Do you ever experience recipe overwhelm? Like, how many different ways are there to make chocolate cupcakes? Obviously, as a certified Type A lunatic, I envision myself finding 20 recipes and testing them all side by side because I want to be sure I found the best one. How can you just randomly point your finger into the ether and choose a cupcake recipe if you haven’t taste-tested it alongside all its competitors? (Maybe you’ve seen the Crate and Barrel commercial with Reese Witherspoon testing cranberry sauce recipes? So relatable.)
Most recently, I wanted to find, as I mentioned above, a great chocolate cupcake recipe. I searched the internet as one does, and I found a million options all with beautiful pictures. But how could I tell which ones actually looked pretty and tasted good? Obviously I couldn’t without trying them all, so I did what I generally do in these situations. I defaulted to my food hero, Ina Garten, who I trust implicitly with all recipes. If Ina said it was good and went to the trouble to put it in her cookbook, then I trust that she did all the testing for me, and I will love it.
Ina did not disappoint me! Her chocolate cupcake recipe was just the right amount of moist and tender, crumbling easily as you cut into it. The chocolate flavor was rich and delicious thanks to ample cocoa powder and Ina’s go-to secret ingredient, a little bit of coffee. Peanut butter frosting was, shall we say, the … icing on the cake? I can think of a million flavor combinations that go well with chocolate, but this frosting was classic – sweet and creamy, and if you like a chocolate peanut butter combo, then it’s right up your alley. (I’ll never understand people who don’t like chocolate and peanut butter. I don’t trust them.) If you happen to be this kind of person, however, I can imagine an amazing strawberry or raspberry frosting, or maybe a peppermint? Maybe you could do a classic chocolate frosting? Don’t let me hold you back. At least I have the actual cupcake recipe figured out now, and I see no need to pursue other options.
The only snaggle I ran into with this cupcake is that my frosting didn’t turn out as silky and creamy looking as Ina’s. She specifies that she uses Skippy peanut butter, and I used an all natural version, so this may be the culprit. Although it doesn’t look as pretty as her pictures (definitely a downside), I was still so happy with the flavor that I don’t see myself changing. (I have no desire to buy a jar of Skippy peanut butter just for one cupcake recipe. My guests will just have to make do with slightly chunky frosting.)
I had a very legitimate reason for testing chocolate cupcake recipes this week. I have signed up to make the cupcakes for my own baby shower. Yes, the hosts offered to get a cake or whatever I wanted, but I never get a chance to make cakes or cupcakes. I just kind of wanted to do it. As a two-person household, making an entire batch of anything is kind of a lot to have lying around, and neither of us wants to be the person who ate all the cupcakes. So I generally just never make them. Making cupcakes kind of requires a special occasion, and regretfully there aren’t nearly enough of these! In this case, for testing purposes, I made a half batch, and this recipe was extremely easy to adjust. It made 7 giant cupcakes, but I probably could have made 8 more reasonably sized cakes instead.
As you know, one never brings a single cupcake flavor to an event, so this weekend I’ll be testing lemon blueberry cupcake recipes. Ina doesn’t have a recipe for these, so I’ll be surfing the web and debating between all the options I pinned on Pinterest before committing, and then we’ll hope for the best!
Ok, I’ll let you know how that goes, but in the meantime, here is a link to Ina’s recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting. Enjoy!!