Friday, February 10, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Baby Cakes

I don't like it when people use abbreviations or acronyms when they're speaking, but earlier today when I pulled these concoctions from heaven out of the oven and tasted one, the only thing I could mutter was OH EM GEE. I handed a steaming morsel to Don and he shared my sentiment.

Let me first say that today is my birthday (I am officially 30), and I wanted to make something special for us tonight. In my entire adult life, I have never baked anything from a box. I am a baking snob, it's true. All my clothes come from Target and I can scarf Velveeta cheese with the best of them, so I feel like snobbery in this one area is acceptable.

But today, I wanted to try something different. I found a recipe that uses packaged devil's food cake mix and instant pudding, and I added some saltiness in the form of my BFF, peanut butter, and chocolate covered pretzels, and the result was, well: OH EM GEE.

I am not kidding. These are the kind of thing you should only eat once a year, but when you do, you should savor every bite. I am torn between making the peanut butter icing I'd planned on piping over these baby cakes and decorating them with a single perfect chocolate pretzel, but I almost think it would be overkill. They are so good as they are. They aren't cupcakes. They're baby cakes. You should make these today.

William was in agony; I set the cakes on the table to cool and wouldn't let him have one.

Here is the original recipe, without the chocolate pretzels and peanut butter cups. Below is the way I made them.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Baby Cakes
yields about 18 cup cakes

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water (I accidentally omitted this, but I think it would make the cakes even more moist.)
1 cup chopped up mini Reese's peanut butter cups (the very tiny ones seen in the first photo)
1 cup chopped up chocolate covered pretzels

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.

2. In large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes. Whisk together so that the mixes are fully blended and any large clumps have been broken down. Add the sour cream, oil, 4 beaten eggs, and water and mix well. This is a thick batter, so make sure to check the bottom of the bowl so that all of the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed into the wet. Stir in the chopped pretzels and peanut butter cups.

3. Bake for 20 minutes, or until tops are springy and a dry spaghetti noodle inserted into muffin center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and top with peanut butter icing or leave plain.

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