September 13, 2009

Summer Peach Cupcakes


I had such high hopes for these... I first saw these cupcakes posted on Smitten Kitchen a couple weeks back, and thought daily about them ever since.  Even though I know keeping two dozen cupcakes around the house is never a good idea, at least not for my waistline, I decided the fleeting days of summer was a good enough excuse to give myself the go ahead. A cake made of summer goodness and topped with a brown sugar cream cheese frosting- nothing else would prove a worthy substitute.  

Upon tasting these cupcakes however, my dreams were shattered.  What was advertised as a moist cake, turned out to be dry and surprisingly flavorless.  (I know what some of you might be thinking, but no; I was very careful not to over mix the batter.)  Maybe the peaches I used weren't quite ripe enough?  I did intentionally use a firmer fruit with the idea that a softer one might fall apart in the mix upon baking in the oven.  The real star of this particular cupcake was the frosting.  It was sublime.  (I will most definitely be adding this to my recipe repertoire.  Right now I'm thinking of pairing it with some sort of pumpkin flavored treat... Stay tuned for that!)  The recipe for this frosting is unusual as it calls for a generous amount of corn starch.  The recipe on Smitten Kitchen explains that its purpose is to thicken the icing since brown sugar is a more "damp" sugar as compared to granulated or powdered sugar (which already has corn starch incorporated into it).  However delectable this frosting may be, the intense richness of it overpowers the delicate flavor of the peach.  Actually, the peach seemed more like an after thought here.  I had to actively try to taste it.  Maybe a juicer peach would have imparted a stronger flavor? 

However,  I don't think this recipe should be completely cast aside.  With a few modifications, these could actually make for a pretty tasty muffin.  My suggestions are posted below in green.  

Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting
Recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

Makes 24 to 28 cupcakes

3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks or 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark or light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) buttermilk, sour cream or full-fat yogurt
3 large peaches, peeled, cored, and chopped smallish (I went for a 1/3-inch dice)

Suggested ingredients for muffins:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (in place of cake flour)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped pecans
Make sure to use a ripe and juicy peach!

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 28 muffin cups with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars together, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition, and then the vanilla. Gently mix in the buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the peach chunks. (Chill the batter for at least 30 minutes. The cupcakes- or muffins - will rise much better.)

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes for five minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch and powdered sugar. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the sugar-cornstarch mixture and vanilla, beat until frosting is smooth and light. Chill the bowl in the refrigerator until it thickens back up a bit, about 30 minutes, then spread or dollop on cooled cupcakes.

1 comment :

  1. I want to try these just for the icing!! It looks yummy.
    Your pictures look fabulous!