One of the first famous chefs I cooked recipes from was Ina Garten. My mom’s way of cooking almost always involved half recipe, half make-it-up-as-you-go. But she faithfully followed (mostly, usually) Ina’s recipes when she used them. Her book brought me comfort when I moved to Boston, and realized how much I didn’t know about cooking. Her recipes helped me when I moved to California and didn’t really understand the versatility of avocado. She taught me how to make a grocery list, for God’s sake! (Which by the way, I split into five categories: dairy, produce, meat, freezer, shelf.) Ina, to me, is equal parts perfectly snooty (calling for good olive oil in many of her recipes) and realistic (her recipes usually can be made with only little preparation of specialty ingredients.)
Anyways, so when I’m busy and need to cook something, I know I can trust Ina’s Barefoot Contessa At Home to help me make something delicious and easy. So when Scott asked me to make him stuffed shrimp for his birthday, I knew that I needed a dessert that would be quick.
Ina’s Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Icing was the recipe I needed.
A recipe that starts with two sugars can’t ever be bad.
And butter. Butter makes everything better.
Some eggs. Like I said: the usual suspects.
Add some sour cream to your buttermilk.
Give it a whisk.
Now we’re going to sift our dry ingredients together.
Is that some cocoa I see? Yes, it sure is…
Sifted. Ready to add.
Now we’re getting somewhere.
We’re going to add our buttermilk mixture and also our flour.
Hi Cricket’s legs! Thanks for taking photos!
Look how delicious that looks. Time for cupcakes.
Delicious. Now, I took a break and iced them the next day, since by the time these were done it was late. But let me tell you, they were sure lookin’ like they were ready to be eaten at this point.
Let me also say this: I didn’t give them huge tops, since the red velvet disaster of 2011. In Ina’s book, they have a little more top to ’em. That said, this recipe told me it’d make 14 or 15 cupcakes. I ended up with 26. Be warned.
Frosting: peanut butter, butter, sugar, vanilla, heaven.
Serve with candles to the birthday boy/girl. Enjoy!
**Thanks to Cricket for the photos of the cupcake making process – your help in the kitchen is always delightful. **