So, what do you do when you are trying to not eat cupcakes but you are craving them so violently that it is effecting your day???
Cupcake A - found online and adapted to my taste
4 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2-3 cups icing sugar, until desired sweetness is reached (I tend to reduce this amount usually)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbs milk, if needed to reach desired consistency
1/3 cup (approx.) natural, unsweetened peanut butter
*NOTE: There have been some reports online that using natural peanut butter will cause the oil to separate in the icing after its been sitting for a while. I have not found this as of yet (They've now been sitting for 16 hours and show NO signs of separating. Plus, consider the amount of sugar that goes into these recipes, personally I think that using a sweetened peanut butter would end up sacrificing the peanut flavour and just adding more sweetness.
Cream butter and cream cheese together with electric mixer (I used my beloved Kitchenaid). Add vanilla and then gradually add in sugar until icing is smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Then gradually add peanut butter until desired taste is reached and mix in milk one tablespoon at a time if icing appears to be too dry (I didn't need any milk this time).
I made this version first and thought it was a winner. The taste is a perfect balance between cream cheese and peanut butter (seriously, what could be better??). Its a bit on the softer side because I didn't really want to add any more sugar to it. It was OK to pipe with once it chilled in the fridge for a while. However, once I compared it with the next recipe I was still confused because there is something nice about the purer peanut butter flavour in the buttercream version as well.
Cupcake B - The classic buttercream recipe with peanut butter mixed in
1/3 cup shortening, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 cups of icing sugar, I went with 3
4-6 tbs of milk
Cream shortening and butter together with electric mixer. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
This recipe was definitely the winner in terms of piping ability. You really can't beat the consistency that shortening brings to the table. However, it definitely had that traditional buttercream icing taste which wasn't necessarily what I was looking for alongside the peanut butter...but it was still divine!!
The taste test is happening all day today and I even have two extra-minis on my desk waiting to be compared after my lunch. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that....there was a method to my madness because baking and decorating the cupcakes satisfied the craving completely. I actually haven't eaten one yet.
I will report on any findings, but I think the moral of the story here is that you can't go wrong either way!!!
Sorry folks, no nutritional information here....you probably wouldn't want to know it anyway!!