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Peanut Butter Cup-Cakes Revisited

Peanut Butter Cup-cakes
Adapted from Food Network
Makes 12 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup real mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk

Frosting:
3 egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 mini peanut butter cups (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat mayonnaise and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract and beat to combine. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Pour batter into prepared tin, filling each cup about 2/3 of the way full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly touched, about 18 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. While cupcakes are cooling, make frosting: In a medium heat proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water on the stovetop, whisk together egg whites and sugar until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, but not too hot (about 160F).
6. Remove from heat and transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip egg white mixture until stiff peaks form and the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch, about 7 to 10 minutes. (Mixture will have the consistency of melted marshmallows.) Reduce speed to low and switch to the paddle attachment. Add butter, a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase the speed to medium-high, and continue beating until frosting becomes thick and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. (It will break apart and look curdled at first, but keep beating. It will all come back together. If it still looks a bit soupy after several minutes, place mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill and try again.) Add vanilla and salt and beat until well combined.
7. Divide frosting in half, placing half in a separate bowl; set extra bowl aside. Add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to the remaining frosting and beat until well combined and fluffy. Transfer to another bowl and set aside.
8. Place the plain frosting you set aside back into the clean mixing bowl and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Beat until well combined and fluffy.
9. Place peanut butter frosting in one side of a large piping bag fitted with a round or star tip, and place chocolate on the other side. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Cut mini peanut butter cups in half and place on top.

*Note: Or you could just skip the swirling altogether and make a peanut butter/chocolate frosting from the start, adding both ingredients to the bowl at the end of step 6.
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