Happy (belated) New Year’s! One major thing I want to work on in this new year is to improve my food photography skills. I’ve been saying that for years, but for Christmas, I got a new DSLR camera!
I’ve played around with DSLRs before and always marveled at how much better the pictures look than ones you would take with your phone. Now, I finally got my hands on my very own Canon EOS Rebel T2i.
It’s a very outdated model, for sure, but I wanted something cheaper and more basic for my first fancy camera, before deciding what functions and features I really need after I’ve gotten more practice with using one.
For my first baking post of the new year (already late into January…), I went for high drama with these peanut butter chocolate cupcakes from one of my favorite baking blogs! These might look tricky or difficult to make, but it’s just like making any other cupcake – you just dip the tops in chocolate afterwards to create the chocolate shell!
The cupcake is just your basic chocolate cupcake recipe – you can use the one I listed below or your favorite! The frosting is another Swiss meringue frosting, now made better with the addition of peanut butter!
As I said in my last baking post, Swiss meringue can be difficult at first, especially if you aren’t sure of how to handle egg whites and meringue, but with a bit of practice (and tips from my other post), it will become as easy as regular frosting!
The meringue helps the frosting stand tall for even more impact and drama when you dip it into the chocolate! It also helps to freeze the cupcakes for about 20 minutes before dipping to make sure the frosting doesn’t melt.
I dipped my cupcakes in a tall, deep mug, but halfway through the cupcakes, the chocolate was no longer deep enough to cover the tops of the cupcakes. So, for my other half, I just drizzled the remaining chocolate on top – I think both versions turned out very pretty!
Hi-Hat Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes
A chocolate cupcake, piled high with peanut butter Swiss meringue frosting and dipped in chocolate
- Chocolate Cupcakes:
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup (100 g) white sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 g) brown sugar (dark or light)
- 2 eggs (room temperature)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (42 g) cocoa powder (natural unsweetened)
- 3/4 cup (95 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
- 3 egg whites (room temperature)
- 3/4 cup (150 g) white sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
- 10 Tbsp (145 g) unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup (250 g) peanut butter (creamy)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 10 oz (280 g) semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 1/2 Tbsp of canola or vegetable oil
Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
Chocolate (for dipping):
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake tins (about 15) with liners or spray with canola oil.
- Cupcakes: mix canola oil, white sugar, and brown sugar in a bowl with a whisk by hand until combined.
- Mix eggs and vanilla extract and keep whisking until smooth.
- Sift cocoa, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a separate bowl.
- Alternate addition of flour mixture and buttermilk – add flour in three additions and the buttermilk in two additions (flour-milk-flour-milk-flour).
- Pour batter into prepared liners – fill each half full
- Bake cupcakes for 20-22 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean Let cupcakes cool completely (if in a rush, you can cool the cupcakes in the fridge faster).
- Buttercream: While cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream. Boil water in a small saucepan and place your stand mixer bowl on top of it so it forms a double boiler. (Try to not let the bottom of the bowl touch the bottom of the saucepan)
- In the bowl, whisk the egg whites with the sugar and cream of tartar. Mixture will become frothy and slowly turn opaque white. The egg whites are ready when you pinch some between your fingers and it feels smooth.
- Transfer contents of the bowl to stand mixer (careful, bowl will be hot!) and use whisk attachment to continue beating the egg whites on medium-high speed while they cool. The egg whites will increase in volume and become shiny and stiff.
- When the bowl has cooled (about 10 minutes), slowly start adding the butter. I would cut the butter in cubes and add a cube every 15 seconds or so. The mixture will start curdling, but that’s okay – keep beating and it will eventually go back to being pretty.
- If the buttercream is too runny, place bowl in fridge for 30 minutes and then continue beating. If the buttercream is too clumpy, take a quarter of the buttercream and microwave it for 15 seconds. Add it back to the buttercream while mixing and it’ll smooth out.
- Once all the butter is added, add the peanut butter and vanilla extract. Keep beating until the buttercream is smooth.
- Top cupcakes with the buttercream – as high as you want! Put frosted cupcakes into freezer while you make the dipping chocolate.
- Dipping chocolate: Melt chocolate and oil in a deep mug in the microwave – melt in 20-30 sec intervals until completely melted and smooth.
- Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the chocolate until the frosting is covered! Alternatively, you can also drizzle the chocolate on top.
- Set the chocolate by putting the cupcakes in the fridge for about half an hour. Enjoy!