Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Brown Butter Peaches ‘n Cream Cupcakes

I really love summer, but I’m starting to miss baking. Turning the oven on when it’s a thousand degrees outside is hardly an exciting prospect — and besides that, the few free moments I find to myself are either spent taking a second to relax, or doing one of the trillion house projects I have. This has been a splendid summer, every second of it filled to the brim with goodness, but it seems like there’s always far more to fit into each day than a measly 24 hours allows. So I’ve let the baking get away from me, and I’m starting to feel the void.

A few of weekends ago, I volunteered to make a birthday cake and some celebratory bridal shower cupcakes, knowing I could use the time in the kitchen. When I’m away from it for long enough, it’s almost like I can feel an equilibrium shift. Something about the act of baking centers me, like riding my horse, or taking a long bike ride. It’s methodical and familiar, and something I can always count on. Those hours in the kitchen were a much needed reminder that it’s a happy place I need to visit more often, and I was endlessly grateful for a couple of occasions to use as an “excuse” to get back in there.

Chocolate Layer Cake - Sweetly Serendipity

Chocolate Layer Cake - Sweetly Serendipity

The birthday cake, pictured above, came out beautiful to look at, but I wasn’t wild about the taste and texture of cake itself. The chocolate frosting, however, was heavenly, and I plan to try the whole combo again at some point, sans the sprinkles I folded into the cake batter in an effort to make the cake more appealing to a 3 and 9 year old. The cake went over well, but being a bit of a self-critic in the baking department, I wasn’t thrilled. Good, but not great.

Peaches and Cream Cupcakes - Sweetly Serendipity

Fortunately, the peaches and cream cupcakes totally made up for the mediocre cake. I made them at the beginning of the week, knowing I wouldn’t have enough time to fill and frost 18 cupcakes and a 3-layer cake all at once later that week, so I froze them as soon as they were cool, and only thawed them when I was ready to frost and serve. The cupcakes thawed into a goopy mess, and I was worried they were too soggy to handle easily, but it was too late to turn back so I just went with it and hoped for the best.

Peaches and Cream Cupcakes - Sweetly Serendipity

The verdict? These are some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever made. No joke. Every bit of them was delicious, from the cake to the filling to the frosting. The peach flavor is multidimensional, with peach puree in the cake batter and frosting, diced peaches baked into the cake, and fresh peaches folded into the cream cheese filling. The resulting cupcake is indeed very moist, but manageable, and I served these a touch chilled which I think helped tremendously. Everyone at the shower raved about them, and I was pretty happy with them myself. It certainly helps that we’ve had the most magnificent peach season this year — I’m putting them into everything I can! If you’ve got any lingering peaches hanging around, I highly suggest you give these a try. I think I’ll be making them again, but serving them fresh to see if makes a difference at all in the texture.

Peaches and Cream Cupcakes - Sweetly Serendipity

In other news, it has come to my attention that I am the proud owner of a producing apple tree. When I bought my house in June, I found out that there was an apple tree in the backyard. You’d think that perhaps I would have discovered this fact prior to buying the house, but if I’m being honest, I actually bought the house without seeing the backyard, basement, OR the upstairs (where all of the bedrooms and the one finish bath are)! I saw it about a week after I had my ACL repaired, and was barely hobbling around on crutches, never mind going up and down stairs or into backyards. I trusted my parents when they said it was nice, but it wasn’t until I had my home inspection that I actually got to see my whole property. At the time, it was unclear whether the tree was a crab apple, or a real apple tree, but now that we’re nearing apple season, it’s clear I have the real thing — a rather neglected, but still producing, scraggly apple tree. I’m not sure what variety of apples they are — maybe Cortland, maybe Macoun (more sweet than tart with a good crunch), but whatever they are, they’re pretty yummy! They also make lawn mowing an absolutely hellish endeavor, but that’s a different story for a different day.

Peaches and Cream Cupcakes - Sweetly Serendipity

For now, I’m just looking ahead to all of the baking projects on the horizon for this fall. I’m planning to make loads of apple goodies, and hope to actually stick to that plan and get some new recipes going around these parts! I may also share a few before and after posts about the new house, if I can get my act together. It’s gone through a tremendous transformation already, and I’m super proud of the progress even though I’m nowhere close to done. So I might do that. Or I might nap instead. I probably wouldn’t hold your breath 🙂

Brown Butter Peaches 'n Cream Cupcakes

Ingredients

    Cupcakes
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup peach puree*
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups finely diced peaches
  • Frosting
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup peach puree*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar
  • Filling
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup peaches, pitted and chopped (peeling optional)

Directions

    Cupcakes
  1. Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is browned, and brown bits are visible. It will have a nutty fragrance once browned. Remove the butter from the heat and pour into a separate heat proof bowl to stop the browning. Cool completely before proceeding.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, and line 18 cupcake tins with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown butter, peach puree, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger until combined. Mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until well incorporated, then fold in the diced peaches.
  4. Fill lined cupcake tins 3/4 full, and bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown and shiny on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cook in pans for 5-10 minutes, then remove from pans to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Frosting
  6. In a large bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in peach puree and vanilla until well incorporated. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time until your desired consistency is reached. (I added about 5 cups, which wasn't firm enough to pipe, but worked great for spreading.)
  7. Filling
  8. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the sugar, cream, and vanilla, and continue beating until light and fluffy. Fold in the chopped peaches.
  9. Assembly
  10. Cut a hole in the center of each cupcake, either with a cupcake corer or a paring knife. You can either save the cupcake tops to replace later, or snack on them as you work!
  11. Fill each hold with a dollop of filling, and then replace cupcake tops, or frost right over the filling. Keep cupcakes chilled until ready to serve.
  12. *To make Peach Puree: dice 3 cups of peaches, and add to a saucepan with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon water, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm. Place peaches and juices in a blender, and blend until smooth. Let cool completely before use.
http://www.sweetlyserendipity.com/dessert/brown-butter-peaches-n-cream-cupcakes/



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