Crunchy Peanut Cupcakes
This recipe comes at a special request from my husband. He said that I don't make enough peanut/peanut butter desserts. My response was that I generally don't like peanut butter desserts (please don't gasp!) I just find them usually very sweet and heavy. I can only take a few bites of any peanut butter confection before I feel overwhelmed. And when it comes to dessert, I need something that I can eat more of. So I thought about it and the only peanut dessert that I couldn't get enough of came from a Chinese bakery. Taipan bakery to be exact. It's a chain in New York and I grew up eating their cakes and buns. But they have a case of mini cakes, I guess they are kind of Chinese petit fours, and this peanut cake was one of them. A light and fluffy peanut cake, frosted with a thin, silky layer of buttercream and coated in crushed peanuts. Not too sweet and not too heavy, it was the perfect amount of peanut flavor without being overwhelming. This is my perfect Crunchy Peanut Cupcake!
This recipe uses oil, which to me creates a lighter and fluffier cupcake. You can see how bouncy this is! It's a simple recipe that separates your ingredients into your wet and your dry. The dry ingredients go into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. They get lightly mixed together. Then in a large measuring cup carefully whisk together the buttermilk, peanut butter, oil, eggs and vanilla. It takes some time to get that peanut butter mixed in, but don't worry, it will! Then with the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. Then slowly add 3/4 cup of water.
This batter is very very loose, nothing like traditional cupcake batter. But fret not, they will come out perfectly!! Carefully pour your batter into lined cupcake tins and bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool and make the topping!
I modeled this topping from the whipped cream/butter that you find in traditional Chinese bakeries. The buttercream that they put into their buns is buttery, creamy and smooth, without a lot of sugar. This has a much higher butter to sugar ratio, but still tastes amazing! In the bowl of a stand mixer mix the butter with the powdered sugar and peanut butter. It's not going to look like a lot of frosting but you don't need much just enough to adhere the chopped peanuts to the top. Lightly spread the frosting over the top of the cupcakes and along the sides of the top to ensure an even coverage of peanuts. (I reserved a bit of frosting to pipe over top as decoration, but this is optional) Once frosted, dip the cupcake into the chopped peanuts. Pipe a small dollop of frosting on top of this and place one peanut on top.
These cupcakes truly remind me of the small petit fours from Tai Pan bakery that I loved so much. Soft, Fluffy, and not too sweet. Try these and let me know how you like them!
Crunchy Peanut Cupcakes
Yields 2 dozen cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup water
For the Topping
- 1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted butter, softened
- 4 tbsp Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup peanuts, crushed
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt an electric mixer low speed until combined.
- In a large measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, peanut butter, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
- Slowly Pour the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on low till they're combined.
- Pour the batter into lined cupcakes tins a little more than half way full (I like pouring the batter into a large measuring cup to help make this step easier)
- Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then place on a wire rack.
- While they cool make the frosting by creaming the butter in a stand mixer.
- Add in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Then add in the peanut butter and beat until smooth and fluffy. Approx. 3 minutes.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting over the top of the cupcake, making sure to also frost the sides of the tops. Then gently dip the tops of the frosted cupcakes into the crushed peanuts to coat.