If you read my post about the parties last week at our house, I’m sure you were wondering what I made for dessert. Because there is ALWAYS dessert.
Well, I made these:
And yes, those are EGAs on top. That is Eagle, Globe and Anchor. As in, the emblem of the Marine Corps. I called them motocakes because Marines tend to call things that are very hardcore Marine-y “motivating,” or moto for short. This can be good or bad. Marines who are over-the-top Marine-tastic are moto. I’m pretty sure the “The few. The proud.” headband I made (from a lanyard) for Navy football games was moto. And I think cupcakes with an EGA on top are moto. But they are also delicious.
Clearly you can make these cupcakes without a chocolate topper. Or you can make a different kind of chocolate topper, depending on who they are for. I had not made candies since elementary school, but the women at Annapolis Cake and Candy Supply told me how — and it is super easy. You just need to melt these things called “chocolate melts” (don’t use chocolate chips), pour them into a candy mold, tap it on the counter a few times and pop the mold in the fridge for about five minutes. That’s it.
I made the chocolates while the cupcakes were baking, then made the frosting while the cupcakes were cooling. Sorry I didn’t take photos of the cupcake-baking process, but it is the same recipe I’ve used for two cakes here before. It is a super-moist cake and goes very well with the peanut butter frosting. And, as an added bonus, you’ll only need one bowl.
Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes (Cake adapted from Smitten Kitchen, frosting from Barefoot Contessa at Home) Makes about 3 dozen cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process, if possible)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set the eggs and sour cream out on the counter to come to room temperature. Place cupcake liners in a muffin tin.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Whisk or use electric mixer to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk (or use mixer) to blend.
Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed (it will be very thin). Fill cupcake papers about 3/4 full.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for at least five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Peanut butter frosting (Adapted slightly from Barefoot Contessa)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups creamy peanut butter
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Carefully mix on low speed (some powdered sugar will likely escape) until mixture is combined, then turn up to medium and beat until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula occasionally. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.
***I recently started putting my frosting in a large plastic bag, cutting a big piece of the corner off and piping it onto the cupcakes. But you can just use a butter knife if you prefer.***
Optional: Chocolate candy toppers
1-2 bags dark chocolate candy melts (don’t use regular chocolate chips)
Carefully melt the chocolate, either in a double boiler or in the microwave. (In the microwave, cook for 30 seconds, stir, then cook for 15 seconds at a time, stirring each time, until chocolate is melted). Pour the chocolate into the clean candy mold. Tap mold on counter to eliminate bubbles and smooth backs of chocolates. Refrigerate for five minutes or until firm.
Carefully pop candies out of mold and place one on top of each frosted cupcake.