Saturday, August 27, 2011

Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

The peaches here are absolutely delicious right now. They might be the best I’ve ever had. I ended up having a simple Peach Melba salad for breakfast one day, and it didn’t need any intervention by other ingredients to be heavenly.

I also made these peach cupcakes with a brown sugar cream cheese frosting from Smitten Kitchen.

I couldn’t find Tofutti cream cheese at the grocery store that day, so I bought real cream cheese. It therefore wasn’t lactose-free, but since I was giving some away to welcome a new neighbour (and therefore not eating the whole batch), I figured it was worth it. I made a half-recipe, which is still about 14 cupcakes, so that’s how I’ll present it below. I ended up with 12 cupcakes and one ramekin cake, which I ate without frosting – it was great, and would work well as a muffin (perhaps, as Debbie from Smitten Kitchen suggests, reducing the amount of sugar and swapping some of the flour for whole wheat, and throwing in a handful of pecans if you so wish). The cakes were light and airy, with good chunks of peaches every once in a while. The Engineer said they had a great crumb. I found these cupcakes better at room temperature, but given the Texas heat, I had to put them in the fridge to keep the frosting from melting.

For the cupcakes (about 12 to 14)
1 ½ cups cake flour (which I actually had in the house, thanks to the Engineer’s baking odyssey)
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
good pinch of nutmeg
¾ stick (6 Tbsp or 3 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature, or cold margarine
6 Tbsp granulated sugar
6 Tbsp dark or light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk, sour cream or full-fat yogurt (I used ½ cup 0% lactose-free Greek yogurt and topped it up with 2% lactose-free milk to get ¾ cup)
1 or 2 large peaches, peeled, cored, and chopped smallish (I went for a 1/3-inch dice)

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners (and grease a ramekin, just in case).

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.

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.

For the Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
[Note from the Smitten kitchen: “Cornstarch? Let me explain: Quick buttercreams and cream cheese frostings are generally made by whipping fatty ingredients (butter, cream cheese, yes please) with powdered sugar. Powdered sugar works in a way that granulated sugar does not because it is mixed with cornstarch, which both keeps the sugar from clumping in its packaging and thickens the frosting. Brown sugar is not only more damp than granulated and powdered sugar, it’s missing that cornstarch thickener, so I added some to help the frosting set up. It’s still a bit thinner than traditional cream cheese frosting, but the flavor leaves the stuff you’re used to in the dust. And for me, that’s all that matters.”]

½ cup + 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 8-oz package of cream cheese (or equivalent), at room temperature
¼ cup (2 oz or 4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature, or cold margarine
¼ tsp 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.


Anonymous said...

For the first time in years, we've found decent peaches in Montreal. Every year we try, but this year we found a nice basket of Ontario peaches. They're not as good as the ones we had when we were last in Toronto, but still pretty good. Hopefully this is a sign of better fruit to come!
On the other hand, cherries have been great and I just froze 4 pounds of cherries and dried another 6 pounds (it dried to less than 1 pound).

Amélie said...

Oh yeah, I didn't even get around to cherries this year... I'll have to buy some to snack on next week at the grocery store! Did you cook them before you froze them?

Anonymous said...

Nope, no cooking before freezing. Hopefully they'll be ok!

They were blanched before they were dried, though.