Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Brown Sugar Mini Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Frosting

Brown Sugar Mini Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Frosting
I am a terrible blogger. When I renewed my URL for 2 more years, I had no idea it was going to be this difficult to continue you writing, baking, and sharing pictures of tasty treats with all of you. Why is it so hard? Well, first of all, it is expensive. I need to start generating income from this blog through ads or something to help supplement the cost. Secondly, it's time-consuming. I baked on Saturday and took the pictures, which is all fine and dandy. But then finding the time in the week to sit down and write is hard. I sit at a computer 40 hours a week, and turning on my laptop at home takes more motivation than I have. Please note: it is May 2nd, and I am turning on my laptop for the first time since March 23rd when I had my IT Department clean up my computer for me. Yeah, it's pretty terrible. Anyway, the third and final reason for the long delay: my roommate had to give up sweets for 28 days and it was in the middle of Lent when people at work were staying away from desserts, so I felt like it would just be cruel to bake. Plus, I didn't want all of the leftovers to myself!

So, where does that bring me today? A few recipes behind (I even have a draft of something saved from January) and trying to catch up. I'll get back to those things I've made in the past couple of months eventually, but for now let's focus on the present. I'm back. I'm going to do my best to be here regularly!!! Sit back, relax, and enjoy the blog!

On Saturday, my dear friend Chanel and her wonderful boyfriend Ian had a housewarming party for their new apartment in Little Italy. First of all, they are about the cutest couple in the world. And secondly, their apartment is amazing. I'm totally in love everything--from the location to the size, from the decorating to the cats that live there. Love, love, love. So naturally, I needed to bring something that showed how much I love everything about them and this party!! I opted for mini cupcakes because there were going to be quite a few people at this shin-dig (close to 40). I have never made mini cupcakes before, but they were SO much fun. And so cute!! And I happen to have this awesome cake carrier that perfectly holds 24 mini cupcakes without letting them touch one another. Brilliance. My frosting job on these little guys isn't too shabby either. I used the Wilton 1M tip, and it worked so well! Love it!

So, these were not your typical cupcakes. I found the recipe through a blog my roommate follows called How Sweet It Is and it really is an amazing blog. Jessica, the author, comes up with incredible combinations and I am consistently amazed by her recipes! We all know how much I love anything and everything with chocolate, so I was very surprised when I found myself making something WITHOUT chocolate. But, I have a weakness for peanut butter and brown sugar, so I was sold pretty quickly on these cupcakes.

If you've ever made chocolate chip cookies from scratch, you've creamed together butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Now, have you ever tasted just that? It's delicious and tastes like sweet, buttery caramel, but with the grainy texture of sugar. Take that flavor and imagine it in a soft, fluffy, moist cupcake. That's what these cupcakes taste like. And then there is the frosting. I love my peanut butter frosting, but this one might take the cake. (Haha.) Cream cheese, brown sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and peanut is like everything I love in one place. Put it on a chocolate cupcake and you'd never get me to leave. The tangy flavor of the cream cheese balances the sweetness of the sugars, and then it's like POW! Peanut butter time. Seriously, it is fantastic. I'm still amazed at how something can be so amazing and not have chocolate. Like, at all, not even a little bit, not even a chip. So, without further ado, I share with you Brown Sugar Mini Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Frosting, courtesy of How Sweet It Is! Enjoy!!!

Brown Sugar Mini Cupcakes
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt, stirring to mix. Set aside. Line a mini cupcake tin with liners.
Your basic mixture of dry ingredients. :)

In a large bowl, whisk brown sugar and egg until smooth. Add in vanilla extract and milk, again mixing until combined. 
The beginning of something so amazing!

Beautiful, tasty, and smooth!

Slowly pour in melted butter, continuing to whisk. 
I really could have used 3 hands for this picture....

Add in the flour, soda and salt, mixing with a large spoon until batter is smooth.

The batter is this awesome consistency of smooth and think that makes it so easy to use for cupcakes!

Using a cookie scoop, add batter to liners and fill 2/3 of the way. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until tops are puffy and golden, and don’t jiggle when touched. Let cool completely. Makes about 30 mini cupcakes.
It's hard to tell, but those are mini cupcakes! Sorry that I forgot to take a picture of them baked, but without the frosting!

(Note: If you decide against mini cupcakes, this recipe makes 12 regular cupcakes using a 1/4 cup of batter per cupcake and cooking for 16-19 minutes.) 

Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Frosting
6 ounces cold cream cheese
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
raw turbinado sugar for topping, if desired

Add cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until smooth, then add peanut butter and vanilla extract, mixing until combined. 
Cream cheese was a great idea for the base of the frosting.

And adding peanut butter is just inspired.

Add in brown and powdered sugars gradually, with the mixture on low speed. Once everything has been added, turn to medium-high speed and mix for 4-5 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides. If you’d like the frosting a bit sturdier, add additional powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time, mixing like before. 
Delicious Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Frosting!

Frost cupcakes! I used the Wilton 1M tip to swirl the frosting on like a professional. It's important to just put about 1/2 cup of frosting at a time in the frosting bag, otherwise your warm hands will melt the frosting! Once frosted, sprinkle on raw turbinado sugar for a sweet decoration!

Time for a mini cupcake photoshoot!!

A close-up...I love the raw turbinado sugar topping!

Quite impressed with my frosting ability on these babies!

No two cupcakes are exactly the same and I love it! And I love my mini cupcake tray!!

I hope you enjoyed my first attempt at mini cupcakes! They certainly were a hit at the party! I can wait to make more mini cupcakes in the future, and maybe pair this cake with a different frosting (probably chocolate) and this frosting with a chocolate cake! :)

Thanks for staying with me!

<3 Buttercup

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