Peach Cupcakes with Mascarpone Buttercream
April 22, 2021
Does anyone else get that 90’s R&B song stuck in their head whenever you hear the phrase “peaches and cream?” Well if you are looking to be humming this song all day, bake these cupcakes. Even if not, make these if you just enjoy the flavor combination of sweet, juicy peaches with slightly fluffy cream, bundled up together into a bite sized treat. These vanilla and peach cupcakes are topped with a tangy mascarpone whipped cream.
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I generally reserve peach baked goods for the late summer, when the luscious ripe stone fruits appear by the bundle in our farm share delivery. But when you have a few cans collecting dust in the back of the pantry, there’s no need to wait for the right season. Bake up those peaches now!
The combination of the syrupy canned peaches and vanilla cake could have become an overload of sweetness, so I decided to match it up with some snappy mascarpone. It’s milder than cream cheese, but still adds a little something extra to your standard extra-sugary American buttercream.
What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for these peaches and cream cupcakes at your grocery store:
- Pantry: Flour, Cornstarch, Baking powder, Sugar, Brown sugar, Diced peaches, Confectioner’s sugar
- Spice Rack: Salt, Vanilla extract, Vanilla bean paste
- Fridge: Butter, Eggs, Greek yogurt, Milk, Mascarpone cheese, Heavy cream
- Equipment: Cupcake pan, Mixing bowl, Whisk, Stand mixer or hand mixer, Silicone spatula, Cooling rack, Piping bag, Star tip
Let’s Make Peach Cupcakes
Cupcakes are a true breeze to bake up and serve. I made these as a last-minute treat to bring to an afternoon gathering, and they were a total hit. Of course, how could anything with peach and mascarpone not be?
Before getting started, preheat your oven and line your cupcake pans with paper liners. This recipe makes twenty-four, but if you only have one pan that holds twelve, no worries. I’ll explain how to handle either situation.
One other pre-preparation step you can take is to take all of your cold ingredients for the cupcakes themselves out of the fridge. Working with room temperature eggs and milk makes for better cupcakes. These are easier to combine together, which means less chance of over-mixing.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Cornstarch is one of my favorites to add here. It makes for a more tender crumb in the finished cupcakes.
If you don’t have baking powder, you can substitute equal parts baking soda and cream of tartar in a pinch. Whisk everything together until it’s all combined.
Set that bowl aside, and then add your butter and both sugars into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Normally when I make cupcakes, I use only white sugar, but I like the addition of the brown here, since the flavor nicely complements the peaches.
Cream these together on medium-low speed until fluffy, which usually takes only a couple minutes. This allows the sugar to become evenly distributed, and it also helps to create tiny aerations in the butter. Again, this will help you get fluffier cupcakes.
Next, add in the eggs, vanilla, and yogurt, and mix until it’s all thoroughly combined. I like the use of Greek yogurt in these cupcakes. The slight tang helps to complement the mascarpone frosting. Plus, the extra moisture and fat in the yogurt will help with the texture of your cupcakes. If needed, you can replace it with sour cream.
Add the dry ingredients and milk into the butter mixture, and mix on low until just combined, and there are no large streaks of flour, only about one minute. When you are making cupcakes, you want to be careful not to overmix, as that can create tough and chewy cakes.
Turn off the mixer, and use a silicone spatula to fold in the peaches until distributed. The folding motion is a good way to incorporate the peaches into the batter, since you have better control over how much you are mixing.
I recommend using canned peaches that have been thoroughly drained. If needed, you can use thawed frozen peaches, removing any excess liquid. I would not recommend using fresh peaches in these cupcakes without first cooking them to soften.
Once the batter is all combined and ready, fill the cupcake wrappers in the pan to be about three-quarters of the way full. I can be guilty of overfilling my cupcake pan. One way to avoid this and to end up with more consistently sized cupcakes is to use an ice cream scoop or cookie dough scoop.
Bake for just over twenty minutes, with two trays on separate racks, switching halfway through. If you are using only one pan, place it on a rack in the center of the oven. Leave the second half of the batter covered and out of the sun while waiting to use it.
The cupcakes are done when they are golden brown on the top. Also, a toothpick inserted into the center of each will come out clean, and the tops will bounce back when you gently press on the center. I like to use all three methods to confirm, since sometimes the toothpick test alone can be misleading.
Let the cupcakes cool for at least ten minutes in the pan, and then carefully remove them and allow to cool completely on a rack. If you are using one pan, after you remove the first batch, run it under cold water to remove any residual heat. Then dry it, and re-line before filling and baking again.
How to Make Mascarpone Buttercream
While the cupcakes are cooling, it’s time to make the frosting! Even with the addition of mascarpone, this buttercream is super easy to make in your stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
You want the butter to be somewhat soft, but still firm enough to hold an indent if you press on it. For the mascarpone, pull that out of the fridge about fifteen minutes before you’ll be making the frosting, so it has time to warm up a bit as well.
Whip these both together in the mixer until they are fluffy and visibly lightened in color. The will take under five minutes on medium low speed. If you prefer a slightly tangier flavor, you can use softened cream cheese instead of the mascarpone.
Once it’s all fluffed up, start adding in the sugar. Do this over about four or five batches, allowing each batch to fully incorporate into the mascarpone and butter before adding the next. If your frosting is looking dry, or the mixer seems to be struggling, add in the cream as needed to create a smooth texture.
With the last batch of sugar, add the vanilla bean paste. If you want to add any color to your frosting (I used just a single drop of yellow gel food coloring), you can do that at this point as well. If you don’t have vanilla bean paste, use an equal amount of vanilla extract in the frosting instead.
Mix thoroughly until there are no streaks of either any color or of the vanilla bean paste. You will see little vanilla bean specks throughout, and that’s expected. You may need to add a bit more cream to reach a good consistency for piping. The frosting should mostly hold its shape, but peaks will curl gently.
Fit a piping bag with a large star tip, and place it into a drinking glass with the top of the bag draped over the edges. This will help you fill your bag without making too much of a mess. Once full, push the frosting down toward the tip to remove any air pockets.
Give the top of the bag a quick twist, and top the cooled cupcakes in a spiral pattern, beginning on the outside and working your way toward the center. When these are all frosted, you can enjoy them immediately or save some for later.
To make these ahead, store the cupcakes frosted or unfrosted in a sealed container in the fridge for a couple days. You can also freeze unfrosted cupcakes by wrapping them individually tightly in plastic wrap and foil. Thaw these in the fridge, and frost them before serving.
Peaches and cream is the perfect dessert combo! Try it in these super moist and fluffy peach cupcakes with mascarpone buttercream frosting.
How to Serve
As the weather is getting warmer, cupcakes are the perfect treat to bring along to a picnic, barbecue, or potluck. Since they come in their own wrappers, they are super easy to serve and eat, no matter what the seating situation may be like.
However, they are also cute enough to serve as the dessert after a lighthearted dinner party or for any sort of celebration. Pair them with a fresh and fruity drink, like a lemon raspberry mojito or watermelon daiquiri on the rocks. For something richer, try a birthday cake martini.
If you’re a cake-for-breakfast type of person, balance out the sweetness of a cupcake with some huevos rancheros. The mango-corn salsa is delicious with the peach flavor!
Use Up Leftover Ingredients
- I love using mascarpone to add a bit of body to whipped cream, like the topping on this strawberry rhubarb crumble.
- Greek yogurt adds a wonderful texture to all kinds of baked goods. Try it in butternut squash curry cornbread.
- The little specks of vanilla bean paste add plenty of character to the nostalgic cream cheese oatmeal cookie sandwiches.
Peach Cupcakes with Mascarpone Buttercream
- 2 Cups All-purpose flour
- ½ Cup Cornstarch
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 Cup Unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 Cup Sugar
- ½ Cup Brown sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- ½ Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
- ¼ Cup Milk
- 1 Cup Diced Peaches canned and drained, or frozen and thawed
- ¾ Cup Butter
- 12 Oz Mascarpone Cheese
- 4 ½ Cups Confectioner's Sugar
- ⅜ Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 ½ tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F with two racks in the center bottom and center top. Line 2 standard 12-cupcake pans with paper liners.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on medium low. Add in the eggs, vanilla, and yogurt, and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and milk into the butter mixture, and mix on low until just combined, and there are no large streaks of flour, only about 1 minute. Turn off the mixer, and use a silicone spatula to fold in the peaches.
- Fill the cupcake wrappers in the pan with the batter, each cup about 3/4 full.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, with one tray on each rack, switching halfway through. They are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, and the tops bounce back when you gently press the center.
- Let the cupcakes cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan, and then carefully remove and allow to cool completely on a rack.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together the butter and mascarpone until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes on medium low.
- Start adding in the sugar in 4-5 batches, allowing each to fully incorporate before adding the next batch. Add the cream as needed to create a smooth texture. Add the vanilla bean paste with the last batch of sugar.
- Add the buttercream to a piping bag with a large star tip, and top the cooled cupcakes. Enjoy immediately or save for later.
- If you only have one cupcake pan: You can make one batch at a time with a rack in the center of your oven. Leave the second half of the batter covered and out of the sun while waiting to use it. After you remove the first batch from the pan, run it under cold water to remove any residual heat, dry, and re-line.
- Make ahead tips: Store the cupcakes frosted or unfrosted in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Freeze unfrosted cupcakes by wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap and foil. Thaw in the fridge, and frost before serving.
- If you don't have vanilla bean paste, use an equal amount of vanilla extract in the frosting instead.
- Cream cheese can be used instead of mascarpone, but will have a tangier flavors.
- You can replace the yogurt with sour cream, for a more tart flavor.