if at all. Boxes of letterheads with beautiful motifs sit ignored while I type lengthy emails to loved ones. A bottle of sumac sits unloved, sharing space with hair bands and rarely worn necklaces. And my piping kit, till recently, sat unused next to a set of also unused mini tart pans, which sits next to a small pile of fancy wrapping paper and an old bottle of glue.
Hence out came my recipe folder (full of recipes I have been meaning to try), the cupcake pan and piping kit, in an attempt to hit three birds with one stone (or batch of batter and frosting).
Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
The cupcakes in this recipe are vegan, light and just chocolaty enough. They are slathered with a very un-vegan but delicious peanut butter-butter cream frosting, which is OK given that most people here are who are vegetarian eat lots of dairy. A further note on the cupcakes: they have become my go-to recipe for a chocolate cupcake base because of how easy they are to put together, and how moist the final outcome is.
Recipe adapted from Joythebaker
For the cupcakes (makes 12):
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3rd cup vegetable oil (see note)
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Line one cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, till the cocoa has blended fully with the flour.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, and add to the flour mixture. Still using your whisk, mix the wet into the dry ingredients till just incorporated, taking care to not over beat the batter.
Pour into prepared liners, taking care to not overfill and spill batter on the rest of the pan. The easiest way to avoid splattering your pan with drops of batter is to catch the drops with a big spoon, when moving the bowl between liners.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes, till they pass the toothpick test (it should come out clean).
Cool completely before frosting.
For the peanut butter frosting:
(enough to frost 12 cupcakes, plus a little extra, if like me you don’t like too much frosting on your cupcake)
1/2 cup or 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups or 180g icing sugar
1/2 cup or 110g smooth peanut butter (I used Skippy)
1 tablespoon milk
Using an electric beater and a large bowl or (if you should be so lucky) in the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and peanut butter till smooth and no lumps remain. Scrape down your bowl, add the sugar, and beat on a low speed till incorporated. Add the milk and beat on high till light and fluffy.
Frost cooled cupcakes using hitherto unloved piping kit, or simply swirl on frosting artistically using the back of your spoon.
(Note: I use canola oil at home for cooking and, where called for, in baking. Its far healthier than sunflower or safflower oil. I know its more expensive and harder to find here in India, but worth it.)