I recently received Crescent City Cooking by Susan Spicer as a gift. My taste tester decided to try out her recipe for Chocolate Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing, but used the batter to make cupcakes instead of a full on cake. He made them while visiting family in Chicago, but was kind enough to bring one all the way back to NJ for little ol’ me.
He even mixed both the cake batter and icing by hand – that’s dedication. This cake is super moist and full of chocolate chips and don’t even get me started on the cream cheese icing… wow. It’s so moist and the flavor is just perfect. I even forgot the vanilla extract when making it myself and it was just so rich and not overly sugary or buttery like most icings are.
Two tips when making these:
My taste tester really did a fantastic job making these. The only tip I gave him was to mix the chocolate chips into the batter before the flour is fully incorporated to keep them from sinking to the bottom of your cupcakes. Or if you forget to do this before the flour is all mixed in, coat the chocolate chips with a bit of flour before mixing them in and you will get the same effect.
For the icing, I would recommend sifting the sugar, though it didn’t say to in the original recipe. It is a colored icing and you will notice white chunks of powdered sugar if you don’t sift. Also, it’s pretty worthless to pipe the icing with fancy tips so I’d recommend just slopping it on with a butter knife or small spoonula. It doesn’t hold it’s shape so well.
I’m including the recipe, but I highly recommend picking up this book. Though this is the only recipe we have yet to try from it, the selection of recipes is so different than most of the books we have. Really fantastic stuff and not pretentious like a lot of “fancier” cookbooks can be. For example, she developed this recipe for a newspaper article on the Easy-Bake Oven. How cute. I didn’t bake mine in an Easy-Bake Oven but it’s nice to know you can!
Recipe (with minor modifications) after the break.
Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing
from Crescent City Cooking by Susan Spicer (buy this book!) – pg. 332
Makes 8-10 servings, or 18 cupcakes
2-1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 pound plus 4 Tbsp (1-1/2 sticks) butter for greasing
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
chocolate chips or sweetened dried banana chips, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans or line cupcake tins with paper liners.
2. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk together the banana, vanilla, and buttermilk in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well mixed.
3. Add the dry ingredients and banana mixture to the butter mixture in three alternating stages (dry, wet, dry), ending with the dry. Fold in the chocolate chips.
4. If making a cake: Divide the batter between the pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until springy in the center. Allow cakes to cool in pans for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen cake, then invert to release cake. Cool completely on wire racks. Spread icing between the layers, and on the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, if desired.
4. If making cupcakes: Fill each cupcake liner almost all the way full, leaving 1/4 inch at the top of each and bake for about 19 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then invert to release. Cool completely on wire racks. Spread icing on each cupcake and garnish with chocolate chips or sweetened dried banana chips.
Cupcakes should be kept in the fridge, but taste better at room temperature so take em out a few minutes before devouring.
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing
Makes about 2-1/2 cups, enough for 1 two-layer cake or 18 cupcakes
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1-1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Cream the peanut butter and cream cheese in a mixer with the paddle attachment, scraping the sides once or twice, until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar gradually. When completely incorporated, add the vanilla.