full tilt end of summer: peach cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese frosting

Today is our 28th wedding anniversary, a day off and a day outside that feels like a nice fall day.  So the windows are open and I'm taking a little time to write.  It's that crash into the end of summer time of year.  Last week Sara and I spent 20 hours in the car for two great trips:  one to visit my BFF Susan in Bloomfield Hills to go to the most amazing Coldplay concert ever (plus a stop at mind-blowing Zingerman's in Ann Arbor) and one with Greg at the wheel (thankfully, it was a quick turn) to Chagrin Falls to visit my family before Sara returns to Duke next week (another 20 hours on the road, but this time in my trusted black beauty 9-year old Honda van full of college apartment/dorm goodness).  Plus it's Sea Wheeze week in Vancouver, CA for the first ever lululemon half marathon so things at work have been a little crazy with a few lucky co-workers running the race today and enjoying Vancity the rest of the week.

So now you know where I've been and where I'm going but the real wrench in the writing plan has been the Olympics.  Good lord, we've been pulled in every night staying up until 12:30 watching whether we've managed to go news-free all day or not.  It's exhausting, but so fun.  Nothing like the happiness, release and sheer joy for the medalists.  Just watching in wonder from my chair and a half.  Sure I could move my computer and write, but it's only two weeks. One would imagine they are the last Olympics I'll watch with one of my children so there are no apologies.

And now I'll finish this post four days after I started it because that beautiful day we were given for our anniversary just pulled us outside.  Two farmer's markets, lunch outside at Petit Chou, long walk with Greg and Sara, tennis with Tammy, time out on the chaise lounge chairs on the back patio and a really top notch anniversary dinner at Late Harvest Kitchen.  Then it was back to work and now it is pack the van for our trip to return Sara to Duke for her sophomore year.  So really, I still don't have time to write this but I just have to get a post out this week.  One post a week is as wrong as one yoga class a week, but we do what we can.  Hang in there.  Soon the nest will be empty and I'll be back on the two or three posts a week plan.

Pretty sure I've never posted a cupcake recipe before.  I usually leave the cupcakes to the professionals. I'm more of a muffin girl.  But who really can resist a recipe for brown sugar cream cheese icing on a peach cupcake.  Peaches are by far my favorite fruit.  Pretty sure they push my seasonal allergies over the top (there are foods that tragically are not compatible with allergies), but short of an epi pen incident, I'll just keep loving them.

Peach Cupcakes

3 C cake flour (I used 1 1/2 C cake flour and 1 1/2 C white whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
3 T King Arthur Flour cake enhancer, if using (makes cupcakes moister and lengthens freshness)
3/4 C unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C light or dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C buttermilk
3 large peaches, peeled, pit removed and cut into 1/4-inch dice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 muffin tins with papers.
Whisk together flour (s), baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg (I like to freshly grate mine with my fine rasper, but jarred is fine) and cake enhancer, if using; set aside.  In a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.  Beat in buttermilk.  Add the flour mixture and stir just until combined.  Fold in the peach chunks.  Scoop batter into cupcake pans with liners.  Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.  Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan then turn them out and cool completely on a wire rack.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Icing

3/4 C light brown sugar
4 T  cornstarch
1/2 C (or more, if needed) powdered sugar
one 8-ounce package of light cream cheese
4 T unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

Whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch and powdered sugar in a small bowl and set aside.  In a stand mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Stir in vanilla extract.  Beat in dry mixture until well-combined, adding more powdered sugar if necessary (it's ok if it's a little thin, it will set a bit when chilled).  Chill the icing for about 30 minutes to thicken it to spreading consistency.  Frost cupcakes as desired (pipe it on, spread it on or whatever you like).

Makes 24 cupcakes

cupcake ingredients

dry ingredients and buttermilk 
fresh out of the oven

all iced and delicious
our 28th wedding anniversary "portrait"  


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