Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sweet Peanut Cupcakes

A touch of nostalgia today. Who remembers Sweet Peanuts, the crunchy peanut sweets that you can buy from traditional sweet shops by the quarter...or 113g in new money! These delicious cupcakes recreate the taste of times gone by...a lovely light sponge with a touch of peanut flavour, fluffy frosting with crunchy peanut butter running through it and some peanut brittle to finish. This all sounds extremely peanut-y but it's actually rather subtle.
The recipe comes from The Hummingbird Bakery's Home Sweet Home Book which you can check out in my book reviews section. The original recipe has chopped Sweet Peanuts on top but I decided to add a bit of pizazz by using shards of peanut brittle. The brittle is extremely easy to make, all you need is caster sugar and some peanuts, see the recipe below. You can see what the Sweet Peanut version looks like below. Personally, I think the chopped Sweet Peanuts are the least attractive option but they do have the added benefit of being bite size so they can easily be eaten with a mouthful of cupcake and they are very tasty this way, so it's a trade off between style and taste per bite!
Believe it or not this is the first time I've used peanut butter in baking. I know other bakers and bloggers are big fans and I have to say I'm a convert...the flavour as mentioned was very subtle and I loved the crunch, it certainly added an extra dimension to the cupcake!
You may be aware that last week was National Cupcake Week which celebrates these enormously popular treats. I hope you've been baking up a storm!

To celebrate National Cupcake Week the theme for this month's Calendar Cakes is...Cupcakes! We've had lots of lovely entries so far and we'd love to see your creations. You can still enter your cupcakes here until 30th September. Calendar Cakes is a monthly baking challenge which is hosted  here at Laura Loves Cakes on alternate months with Rachel at Dolly Bakes. These Sweet Peanut Cupcakes are my entry for September.

70g unsalted butter
210g plain flour
250g caster sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
210ml whole milk
2 large eggs
40g crunchy peanut butter


500g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter
50ml whole milk
30g crunchy peanut butter

12 sweet peanuts, chopped for decoration

Peanut brittle

175g caster sugar
50g peanuts

To make the cupcakes, start by preheating the oven to 170c/150c fan/gas 3. Also prepare the muffin tin by lining with cupcake cases.

Making the sponge is nice and easy, you just need to combine the flour, sugar, butter and baking powder and salt in a large bowl, mixing until it forms a bread crumb-like texture. Then mix the eggs and milk in a jug. Once mix add half of this egg/milk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine on a low speed until smooth. You can then add the rest of the milk and egg and you should end up with a smooth batter with no lumps. Finally, add the 40g of peanut butter and thoroughly mix through.

Use an ice cream scoop if you have one and fill each cupcake case two thirds full. This recipe should make between 12-16 cupcakes. Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden and the cake bounces back when lightly pressed. Once done remove from the oven and leave in the tin for around 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

To make the frosting, mix the icing sugar and butter together until they are thoroughly combined. Gradually add the milk and mix on a low speed. Finally, turn up the mixer speed and beat until the frosting is really fluffy, it can't be overbeaten! Then add the peanut butter and mix well.

For the finishing touches, pipe the frosting on top of the cool cupcakes. I used a 9mm round nozzle. You can then finish with either a whole sweet peanut, roughly chopped sweet peanut or some peanut brittle.

If you want to make peanut brittle. Put the caster sugar into a heavy based saucepan and heat gently without stirring until the sugar has melted. You can then turn the heat up slightly and the sugar should start to caramelise. You are looking for a light amber colour, any darker and your sugar may have burnt. When it is ready, add the peanuts and stir briefly before pouring out the brittle onto a piece of greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Leave to harden and set and then when completely cool you can break the brittle into pieces. Please be extremely careful as the sugar can easily burn and it is also extremely hot and can cause injury if it comes in contact with skin!

* Recipe adapted from Home Sweet Home by the Hummingbird Bakery

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Calendar Cakes - September

Well September is upon us again and the summer days are drawing to a close...but there is something that can't fail to cheer you up...a gorgeous cupcake! Every September National Cupcake Week is celebrated and this year it falls between 16th-22nd September.
When cupcakes first arrived on the scene they were dismissed as a flash in the pan but several years later they're still here and as popular as ever. So in case you haven't guessed, this month's Calendar Cakes challenge is:

Last September's challenge was also cupcakes but they were so popular we've decided to do it all over again. So go crazy with flavours and frostings and show us your favourite cupcakes. You can check out last year's entries here. To enter please follow the guidelines below and add your cupcake to the linky :-)

To see the August entries head on over to Dolly Bakes where the theme was Summer Lovin'.
Entry Guidelines:
  • Post your entry on your blog and include the ‘Calendar Cakes’ logo
  • Add 'Calendar Cakes' as a label on your post.
  • Follow Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes blogs using the Google Join this Site button.
  • Add links on your post to your hosts Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes.
  • Link to your blog from here using the Linky tool below. It's dead easy...
  • If you don’t have a blog you can still join in, just email us a picture and a bit of information about your bake. Email to
  • If you're on Twitter, tweet us a link to your post @dollybakes and @lauralovesbakes - otherwise we won't see it! Use the handle #CalendarCakes.   
Calendar Cakes Challenge Rules:

  1. You can enter as many times as you like.
  2. It can be your own recipe or one you found elsewhere (please just state where you found it). 
  3. You can use old posts as long as you update them with the 'Calendar Cakes' logo and link back (see above).
  4. If you want to enter your bake into other challenges too then please feel free.
  5.  You must submit by the 30th September.