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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Swirly self-frosting cupcakes

Apparently the bloke was big and burly and used power tools. Apparently he commented on the swirls.
'Nice swirls' he said.
Not quite what you'd expect.
But when it's an employee of your boyfriend's new workplace, somehow it seems less mysterious. See, A. began a new work contract recently and one of the first questions the others in the team asked was:
"So, do you cook?"
To which he replied, "erm.....yes"
"But do you bake? We have morning teas here and we bring things we've baked."
"Well, I don't do that stuff much. However, my girlfriend is right into all that!"
So, that's how I was lured into baking cupcakes for people I've never met. Including burly men with power tools. Yet, I see this as a win-win situation: I have a long list on this computer of 'baking recipes to try', to which I add when I see something interesting. Which is pretty often. But I have not so many opportunities to make baked goods and it's really not a good idea to have yummy cakes and muffins sitting around at home, ready for snacking as I walk past the kitchen. I thought I had a willing recipient with A. but when he recently said "I can't eat as much cake as you give me!" I guessed I had to slow down a bit. That left me with a sudden dearth of blogging opportunities too; usually I have a backlog! So, when A. told me that he had a team of willing guinea pigs to try my baking recipes, suddenly I had a good excuse to get friendly with the butter and sugar again. Just nothing with too many expensive ingredients...especially if I don't get to eat it!

These were my first offerings to the mystery workplace, and they're something that caught my eye on Nic's website. In turn, Nic got them from a fellow Australia, Donna Hay! They are a simple, very buttery vanilla cake swirled with a topping. The original recipe used peanut butter, which Nic substituted for Nutella (yum!!!). I didn't have Nutella, but I do have a jar of the most wonderful stuff - dark chocolate peanut butter. Now, peanut butter is not something I like. Sure, I enjoy the flavour when it's cooked in things, but I hate it on its own. I can't abide that horrible pasty, gummy texture that sticks to the roof of your mouth. It definitely not something I would spread on toast. However, the first time I tasted this Kraft Nuts About Chocolate I was transported. This is some top stuff. And it's DARK chocolate and dairy-free. Seriously, people, go out and buy some of this stuff. I actually think it's not been selling too well and might be withdrawn from distribution, so I double my plea. Try it!

This recipe is extremely quick to make. I only had a small window of time between getting home from work and going out to rehearsal, and these are great for when you're time pressed. I walked in the door at 5.30 and had these in the oven by 5.50 -that's some quick recipe! I actually found swirling the peanut butter a bit difficult, even after I'd warmed the jar a bit. Even though Mr Power Tools complimented my swirls, I thought I could do better.

The taste of these is excellent. The cake is very buttery and soft, and the chocolate peanut butter rippled gooeily through, giving a real peanutty flavour. Very moreish. It made me think that you could use all kinds of different spreads for the 'frosting': jam...golden syrup...Milo...Appelstroop (that one'd be brilliant!)
So, apparently these were a big hit at A's workplace and they've passed on the message that they'd be happy to receive any baked goods from me in the future, even if they're not photo perfect. :-) Maybe next week I'll try some biscuits.....
Read on for the recipe:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosted Cupcakes
Adapted from a post on Baking Sheet, and Donna Hay.

140 grams butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
200 grams sifted plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
~1/3 cup Kraft Nuts About Chocolate (or other chocolate peanut butter spread), slightly warmed

Preheat oven to 165C.
Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
Cream together butter and sugar until light, 2 minutes.
Add in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Don't worry if the batter doesn't look smooth. Add vanilla.
Stir in flour, salt and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains.You may need a few splashes of milk here to loosen the batter very slightly.
Fill each muffin liner with batter. They should be 3/4 full.
Top each cake with 1 1/2 tsp chocolate spread. Swirl the spread in with a toothpick or knife point, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the spread.
Top with some crushed peanuts, if desired.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 12.


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