Happy 100th blog post to me! Remember back in grade school when the 100th day of school arrived, and everyone had to bring in 100 of something to share or show off? And there was a song to sing? And the peasants rejoiced?
Ok, two out of those three are real memories. Regardless: 100 blog posts is a milestone! It’s 100 times I’ve been able to come up with something to write and share with the world. 100 times you got to see a bit of my kitchen, of me, and of my life. And 100 titles I had to shorten (this post included!). To celebrate this wondrous occasion, I wanted to bake something extra special, extra me, and extra sweet. So of course, that had to included chocolate, peanut butter, classic tastes, a modern twist, and a healthy spin. Phew! That’s a lot to put into one recipe.
But guess what. I did just that. The chocolate cupcakes are low sugar and fat free, made with raw homemade applesauce. It’s also based on one of my most favorite cupcake recipes EVER. I have the thing memorized, but share it with you below. The buttercream is made with less sugar and fat than your typical frosting, and employs my Oma’s homemade strawberry jam. And the peanut butter drizzle tops it all off with flair, fun and mouth-feel. Make these for your kids. Make them for your co-workers (mine are lucky enough to benefit from this baking session!). Make them for the next friend gathering. Or just make them because you have all the ingredients and are feeling like Betty Crocker.
Seriously, just make them.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Jam Buttercream and Peanut Butter Drizzle
Makes 18 cupcakes
Cupcakes, from Can You Stay For Dinner
- 1 C skim or nondairy milk
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 C all purpose flour
- 1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 C packed brown sugar
- 1/2 C unsweetened applesauce (I made this raw version, but use whatever)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. Line 18 muffin cups with cupcake liners and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine milk and vinegar. Stir, and set aside to curdle. This takes the place of traditional buttermilk.
In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt) and whisk together. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, applesauce and vanilla. Use that same whisk from a minute ago to whisk this together. Pour in the now-curdled milk mixture and stir well.
Dump the flour-cocoa mixture into the bowl of wet ingredients. Use the whisk to incorporate the ingredients, smooth out any flour lumps, and create a liquidy cake batter. That’s how it SHOULD look.
Use a small ice cream scoop and drop exactly 1.5 scoopfuls into each cupcake liner. Don’t put in any more! It may look barren, but it’ll work out. Fill all liners.
Bake at 350 for 18 minutes. No more, no less. Remove from oven and allow to sit on the cooling rack in the tins for about 10 minutes. Remove from tins and allow to cool completely.
While these were baking, I made the buttercream.
Makes enough for 18 cupcakes, or one 9″ cake
- 1/2 C granulated sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 C smooth strawberry jam or preserves (or other flavor)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened and cubed
- pinch of salt
Bring a saucepan of water to simmer. In a medium metal bowl, whisk together sugar and egg whites. Place over simmering water.
Whisk constantly until sugar dissolves, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Using an electric mixer, beat on high speed until cool and thick, about 5-6 minutes. Beat in vanilla and jam. With mixer running, add butter a few pieces at a time, beating to blend between additions. Season with salt.
Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to use. I find it’s easier to pipe and spread once cooled down.
While the cupcakes and buttercream are cooling, make the peanut butter drizzle! Or do the dishes. You’ll have a fair amount by the time this is over. Worth it.
Peanut Butter Drizzle, adapted from Food for the Soul
Makes about 1/2 cup of sauce
- 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 2 tbsp skim or nondairy milk
- 4 tbsp powdered sugar
Scoop peanut butter into a small microwave safe bowl and microwave for 15 seconds.
Stir in milk completely. Two tbsp at a time, stir in the powdered sugar until combined, without any lumps.
To make your life easier, grab a standard coffee mug and a plastic ziplock bag. But bag inside mug, with the edges folded over the mug sides. Scoop the peanut butter sauce into the bag. Keep it there until you’re ready to assemble.
Build your cupcakes! It’s like build-a-bear. But you get to eat the end result :)
Set up your preferred method of frosting cupcakes. I chose a fun tip and a piping bag, but you could use a knife to smooth the frosting on if you like. Scoop frosting into piping bag and go to town! You’ll have JUST enough if you followed the recipes. The frosting will taste like a strawberry milkshake :)
Grab the bag of peanut butter sauce, twist the end to hold it all in, and cut a tiny bit off in the corner to squeeze out from. Drizzle the sauce onto the tops of the frosted cupcakes in any pattern your heart desires. These are YOUR cupcakes, after all!
Serve and eat them immediately, or store them in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to gobble them up.
Enjoy knowing that these aren’t THAT unhealthy for you, that you made them yourself, and that doing so is helping me celebrate my 100th post! Happy days for all :)