The ultimate showdown. Who will be crowned the focus and who will be left a mere accent. I have met very few people in this life who do not love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. I will never fully understand their taste buds and don’t desire to. I prefer to live in a life where the sweet and savory combination of legume and bean tantalize the senses. This combination can be done in so many ways and it was my ambition for this bake to figure out which is best. Should chocolate run the show with peanut butter being it’s lovely assistant, or should peanut butter take over with it’s trusty side-kick chocolate?
To test this I decided to focus on the extremes. I went for the focus and accent method by joining the cupcake flavor with the buttercream and the filling with the drizzle. The chocolate peanut butter cupcakes consisted of a chocolate cupcake filled with a peanut butter sauce topped with a chocolate buttercream drizzled with peanut butter sauce and a sprinkling of chopped peanuts. The peanut butter chocolate cupcakes started with a peanut butter cupcake filled with chocolate ganache adorned with peanut butter buttercream and drizzle of ganache and chopped peanuts.
These cupcakes were all about reuse. I was able to use the chocolate ganache for the drizzle, filling and to flavor the buttercream. I also made my own peanut butter so that I could flavor it with some honey. I was then able to use it in the cupcakes, buttercream and the sauce. I only had to make one batch of buttercream, split it in half and add the two flavorings. So my time in the kitchen for this experiment was able to be optimized. Although, I can’t say that I ended up being out of the kitchen any faster than usual. I think I just like it in the kitchen so I work slowly to savor the moments with my Kitchenaid. Next time I will have to tell myself that there will be a next time and it is ok to work faster or share the workload. I think a “promotion” may be in order for my trusty dishwasher.
I ended up pretty darn proud of the look of these cupcakes. There are definitely improvements that can be had, but the end result was just like I’d imagined. They contrasted each other well in looks and made for a fun taste test. There were elements of each cupcake that I ended up liking better. Brett liked the batter for the peanut butter cupcakes much better than the chocolate but flipped that preference post-bake. This was probably due to the fact that the peanut butter cupcake was very dry in comparison to the chocolate. There were so many nuances between the cupcakes that I had to toss it to the people for some market research.
I put a poll up on Instagram asking which people would choose based on looks. They ended up choosing the peanut butter chocolate and I can’t blame them. The contrast of the peanut butter frosting to the chocolate ganache looked so inviting. They may also have been intrigued by the peanut butter base as this combination is usually dominated by chocolate. I can only conjecture on that though as I did not ask them to relay their psyche.
In the end it was the chocolate peanut butter cupcakes that won the taste tests. Although I am still not convinced it is the best combo out there. This is mostly due to the fact that I LOVED the peanut butter buttercream. I wanted the peanut butter chocolate cupcakes to win based on that sole fact, but I think the moistness of the chocolate cupcake out-weighed the tastiness of the frosting. I also think that the chocolate buttercream was surprising to people as it had a mousse-like taste but was super light.
So many options I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give an absolute answer on which parts make the best whole.
Maybe next time I will fill the chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream or peanut butter sauce. Then
top it with peanut butter buttercream and drizzle it with both chocolate ganache and peanut butter sauce!
Oooo that sounds good… please excuse me while I go make some more cupcakes!
P.S. Thanks to the taste-testers and kitchen helper!