Monday, 5 July 2010

I heart peanut butter

Today the first meeting of Cupcake Club is taking place in London and alas I can't be there. Cupcake Club is the brain child of Kelly from An American Cupcake in London, to keep bakers busy while Iron Cupcake takes a (we hope temporary) break.

I had planned to go tonight and already practiced my cupcakes which were delicious, and my toppers, which although tasted fabulous, looked like something I'd picked off the floor.

I stuck with the nuts theme from the now cancelled Iron Cupcake and went with peanut butter and chocolate - the reasons being;
  1. I love the combination
  2. I'd never made peanut butter cupcakes before (too tempting to scoff them all) and
  3. Cupcake club was taking place the day after July 5th and my favourite American candy is Reese's Peanut butter cups
I used the recipe for Peanut Butter cupcakes with chocolate frosting from my Primrose Bakery cookbook, changing it only slightly. I used crunchy peanut butter rather than smooth, and for the chocolate frosting used the 85% Green and Blacks chocolate as in my opinion it makes the best chocolate frosting ever. I also used slightly less salt than required as I find peanut butter a bit salty already. The cakes took a little less time than stated in the recipe and were just beginning to over-brown in the oven but luckily I caught them in time, and lashings of chocolate frosting covered up any darker bits. The cupcake was really moist and flavoursome - and lasted for days (I made them last Sunday and Manny was still scoffing them Tuesday night). The frosting remains my favourite ever chocolate frosting - we had to put these in the fridge as it was so hot last weekend and it still tasted great.

My toppers were going to be homemade peanut butter cups. I'd originally planned to just make cake pop type balls on a stick, but then while buying more lollipop sticks on ebay I chanced upon this beautiful candy mould and couldn't resist. Co-incidentally we bought a cupcake shaped chocolate lollypop at William Curley last week after visiting the Elephant Parade and they totally use this mould!

I didn't get a chance to test the moulds until Saturday, when my kitchen thermometer read in the high 30's. This was an omen of the disaster that followed. I melted the chocolate (used Green and Blacks cooking milk chocolate first, then their cooking dark chocolate for the second attempt) and while it set I mixed my peanut butter filling (smooth peanut butter, bit of icing sugar and a touch of vanilla paste = yum). I then plopped in the peanut butter mixture, shoved in a lolly stick and covered the mixture with the remaining melted chocolate. Then my error, I put it in the fridge as I thought this'd help. I know chocolate and fridges don't go but there was no way in hell it'd set in my kitchen. From looking online and checking forums etc I should've bunged it in the freezer..grr. I'll know next time. They tasted really nice, if only they'd not "bloomed" - maybe next time I should temper the chocolate? Any candy making tips gratefully received.

Anyways I thought my cupcakes looked quite cute - even without the toppers

And here are the failed toppers

Finally if you're a peanut butter fan like me, pop on over to Peanut Butter and Co's website and drool. Their sandwich range has given me some fabulous ideas for cupcake flavours and I desperately want some Easy Squeezy Peanut Butter squeeze packs! If you're in the UK, Waitrose and Whole Foods stock some of the range, including The Heat is On and White Chocolate Wonderful, which I think would make a lovely cupcake. I must check if they do the peanut butter cupcake mix next time I'm there.


Cupcake Kelly said...

they look so cute. I love the toppers. I wish i'd got to taste one! once summer vacation period is over I might give organizing one another go. For the first time it went well and we had fun. I'll keep everyone posted. :)

Libbs said...

I have a few tips, though I'm not an expert.. polish the moulds with cotton wool before using them. And definately temper the chocolate.

You get bloom when the chocolate hasn't been melted to the correct temperature and the fat crystals rise to the top. When you temper the chocolate the fat crystals align and set in the correct way leaving the chocolate really shiny and more snappable than bendy.

I'd turn your fridge down and set them in the fridge, not the freezer, and as soon as they're set get them out, otherwise they could then bloom.

Temperatures and consistencies however are beyond me, I never really got that far.

Good luck!!!
Libbs x

Made With Pink said...

Ahhh! Too funny, you also love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I made a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cupcake for the cupcake club as well (just posted them on my site). I felt bad though - Gem & Tamara both said they don't really like peanut butter (although they did say they liked mine, but they were probably being polite) I felt bad because Lisa from the Yummy Bakery also brought peanut butter cupcakes. I would have liked to try yours as well - yours were a peanut butter sponge, mine were chocolate with a Reese's cup inside, and Lisa's were vanilla - so all different! Glad to see someone else appreciated Reese's and peanut butter in general as much as me!

I heart cupcakes said...

Thanks Kelly - the toppers tasted good but just looked rubbish. Will definitely try to make them again though, maybe bring some to your next cupcake club!

Thank you Libbs - any help is much appreciated. I must say when I opened one of the bars of Green and Blacks it had already bloomed (its going back to them!), so not sure if it was my fault or the chocolate! Maybe I should use crappy chocolate and see how it goes? A couple of them came out quite shiny and had the lovely snap but had a bit of bloom on others. Will try tempering though! Thanks again for your suggestions

Andrea - I just saw your post - how funny we're both such peanut butter fans. I was chatting on Twitter with someone last night - I don't get how people don't like peanut butter! Your peanut butter cupcakes look awesome - am kicking myself I missed them, the frosting looks great! And such a variety of different peanut butter goodies!
Btw I think they had Reeses cereal for a while in Selfridges but for about £7 a box (gasp!) and perhaps in Partridges/Cybercandy. I've seen it recently but didn't buy it. When we went to America I was astounded by the variety - sometimes I look at the giant tubs of it on and drool!

Cupcake Crazy Gem said...

Your cupcake moulds are so cute - I love them!! hope they work out for you next time! and those cupcakes look delish, such a shame you weren't able to make the first cc. That chocolate frosting looks positively heavenly...and yes I didn't think I liked peanut butter but after enjoying the two pb cc I had on Monday I'm beginning to reconsider my position! and a 3rd pb cc would have been most welcome!!

Manny said...

I loved the choccy peanut butter toppers, I could have scoffed the lot :) And the cakes were awesome too of course. Next time you'll have to make double the amount of toppers, half for the cakes and half for me to nibble at home :)

I heart cupcakes said...

Gem - I was gutted I didn't make it after hearing about the lovely cakes! Peanut butter is one of my favourite things to eat :) the cupcakes were really tasty and very moist - sometimes peanut butter ones are a bit dry but these were moist for a few days! I'll try the chocolate toppers again once the weather is a bit cooler

Manny - I know you liked them, you scoffed them all ;)