As you may or may not know, it was the Mrs the Monarch’s birthday this week thus my stint as guest blogger today. Now, I don’t know much about baking (eating is another thing but baking not so much) but dang it, the Mrs the Monarch needed a birthday cake so it was time for me to step up to the plate...or mixing bowl as it were and get down to business.
Step one involved getting the Mrs the Monarch to choose the cake she wanted. A feat not without peril. I mean the choices are endless. Chocolate cake, cheesecake, devil’s food cake, angel food cake, upside down flint rubble double bubble cake. Ah the dilemmas! In the end peanut butter and jelly cupcakes won the day (Thanks Martha).
So, let’s get down to business. First things first I had to banish the Mrs the Monarch to a day lounging in bed reading and watching movies. This is a crucial step when cooking with the Mrs.the Monarch. When you cook like she does, there is a fair amount of tut-tutting when my more chaotic style of baking comes into play (though I will still state to this day that it was on fire when I got there!). She’s got the mad skills, I’m just....mad I guess.
So, after preheating the oven to 375 I was off to the races.
First I whisked together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and stuck it to the side. Then with the mighty mixer I creamed the butter and sugar together (apparently with the wrong attachment but live and learn). Then I mixed in the peanut butter, and eggs (one at a time). Then came the vanilla and I slowly started mixing in my flour mixture (which made far more of a mess than I care to admit). Added sour cream and peanuts and that was that!
Put everything into cupcake tins (3/4 full) and bake for 22 minutes. Now, to make sure that everything is cooked through they say to stick a toothpick in to make sure it comes out clean. I don’t like toothpicks in general. It makes too big a hole in my opinion. I use a dry piece of spaghetti . Tiny hole and if things aren’t quite done I just break off the wet part and poof! Brand new pokey thing!
Then came the icing. Martha Stewart has a mighty good peanut butter icing recipe. I think I could eat that by itself. Here’s the deal:
6 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup creamy peanut butter
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup heavy cream (which pound for pound is really not any heavier than any other cream as far as I can tell)
1. Beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until it’s all pale and fluffy. Add the salt & peanut butter and mix it all together (sort of sounds like the Hokey Pokey at this point), then add the vanilla.
2. In another bowl whisk the cream until medium-stiff peaks form. Fold the cream into the peanut butter mixture and that’s the end of that.
When the cupcakes come out of the oven they look nice and golden. Very friendly looking I think. Then comes the icing. This is when I discovered the trick to making all those cupcakes look so nice and round on the top. It has nothing to do with the cupcake like I always thought but instead you just keep adding icing until the bloody thing is round! I SO like the way they think! Then I made a dent in the top of each cupcake with a teaspoon, added some strawberry jelly and voila! Peanut butter and jelly cupcakes! I tried (eventually unsuccessfully) to make a little heart shaped indentation for the Mrs the Monarch’s birthday cupcake but in the end it turns out the jam likes to escape if you don’t stick them in the fridge right away. So, my birthday heart turned into more of a birthday blob but the thought was there. The spirit is willing even if the skills are weak!
The Mrs the Monarch got her birthday cupcakes (and despite the fact that I am the one writing the blog today I swear she is just fine!) and I got to bop around in the kitchen and use every bowl and utensil we own...and do the dishes afterwards. I am SUCH a well trained baker to be. Who knows, since I did the dishes, maybe the Mrs. will let me use the kitchen unsupervised again. If so I’ll be sure to keep you posted but in the meantime, repeat after me: “It was on fire when I got there!”, “It’s SUPPOSED to look like that” and of course “It’s not burnt...it’s BLACKENED!”
Note: Cupcake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart "Cupcakes". Blogging by the Monarch. Still off this week lounging and reading - the Mrs. the Monarch.