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.