Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

There are few things that better represent how much I love baking more than my reaction to being asked to cook for friends and family.  Rather than feeling burdened, I am thrilled to be involved and delighted that anyone finds my abilities worthy enough to utilize for a special occasion.  One of my dearest friend's mom celebrated her birthday recently, and as a gift to her I was asked to make a chocolate cake.  My friends mom is like me in that she has a passion for chocolate. It is safe describe my love for chocolate as an obsession.  I can eat it in any form, whether frozen, melted, in a cake or a candy bar, and I will gladly find a way to fit it into any meal of the day.  That made this baking decision easy.



My friend's mom follows a gluten-free diet.  I have made gluten-free recipes before and they turned out really well, so I was excited at the challenge of making a delicious gluten-free chocolate cake.  Now her favorite partner for chocolate is peanut butter, so the concept began blossoming quickly: chocolate peanut butter cake.

I decided to use similar ingredients to those that I had used in my yellow cake recipe, but switch it over to chocolate.  I sent my friend over a list of ingredients that was quite extensive and headed over to bake at her place.

When I arrived I noticed that she had picked up a gluten-free Betty Crocker cake mix instead, as she had gotten overwhelmed with ingredients (did I mention it was extensive?).  For those who don't bake frequently, what seems like basic ingredients one always has on hand to a baker means buying out half the store, so her reaction was understandable.  At first I thought that I couldn't possibly consider a boxed chocolate cake to be my own, but then I realized that when in a pinch, a boxed cake mix is this is a very cost-effective and easy way to make a dessert.  So why not show a way to spruce up a box cake and make it even better?


I started out with the cake mix, combining the dry ingredients with some eggs, butter, and water.  Now I had brought some dark chocolate bars that I had picked them up at Trader Joe's, so I grated some up and mixed it in for a final chocolatey touch.


I scooped some of the batter into the cupcake tray, filling the cup about one third of the way full.  Then, I took a glob of peanut butter and put it in the center to make a peanut butter filling.  I followed that up by scooping another bit of batter over the top until the cupcake tin was two thirds of the way full.


I had plenty of batter still, so I found some smaller pans and made 2 small layers of cake
(They were roughly 7" x 7"), then got everything in the oven.  The cupcakes baked in about 22 minutes, and the cake took a bit longer.  Before long, I had plenty of chocolate cake to get started frosting on.  I leveled the top of one of the cakes to create a flat base for the layers.


I made the frosting by making a homemade buttercream, using the same recipe from my Homemade Yellow Cake. I also made a second cake that I made a peanut butter buttercream frosting for


I frosted the cake with the peanut butter frosting, first on the bottom layer.  I added the top portion and spread some frosting on the top and sides.  Finally, I added some of the buttercream frosting to accent it and sprinkled some more grated chocolate on the top.


I used mostly the regular buttercream on the cupcakes as they already had a peanut butter filling.


The cupcakes and cake both turned out gorgeous, and my friends mom loved them!  I have the say that peanut butter filling worked out perfect.  It was like a surprise inside each cupcake.  The peanut butter frosting was just plain amazing, and I was so proud at how great these box cake mixes turned out.  They were rich in flavor and that heavy cream and chocolate made them supremely moist, and that filling technique will definitely be utilized in the future.  Birthday success!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes Recipe

Ingredients:

For the cake:
2 boxes chocolate gluten free cake mix (includes sugar, rice flour, cocoa, tapioca, baking powder, and salt)
2 cups water
1 cup butter
6 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated dark chocolate
1/2 cup peanut butter

For the frosting:
1/2 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons 2% milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the peanut butter frosting, swap 1/4 cup of the butter for peanut butter.

Instructions:

Beat cake mix, water, softened butter, and eggs in a mixing bowl for 2 minutes, until thoroughly combined.  Mix in heavy cream and grated chocolate.  Line 2 cupcake pans with papers.  Spoon some batter into each of the cupcake papers, filling them about 1/3 of the way.  Add in about a teaspoon of peanut butter, then fill with more batter until they are 2/3 full.  Pour remaining batter into two small cake pans.   Bake cupcakes for 18-23 minutes, and cake for 30-35 minutes. For the frosting, beat butter in a large mixing bowl with a mixer for 3-5 minutes, until it is light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract, beating between each new addition. Mix until the frosting reaches desired consistency.  Once cakes have cooled, add frosting and serve.

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