Peanut Butter Cup Cakes

peanut butter ganache

Peanut butter: the perfect combination of salty, sweet and that protein taste called umami. Leaving out the nostalgia for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, there’s nothing much better than a peanut butter cake in my book, which is why I keep re-visiting my recipe.

This time I have added Greek yogurt to the mix, which I think has given it a creamier feel yet a lighter texture. The yogurt acts a bit like buttermilk, adding acid to the baking powder to create a nearly frothy reaction. You can see how the batter forms silky peaks.

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I’ve topped these ones with dark chocolate ganache and sea salt, so they’re a bit like a fancy peanut butter cup.

Makes one dozen cupcakes.

Ingredients

250g all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
A pinch of salt
1 TBS double action baking powder (USA) / 1 TBS plain baking powder (UK)
170g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
180g ounces creamy peanut butter
120 greek yogurt

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180°c / 350°f (For fan or really hot ovens us a slightly lower temperature, about 20°c less or 70°f)

Measure out flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sift together into a medium bowl.

Cream butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl using an electric beater or stand mixer on high setting until light and fluffy and nearly white in colour.

Beat in peanut butter.

Beat in eggs one at a time, to combine.

Add vanilla.

Mix in dry ingredients in thirds on a low setting to avoid making a flour cloud, adding the yogurt before the final third.

Beat on medium speed until well combined, but keep it to less than one minute otherwise you’ll have a tough cake!

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Spoon into cupcake papers and bake for about 15 minutes until lightly golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t open the oven door until 10 minutes have passed or your cakes might fall in the middle.

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Leave to cool completely and smooth over chocolate frosting or chocolate ganache and a pinch of sea salt.

Chocolate Ganache

It’s not nearly as difficult as it sounds, in fact it’s one of the easier things to make! It always amazes me how many people I meet are afraid to make it… do give it a try, you’ll be so glad you did. Chocolate equals happiness after all!

Ingredients

300g good quality chocolate
150g double cream

50g butter
1-2 tablespoons caster sugar (depending on taste)
1 generous pinch Maldon sea salt

Note regarding the chocolate: Choose whatever you prefer for your cocoa percentage. I have used a 70% cocoa chocolate with some white chocolate to balance it out to make it around 55%. It really doesn’t matter how you make it as long as you use the right amount of solid with the right amount of liquid and a bit of sugar. The rest is up to your own taste. I am very privelaged to have been taught to make ganache first by Paul A Young, who can tell you all you need to know about chocolate and more! Brilliant, brilliant man, he makes water based chocolates completely divine. You can use water based ganache for this recipe too if you prefer. Making ganache this way does make it vegan, which is pretty exciting, although you’d have to change the cake recipe to match. I’ll have to start making more vegan cakes…

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Method

Break up the chocolate into chunks as above and put in a glass bowl large enough to fit all your ingredients.

Heat the cream, sugar and salt in a saucepan on the stove until nearly scalding point. This means not quite boiling but steaming hot.

Pour the liquid over the chocolate chunks and leave for one minute, then stir until smooth and completely combined.

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Refrigerate for up to one hour, stirring as you go to check to make sure it is still pourable. When it is thick enough to pour without dripping down the sides before setting, pour over the cupcakes and allow to set.

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When the ganache is nearly set, sprinkle a few grains of course grain sea salt or Maldon sea salt flakes on top. For best results allow to set for another two hours before transporting or serving.

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