Sunday, May 24, 2009

Corn bread and chocolate cupcakes

For a friend's birthday party today, I made corn bread and cupcakes - both from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa at Home.

Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Bread

This was a kind of weird corn bread recipe, but it turned out delicious as usual. You mix the dry ingredients, then pour in the wet ingredients, which included milk, eggs, and melted butter. Then stir and add cheddar, green onion, and minced jalapeno peppers.

Because of all the milk and butter, the corn bread was really moist - moister than almost any corn bread I've ever had.

They were devoured at the party! I thought they went well with the tortilla chips and guacamole that my friend Julie provided.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

I've made these cupcakes before, but I thought I'd make them for my friend's birthday, given his love of chocolate and peanut butter.

The chocolate cake batter is one of the most delicious and most complicated baking recipes I've ever done. You make it in three parts: (1) creamed butter, white sugar, and brown sugar; (2) sour cream, buttermilk, and coffee; and (3) cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. You add (2) and (3) alternately to (1) in thirds.

Confused yet? It's worth it:

I don't love eating all batters, but this is a really good one. All the forms of cream make it really rich and moist, and the coffee is a common Ina Garten trick to bring out the chocolate flavor.

The cupcakes always turn out exactly like the book. To get the right proportion of batter to each cupcake, you use a standard ice cream scoop!

And then if the cake wasn't delicious enough, which it is, the peanut butter icing really puts you over the top. That's peanut butter, confectioner's sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt.

Mmm. These really disappeared at the party. The cupcakes are so soft and chocolatey!

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