So the wedding countdown is on and boy, am I stressed! I know, it’s not my wedding. But considering how much I care about it, it might as well be.
I mean, this is my big sister we are talking about. She might be a little bit of a loon 😉 but what she wants, I want to give her. Especially since she is letting me bake her wedding cupcakes! The word, “letting” is wrong though. I feel like that implies that she was hesitant or doubtful. Not true at all! Christine believes in me like crazy and it is so refreshing and uplifting. I wanted to bake her wedding cupcakes and she was ecstatic to give me the opportunity. I really don’t know where I would be without having her around to encourage me. You see, Christine has a beautiful soul. Both my sisters do. It is weird, because nobody would ever say that about me. And I am okay with that! I just don’t… At least not in the way that they do. I am like this obsessive, rational, and results-oriented person and that does drive my personality. It can make me slightly pessimistic and anal about things. But Christine and Julie are like unicorns.They poop rainbows and sweat sparkles. I am not even going to explain that. You just gotta know em!
I wouldn’t be in the career I am today if it wasn’t for Christine. I told her when I was a senior at UW that I was not going pursue my dream of becoming a school counselor because everyone I had talked to in education said it was really hard to get hired. They told me that because there are only a few counselors per school and some schools don’t even have counselors, that I would always be looking for work and struggle to be hired.
You know what she did? Well first, she called me an idiot because she is my big sis and it is her right to say so. AND THEN she said that if I wanted a job, I could get a job. That it doesn’t matter what the odds are and if they are against me or what other people say. She told me that if I want to be something or get somewhere, I will. She was so certain and so matter-of-fact, that I just had no choice but to agree with her. So I applied to grad school, got the internship of my dreams with a mentor I will professionally worship for the rest of my life (partly because of her connections), got hired full-time before I graduated with my Master’s degree, and then got another school counseling position at a different school when I wanted a change after two years. So yeah, I don’t tell her this to her face ever, but she was right. I guess she has to read my blog now if she wants to know how much I owe her for my entire career…
So yeah, Christine has this trusting and confident way about her that allows her to trust me with things like the dessert at her wedding for 200+ people. She never questions me about what I will do or how. She just knows I got this. Even though… the biggest order I have ever done is my own wedding. Which was 200 cupcakes for 80 people (I overdid it a bit). I will say though, that was three years ago so I have improved a lot in that time. I have also found better recipes and methods for quick and delicious baking. So in order to make sure that my sister gets the wedding cupcakes that she deserves. I will be rehearsing the cupcakes for the next three months. Mini tastings for friends and families. In other words, I am going to kill two birds with one stone: bake wedding cupcakes for get-togethers and events so I can practice and feed people dessert!
Right now, we have decided on 4 flavors.
- Chocolate peanut butter (Matty and Christine both love Reeses’)
- Lemon Raspberry
- Mint chocolate chip (mostly because her wedding color is mint)
- Yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting (Matty’s favorite)
I don’t love that half the cupcake bases are chocolate so I am playing around with chocolate cupcake recipes to see if one of them works better as a more dense, almost brownie-like cupcake. I like variety.
The one cupcake that is a shoo-in though is the chocolate peanut butter combo. I still had some fine tuning to do, but it wouldn’t be Matty and Christine’s wedding without a little pb and chocolate. So when Almita’s dog Bernard had his 1st birthday party and I offered to bring cupcakes, Almita was a doll enough to intuitively suggest chocolate peanut butter cupcakes for the hoomans.
So the chocolate cupcake recipe I want to use for this one is the Black Magic cake recipe that is hugely popular. You might remember, I am a huge fan of the cliche, “Don’t fix what’s not broken”. This recipe is moist, chocolately, and easy to make. That is important when you want at least 100 cupcakes from this recipe. They don’t dry out after a day like some chocolate recipes do because it doesn’t use butter or melted chocolate. I prefer cake recipes that utilize oil because I don’t really like dense cupcakes. A dense cake is fine. But a cupcake, you should be able to unwrap it, then bring it to your mouth and take a bite, without the entire thing crumbling apart on your hand or making a giant mess.
As for the filling, I was struggling to figure out if I wanted a real peanut butter ball made to bake in the center or just pop in a Reese’s mini cup. I thought about trying both and seeing what people liked better, but I realized that because I need so many cupcakes, it doesn’t make sense to take the more complicated and costlier approach when I KNOW that the bride and groom would love to get a Reeses’ peanut butter cup in the middle of their cupcake.
I was a little disappointed that the peanut butter cup sunk and stuck to the paper a bit. Only problem and I don’t want to change the recipe because the taste was spot on. In the future, I will use the aluminum cupcake liners and set the pb cup on the batter right before baking.
The frosting- my go-to absolute favorite peanut butter frosting. Heaven. People love this stuff and I use it on my peanut butter jelly cupcake too. If the consistency isn’t right, it doesn’t pipe smooth, but over time I have figured out how to get the perfect consistency. The brand of peanut butter plays a part in this. I like to to use Jiff. My tip is just to add a little bit of milk at a time at the end until you get a nice, smooth finish on the frosting. Also, sifting the powdered sugar and using the whisk attachment on the KitchenAid really helps.
I am not sure how I want to decorate them. It is between leaving them alone, chocolate sprinkles, chocolate drizzle, or mini chocolate chips (I didn’t realize I was out of them at home). Any opinions on this? Please tell me in the comments if you think one looks better than the other!
So these are all ready to get sampled by Christine and Matty as well as a few of our friends tonight. I already ate one… I really couldn’t help it. Yeah, I ate it for breakfast. Well, I mean, I had to cut one in half to show you the peanut butter cup in the middle! I can’t describe in words how decadent and moist it was. I initially was going to wait to eat it until I made another cup of coffee. I couldn’t even wait for the Keurig to spit out a quick cup. It is perfectly rich. I can’t wait to share them!
Chocolate Peanut Butter (Reeses) Cupcakes
(Makes 36 cupcakes, very easy to cut recipe in half!)
Black Magic Cake
(very very slightly adapted from the back of the cocoa box)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk (I made my own with whole milk and a TB of lemon juice)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot strong black coffee
- Preheat oven to 350 and prep 36 cupcake liners.
- Sift all dry ingredients into one large bowl.
- Add the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and stir well.
- Add the hot coffee and stir until combined.
- Using a glass measuring cup, pour the cupcake batter (very liquidy) into the cupcake liners, only filling about 2/3-3/4 of the way up.
- Unwrap 36 Reeses Minature PB cups and carefully place them in the middle of the cupcakes.***
- Bake the cupcakes for ~13 minutes. They bake faster than most cupcakes because their center doesn’t need to bake up.
- Let cool before you try to take them out, they are so moist and fluffy, they are a bit fragile when hot.
***Don’t push them down as they bake better when they don’t sink all the way to the bottom. My mistake was unwrapping each cup one by and one as I put them in the cupcakes. They will sink less, the less time they have to reach the bottom so it is better to put them in all at once and then bake right away!
Peanut Butter Frosting
(adapted from Taste of Home magazine)
- 2 8oz packages of cream cheese (let them sit at room temp for a couple hours first)
- 1 1/2 cups of peanut butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 3 cups of sifted powdered sugar
- 2 TB of whole milk
- Using a stand mixer and whisk attachment, whip the cream cheese in the bowl until it is somewhat smooth. Add the peanut butter and whisk until well combined. You will need to scrape the bowl down a couple times.
- Add the vanilla extract and the pinch of salt.
- Slowly add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until well combined.
- Add one TB of milk at a time, until proper piping consistency is achieved.