Here are those cupcakes I promised you to celebrate 400 comments.

I chose these because if you're going to have a treat, in my opinion "Barefoot Contessa" Ina Garten is the chef to see. She does it up right.

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I also chose them because Susan K likes chocolate, and because the cupcake plays kind of an interesting role in the current state of parenting. We're constantly either making them for one school event/birthday/party or another; or we're buying them but secretly feeling that perhaps we should have made them from scratch; or we're worrying that our children are consuming altogether too many of them anyway, so we're trying to be strong by not taking them someplace, and taking carrot sticks instead.

Then we are so overcome with this inner wrangling that we simply must have a cupcake for ourselves. As local blogger Sweetney observes: "Mommy Guilt: It's What's For Dinner." Also dessert.

But I digress. ...(Click below for recipes.)

(Photo by me)

Back to the treat!

I know that peanut butter is a loaded item these days, too; unfortunately, it seems that half the kids out there are allergic, and the other half can't live without it. That's why I made these with chocolate icing, too. The cupcakes, which get a flavor boost from a little coffee, taste great both ways.

I didn't have nutritional analysis done on this, because with all Ina's butter and sugar, along with cream in the frosting, I don't think we really want to know. But if enough of you feel differently and tell me so below, I'll post it later.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 14 to 18 cupcakes

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 extra-large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

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1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature

½ cup sour cream, at room temperature

2 tablespoons brewed coffee

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup good cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (one rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from pans, and cool completely before frosting.

Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural-style)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

--From “Barefoot Contessa at Home,” by Ina Garten

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