Spiced Peach Cupcakes

Makes 24 to 28 cupcakes

For peaches:

1/2 -2/3 cup finely diced dried peaches – preferably ones that have no additional sugar content. Trader Joe’s sells “Just Peaches”, and that’s what I use.
1 Tablespoon dark rum, OR spiced rum, OR peach schnapps (optional)
1 Tablespoon (or more- I always go more) vanilla extract
IF NOT USING ALCOHOL – double the vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I use freshly grated, but that’s because I’m a hispter spice-snob. Reasonably new ground nutmeg is fine.)

Finely dice the dried peaches, or chop the heck out of them in a food processor.  You want little pieces that will mix into the cake batter well, not sink to the bottom immediately.  1/4 inch chunks are good.  Place in a bowl you can seal, add the rum, vanilla, and spices.  Seal the bowl and shake it until it begs for mercy to get everything stirred up together and soaking.  Or I guess you could use a spoon, if you wanted to be all fancy-like.  In any case, once everything is mixed, set the bowl aside for at least an hour or two, or overnight if you plan ahead that well.

For cupcakes:

3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks or 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark or light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) buttermilk, sour cream or full-fat yogurt
Soaked peach mixture

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line your cupcake pans with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars together, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition, and then the vanilla. Gently mix in the buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the peach chunks.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes for five minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Frost with Spot of Trouble Brown Sugar Frosting

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