More is More: Decadent Poundcake Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Peanut butter cupcakes
There are those people who say that pound cake is a dessert that needs no garnish, rich and decadent as it is on its own. 

I am not one of those people, however, so when I recently prepared the pound cake recipe featured on the absolutely amazing Smitten Kitchen site, while the cakes (which I baked in cupcake-cups) were absolutely delicious, I couldn't help but feel that it was a beginning, not an end: they needed something serious--no delicate fruit toppings here, please--to balance out that lightness.

And what could be more decadent than topping an already-buttery cake with peanut butter buttercream frosting?

Peanut Butter Frosting
Happily, I had just received a sweet sample pack from Superior Nut which included a decadent peanut butter dessert topping (think peanut butter, but sweeter and with the consistency of a thick hot fudge), which was easily incorporated into a batch of buttercream which was then used to frost the baby-poundcakes; it was all topped off with some sea salt and roasted peanut chunks. The result? Astoundingly sweet, rich, and satisfyingly salty cupcakes which prove that while sometimes less is more, sometimes more is best.  

Want a piece of this awesome? Here's how I did it:

Peanut butter cupcakes
Poundcake Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Frosting


For the Cake: For a light and versatile poundcake, check out this recipe on Smitten Kitchen; I made my batch with two major changes: first, vanilla extract was used in place of cognac; second, they were baked them as cupcakes instead of one large cake (this reduced the baking time by about 5-7 minutes). It made about 15 cupcakes. Some of them were a little bit short, but extra frosting compensated quite nicely.

For the Frosting: I doctored up a batch of Magnolia Bakery's famous buttercream:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 to 6 cups confectioners’ sugar (less than in the original recipe, since the Peanut butter topping was sweetened)
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Superior Nut's Peanut Butter topping (or, I'm sure you could make due with a similar amount of lightly melted peanut butter or other nut butter, but you might want to add a little more confectioners' sugar)
  • Optional: Sea salt and Roasted Peanut Chunks for garnish

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of the sugar and then the cream and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes). After incorporated, add the peanut butter topping to the mix and put back on low speed until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency; you might need to add a little extra sugar but probably not. Do not refrigerate this frosting, or it will become a brick; it can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Finally, enjoy. These cakes were brought to CakeSpy buddy Dave's birthday party, and apparently had the birthday crowd in a sugar coma even the next day.