We have some really incredible locally-produced honey here in Tennessee. We pick up a giant jar of raw dark wildflower honey at the Farmers’ Market every few months or so, and use it in everything from tea to salad dressings to baked goods. I swear, once you buy some really good pure honey, you will never go back to the cheap-o store stuff (yes, I’m talking about you, Mr. Bear).
A few weeks back I made a chocolate cake, and the cake recipe I used included honey in the batter. Which I didn’t think much of until we were eating it that night. And you know what? You could actually taste the honey. It was a delicious complement to the richness of the chocolate itself.
So I took that idea (as I often do), and downsized it into cupcake form. Mixed in some roasted peanuts (because as a child who would choose a pb & honey sandwich over a pb&j anyday, I knew they were a perfect match), and topped it off with a subtly sweet and buttery rich honey buttercream. Yum. The honey adds an unexpected note of sweetness and depth of flavor to these cupcakes that you can actually taste in the final cake (surprisingly it does not bake out). Not to mention that since honey is naturally moisture-loving, these are some of the moistest cupcakes you will ever eat. To put it concisely, these cupcakes are all-around scrumptious.
Granted, Taylor has never been a fan of peanut butter and cake in the same bite, and while I had hoped that the ground peanuts would differ from simply adding peanut butter, I still think he would have preferred these sans-peanut. But I am sure he won’t put up a fight when I ask him to help me finish off this batch. I mean, cake is cake, right?
Chocolate Honey Cupcakes with Roasted Peanuts and Honey Vanilla Buttercream
Makes 12 cupcakes.
3/4 cup soy milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, finely ground
2 large egg whites
3/8 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 cups (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
Whisk together the soy milk, oil, sugar, honey, and vanilla extract until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix in peanuts. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in soy milk mixture. Stir until just smooth (do not overmix).
Pour into liners, filling each with 3 tablespoons of batter (cups should be no more than 2/3 full). For mini cupcakes, fill each with 1 tablespoon batter. Bake 18-20 minutes (or 10-12 for minis), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
To make buttercream, combine the sugar, honey, and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, 7-10 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like melted marshmallow cream. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk on high speed until mixture is completely cooled and stiff peaks form, about 6-10 minutes. Add butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, on low speed, mixing well after each addition. If at any point mixture looks separated or curdled, stop adding butter. Increase speed to high and beat until mixture smooths out again. Reduce speed, and continue adding remaining butter. Beat in vanilla and food coloring (if desired). Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.
And now on to the giveaway portion of this post! A few weeks back, I was contacted by the fine folks at Chef’n looking to collaborate on a giveaway here on this blog. While I didn’t immediately recognize the company name, I did recognize (and regularly use) a few of their products. Chef’n is responsible for a number of fun, unique, and out-of-the-box kitchen tools, designed to solve many common kitchen conundrums. In fact, I had had a set of their SleekStor™ collapsible measuring cups (in the most gorgeous teal blue) on my wishlist for some time now. When your drawer space is limited, every little bit counts.
So when they offered to send me a set, along with some other baking goodies, how could I say no? And the best part of it all is they have agreed to send a second set of baking gadgets and goodies to one lucky Love & Olive Oil reader!
Up for grabs is one Chef’n Gift set. Included in the prize are 1 set of SleekStor™ collapsible measuring cups (in your choice of 6 colors – Curacao shown above), one Switchit™ All-Purpose spatula and one Switchit™ Spreader spatula (again in your choice of colors – Arugula and Radicchio shown above), and one set of 3 multi-colored Nesting Mixing Bowls.
TO ENTER: simply leave a comment on this post by midnight (cst) on Saturday, March 13th. Only one entry per person. I will randomly select the winner first thing Sunday morning. Prize will be shipped to the winner directly from a Chef’n representative. Giveaway is open to all readers – US and abroad!
You can also get yourself a BONUS entry by twittering about this giveaway, sharing it on facebook, or mentioning it on your own blog. Simply leave an additional comment with a link to the tweet and/or blog post. One bonus entry per person (multiple tweets won’t get you multiple bonus entries).
Be sure you enter a valid email address, because if your name is drawn and I can’t get ahold of you, I will choose an alternate winner. You may also want to add me to your address book (lindsay AT loveandoliveoil DOT com) for good measure, I’d hate for your congratulatory email to end up in the spam folder.