Meatless Monday: Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

There was absolutely no reason to make cupcakes on Saturday. But Flora was getting lots of attention because she was going to a Father-Daughter dance that evening (a special hair appointment, and the dance itself), so as a consolation prize, I told Kate we would make cupcakes.

My major miscalculation on Saturday was time management. I was really hoping that Kate and I would get to baking during Michael’s naptime, but it just didn’t happen. I had to give Flora a bath before her hair appointment, and I was trying to get the house in order for a dinner party we were having Sunday. (Okay, five people including Dan and me, plus the five children, but still — party!)

And then on top of everything else, I had found this Ina Garten recipe for exactly what I wanted to make, but despite my attempts to actually read through the recipe earlier in the day, it wasn’t until I finally got Michael to bed that I realized I didn’t have two or three of the ingredients Ina uses.

So then I went to my old stand-by at, but I wasn’t really crazy about their directions (“Combine all ingredients into large mixing bowl.” What? What happened to creaming the sugar and butter together?). Plus I didn’t have baking chocolate. Powdered cocoa, yes; solid baking chocolate, no.

So, heart in my throat, I tweaked — a lot — a baking recipe.

Until Saturday night, this was unheard of, people. I am a confident cook, but a cautious baker. However, I had promised Kate that we would do this. She had been asking me all. day. long. I couldn’t let her down.

I give you:

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
rpm version

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 level tablespoons of baking cocoa

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons coffee
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners (Kate loves this job, and is very good at it.)

Sift together in a small bowl the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add salt and cocoa.

In large mixing bowl, cream together sugar, brown sugar, and butter using an electric hand mixer. Add coffee, and one egg; mix again. Add second egg and mix. Add milk and vanilla, and mix until you have a lumpy liquid.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, and blend with electric hand mixer until batter is smooth, scraping down the bowl frequently.

Fill liners 1/2 to 2/3 full of batter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes in pans, then place on wire rack to cool completely.

Frost cupcakes when completely cool.

Peanut Butter Cream Frosting

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 table spoons unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together with an electric hand mixer until smooth. (If you read the recipe at the Food Network site, you will notice that Ina does it differently. Ina has shiny baking tools in her kitchen that I do not possess.)

This frosting is so good, I would eat it with a spoon if I had absolutely no self control.


Kate and I started baking around 7:30-8 p.m., and at 9:15, Kate finally got her cupcake. Lots of waiting in there, and I have to give her tons of credit. Kate is good to bake with. She is patient, and she listens, doing what I ask her to do. She lets me measure the ingredients, then adds them without spilling (much). She is more than happy to lick the beaters while I fill cupcake liners. Even though waiting for the cupcakes to be cool enough for the frosting was tough, she hung in there, and was justly rewarded.

She gave these cupcakes and the frosting two thumbs up. I do too!

Are you a confident baker? Can you just whip up recipes? Or do you tread carefully around confections, like me?