I am very fortunate to work in an office where we celebrate birthdays with delicious treats. It was my turn to bring in the birthday goodies and as I considered what to bring, I knew it had to please the masses. Meet my friends chocolate and peanut butter. Chocolate and peanut butter are so heavenly together it’s a wonder we ever have one without the other. You can’t go wrong with the classic chocolate cupcake with peanut butter icing.
While birthdays are made for enjoying all the good things guilt free, our company has recently embarked on a wellness program. I also happen to work with a group that is pretty health conscious for the most part. I decided I would keep the integrity of the cupcake, but do what I could to make it a healthier version. The results tasted as sinful as they could be, but everyone could feel just a little bit better about the indulgence.
Now before any of you scold me, I have made it very clear I am not much of a baker. Furthermore, I find homemade cake to come out dry more often than not. I am pretty sure it’s my fault, but give me a box of cake mix and I can assure you I will put my stamp on it. I won’t even glance at the directions on the back of the box. I am going to label this method as “not quite from scratch.”
1 box of Devil’s Food cake mix (I love Duncan Hines)
3/4 cup of water
1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce (it must be unsweetened as it is taking place of the oil in the cake)
1 tbsp of brewed coffee (this is a secret you can use in most any chocolate recipe. It brings out the true flavor of the chocolate)
Now this is where it gets a little complicated… not really, I just wanted you to consider how I could further complicate a box cake mix. Put everything in a large mixing bowl and beat on low speed about 30 seconds.
Fill your cupcake liners. I use foil ones because they are less likely to stick and just to be sure, I spray them with a squirt of cooking spray. Remember there is no oil in the recipe.
Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes and allow to cool completely.
The Peanut Butter Icing
There isn’t a whole lot I could do here, because this icing makes the cupcake, but once again I did what I could to trim the calories and fat.
1 cup of smooth peanut butter (I use Jif Reduced fat and there is no difference)
1 cup of powdered sugar (you may need a bit more depending on the humidity in your kitchen so keep it near by)
1/4 cup of fat-free 1/2 and 1/2
4 tbsp of unsalted butter
1 tsp of vanilla
Put all of the ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or use your hand mixer. Start out slow or you’ll have sugar on the ceiling. Let the mixture come together. You may need to add another splash of milk or more sugar depending on how it comes together. You want a moderately stiff, but creamy mixture (see photo).
Now, I chose to pipe my icing on. You do not have to be “Cake Boss” to do this. You can purchase a cake decorating set relatively cheap that has everything you need for simple cake decor. This makes it special. Your cupcakes look more elegant this way. Just use your largest star tip. Put it in the bottom of a disposable pastry bag and slowly, applying light pressure, make your way around the cupcake. I also garnished mine with mini chocolate chips. You could use mini Reese cups too.
These were a hit at the office and unlike some other versions I have had, not as calorie laden. I would trade this cupcake for the fuller fat versions any day.