Baking for Others: Cupcakes, Three Ways

EVENT: Jor’s 25th
DESSERT MENU: Chocolate Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream and White Pearl Sprinkles; White Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting and Turquoise Sugar; Yellow Raspberry Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

For my birthday, six weeks before Jordana’s, I received a copy of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s new cookbook, Rose’s Heavenly Cakes. It is beautiful and the cakes are beautifully photographed, and it’s full of dramatic and original ideas. Strangely enough, her first, and very famous, cookbook, The Cake Bible, might have been one of very few classic cookbooks my family didn’t own while I was growing up. I don’t know why it never sat on the shelf next to Nick Malgieri and Carole Walter. So I may be late to the party, but I’m a very eager guest.

Because Phoebe and I live in fear of the disastrous effects of having too few cupcakes (there were tears, believe me, at Phoebe’s 23rd birthday when I brought 2 dozen carrot cake cream cheese cupcakes and the birthday girl somehow missed out), I was intent on baking copious sweets for Jor’s. The cupcake recipes from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes make 16 per batch, and because they call for things like 1/2 tablespoon sour cream, I didn’t dare mess with the ingredient quantities. Instead of doubling, I simply made a third flavor of cupcake. But I wanted all three to be sufficiently different from one another. I spent at least a week’s worth of breakfasts flipping through the “Small Cakes” chapter, and here are the mixes-and-matches I came up with:

*Chocolate Butter Cupcakes with Coffee Neoclassic Buttercream and White Pearl Sprinkles

*White Velvet Butter Cupcakes with Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting and Turquoise Sugar

*Yellow Butter Raspberry Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream (the surprise champion of the evening)

Because you can find these recipes in Rose’s book, I’ll refrain from posting the first two here. Just take my word for it that these are very, very good cupcakes. However, I think my modifications of the yellow butter cake batter into a veritable PB&J Cupcake merit a post. Though I’d intended the cupcakes to be a step up from the childhood sandwich, trust Evan to revert to the elementary school years: apparently, he’s pioneered an icing-spreading method of eating cupcakes whereby he pulls apart the cupcake along its horizontal axis, affixes the bottom to the icing-covered top, and bites–first into a thinned layer of cake, next into icing, then into cake again. Next time, we’ll get a picture.

From my kitchen, a bona-fide cupcake factory, to yours,


a very happy twenty-five year old


Yellow Butter Raspberry Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

Makes 16 cupcakes
Adapted from
Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum

For the Cupcakes:

2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sour cream, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoon unsalted butter, at soft room temperature
3/4 cup frozen organic raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with liners.

Whisk the eggs with 3 tablespoons of the sour cream and the vanilla.

In a separate bowl–the bowl of a stand mixer if you have one–whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add the butter, cut into rough tablespoon-sized chunks, and the remaining sour cream, and, using your hand-held mixer or your very strong arm if you don’t have a stand mixer, beat this together for nearly two minutes. It will be quite creamy. Pour in the egg mixture in two parts, beating for nearly a minute after each. Fold in the raspberries, still frozen.

Distribute the batter among the liners (if your pan holds 12, remember you’ll be making about 4 more). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cupcakes bounce back when pressed lightly.

Cool completely before frosting.

For the Peanut Butter Buttercream:

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, at room temperature
scant 1/2 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temp
2 teaspoons sour cream
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a food processor, beat all the ingredients until very smooth and uniform in color. You can store the buttercream in the fridge, but use it at room temperature. It goes on very smoothly with a knife if, like me, you’re not into piping.

Posted in: Baking For Others
  • Kate

    I never would have put raspberries and peanut butter in the same cupcake, but it makes perfect sense! My birthday is only 9 months away, any chance these could get to the Mississippi Delta by then?

  • homecookedem

    Those cupcakes look amazing! I just heard about your blog on Ina's Food Network show!! :) Looking forward to reading more!!


  • Alex

    Even though I eat PB (no J) every day for lunch, I still think it sounds delicious translated to cupcake form. Mmmmm….

  • Suburban Sweetheart

    Great blog, guys. Would you imagine my 80-year-old GRANDMOTHER sent me the link to you?! My whole family is on my case to learn how to cook, especially because I turned 25 over the summer and can still only really make mac & cheese. Thanks for the inspiration and, of course, for the guidance!

  • Laura [What I Like]

    Sounds (and looks) delicious! The icing sandwich idea is possibly the most genius thing I've heard in quite some time. I always struggle with how to eat a cupcake without getting frosting all over my face and I think I've found my answer!

  • Unplanned Cooking

    Those cupcakes look perfect! We're making a cake today for our one year old's birthday. I want to buy that book The Cake Bible as this is new territory for me.

  • ceekay

    Hi…fellow blogger here. I saw Phoebe on Ina Garten's show and thought I would stop by. Wish I could have been there! Ina is a fav of mine! Your food looks yummy…

  • shayma

    oh my god, girls, are you trying to kill us? this looks amazing, cupcakes, THREE ways? *swoon*

  • TasteStopping

    Oh cupcakes. Why do you hold me so tightly in your delicious grasp? Usually, I'll visit a blog in hopes of finding a good story with one idea. This post has the story and three great ideas! Did anyone at the party admit to having one of each cupcake? Because that would have been me. Great job!


  • Christine

    I made the raspberry cupcakes and they were delicious! I'm not a baker in any sense of the word, so I'm curious whether swirling in some raspberry jam would be a good addition (or whether it would ruin the cupcakes)? I loved the raspberry taste, but would not mind if the cupcakes were even more raspberry-y!

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