Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

By Shiran

Fudgy and moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a satiny, luxurious cream cheese peanut butter frosting.

Moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a creamy peanut butter frosting | prettysimplesweet.com

I’m warning you, guys, these cupcakes are too good to be true. According to Erez, these are the “best cupcakes [I’ve] ever made.” Then, just 2 minutes later while he was grabbing a second one (so not like him!), he told me they were the “best cupcakes [he’d] ever tasted”. As much as Erez is the type to give compliments, if he doesn’t like something, he’ll be honest about it (even when he shouldn’t…), so you can take his word on this.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

In almost every cupcake recipe I’ve posted so far, I’ve mentioned my mixed emotional history with cupcakes. I used to not like them much, thinking they were only pretty treats without much flavor or substance. One time, when a customer requested some for an event, I sighed. All my attempts of convincing him to back off from the idea failed, and he left me with no other choice than going into the kitchen and baking cupcakes like crazy. It became my top mission.

My first few attempts ended in failure. Pounds and pounds of butter and sugar were ultimately thrown out. The kitties were happy, but I wasn’t. Although I eventually served cupcakes that I was proud of, they were still far from perfect (and I hope my customers don’t read my blog).

Moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a creamy peanut butter frosting | prettysimplesweet.com

A couple of months later, I found myself in New York City. For some, the city of dreams; for me, the city of cupcakes. Seeing such a huge variety of tastes, textures, and colors opened the door to a whole new world – one that I had seen from afar, but finally understood.

Let me make this long story short. I came back home, motivated to try baking cupcakes again after requesting (i.e., demanding) some tips from a few of the bakeries I visited, and baked until I was finally able to get the result I was looking for – not too sweet of a frosting, not too dry of a cake, and flavorful as can be. Mission (finally) accomplished.

The first cupcake I tried that I really loved was this one, a combination of chocolate and peanut butter. I love adding cream cheese to frostings because it gives a slight tang that perfectly contrasts the sweetness of the sugar. In this specific frosting, there isn’t much sugar anyway since the peanut butter makes it thick enough. However, once in a while you will find me sneaking in some extra peanut butter.

Moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a creamy peanut butter frosting | prettysimplesweet.com

This is my favorite chocolate cupcake batter, and I like to play with the recipe sometimes by replacing the milk with buttermilk or additional hot water, or using oil instead of butter for extra fluffiness and moisture. For a more cake-like cupcake, though, I like to use the creaming (butter) method.

Moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a creamy peanut butter frosting | prettysimplesweet.com

Other delicious options (plus some tips):

  • Fill cupcakes with chocolate ganache (to make a ganache, melt 6 oz. chocolate and ½ cup heavy cream in the microwave).
  • Drizzle cupcakes with caramel sauce.
  • Top cupcakes with pieces of peanut butter cups.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of instant coffee granules in the hot water to enhance the chocolate flavor.
  • Place one mini peanut butter cup in the middle of each cupcake: Fill cupcake cups halfway with batter, place peanut butter cup in the center, and pour the rest of the batter on top.
  • Use an ice cream scoop to fill the cups more easily.
  • Fill any empty cups in the tin halfway with water for even baking.

 

Chocolate Peanut butter Cupcakes
Yields: 16 cupcakes
 

Fudgy and moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a satiny, luxurious cream cheese peanut butter frosting.
Ingredients
Cupcake Batter:
  • 1⅓ cups (185 g/6.5 oz) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (50 g/1.7 oz) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick/113 g) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 g/7 oz) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk
  • ½ cup (120 ml) hot water
Frosting:
  • ½ cup (1 stick/113 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ¾ cup (185 g/6.5 oz) creamy peanut butter
  • 4 ounces (113 g/4 oz) cream cheese, slightly softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (120 g/4 oz) powdered sugar, sifted, plus more as necessary
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. On medium speed, beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Beat in the milk until combined. Add the other half of the dry ingredients and beat slowly until combined. Add hot water and beat just until combined. Do not over mix – the less you mix, the lighter the cake will be. The batter should be liquid-y.
  4. Divide batter evenly between cups, filling them about ¾ full. Bake for 15-20 minutes (or 8-10 minutes if making mini cupcakes), until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Allow cupcakes to sit for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. For the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, peanut butter, and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in vanilla and salt until smooth and fluffy. Add more sugar as necessary until desired consistency (thick enough to pipe). Frost cupcakes once they’ve cooled.
  6. Because of the cream cheese frosting, cupcakes should be stored (covered, in an airtight container) in the fridge. They’ll keep for 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  7. Unfrosted cupcakes can be kept tightly covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw, still covered, on the counter or overnight in the fridge.

 

25 Comments on Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

  1. Winnie
    November 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm (2 years ago)

    These cupcakes sure look SUPER DELICIOUS !!
    My favorite combination – PB+chocolate
    My mouth is watering just looking at these fabulous photos

    Reply
    • Shiran
      November 5, 2014 at 4:07 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you Winnie! This is my favorite combination, too!

      Reply
  2. Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen
    November 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm (2 years ago)

    These look fabulous! I love peanut butter – on top of a chocolate cupcake? Yes, this is my kind of dessert. Pinned!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      November 6, 2014 at 3:55 am (2 years ago)

      This is my kind of dessert, too 😉 Thank you Kristi!

      Reply
  3. Megan
    January 29, 2015 at 4:33 pm (2 years ago)

    Have you made these with unsweetened dutch cocoa powder? Could it be made using the dutch version? I am unable to find natural cocoa powder in any store. Thanks for the help!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      January 30, 2015 at 7:02 am (2 years ago)

      Hi Megan! This substitution would affect both the flavor and texture, still, Dutch-processed cocoa powder will work here (use the same amount), just make sure to substitute the baking soda in the recipe (that was needed for the acidity of the natural cocoa powder) for 2 teaspoons baking powder.

      Reply
  4. Riana Arun
    February 5, 2015 at 8:32 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Shiran,
    I cant believe I’m trying out more and more of your recipes despite the fact that I’m trying my best to stay away from all these yummy deserts and cakes!!Hats off to you for pulling out these recipes !
    I have a gathering coming up this weekend and so decided to whip up your gorgeous chocolate cupcakes- I always do a test trial if I’m going to do it large scale. So I baked a batch and they turned out awesome. Now the truth is I’m too lazy to work with the frosting part even though that sounded delicious. I decided not to frost the cupcakes,but at the same time realised that the cupcakes could be a tad sweeter. How much sugar do you suggest I add to the amount mentioned?I added coffee too,to enhance the flavour.Do help me out here!!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      February 6, 2015 at 7:27 am (2 years ago)

      That’s so sweet of you Riana, thank you so much! Do you plan to frost the cupcakes with a different frosting? You can make a simple mascarpone whipped cream which is a very simple frosting, or the frosting from these cupcakes which is also quick and and easy. If you don’t want to frost the cupcakes at all, and you don’t think they’re sweet enough, then you can add up to 1/4 cup sugar. Let me know if you need anymore help and enjoy the gathering 🙂

      Reply
      • Riana
        February 13, 2015 at 10:53 pm (2 years ago)

        Thank you so much Shiran for your help . The cupcakes turned out gorgeous and had just the right amount of sweetness . Thanks a lot again . Next time , I will give the frosting a try !!

        Reply
        • Shiran
          February 15, 2015 at 10:45 am (2 years ago)

          No problem Riana! It’s my pleasure 🙂

          Reply
  5. Megan
    February 8, 2015 at 6:00 pm (2 years ago)

    I did end up making these with the dutch cocoa powder and your suggestion, and they turned out great! Nice and moist, great flavours with the icing. I think next time I will add the instant coffee to the cupcake batter to enhance the flavour. Thanks for your tips and a great recipe!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      February 9, 2015 at 5:36 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you Megan! I’m glad it turned out great! 🙂

      Reply
  6. Kristy
    February 24, 2015 at 1:47 am (2 years ago)

    Would these work as a cake as well? My daughter loves the look of these, but wants a traditional cake for her birthday!
    Amazing recipe! Thank you

    Reply
    • Shiran
      February 24, 2015 at 4:06 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you Kristy 🙂 If you want to make a chocolate cake, I highly recommend using the cake batter from this recipe. If you don’t want a 2-layer cake, you can just bake it in a single pan (baking time will be longer – about an hour). Then, make the peanut butter frosting from these cupcakes and frost the cake. It should be enough for a 1-layer cake, but if you want more layers, maybe you should make more of the frosting. Happy Birthday!

      Reply
      • Kristy
        February 24, 2015 at 4:40 am (2 years ago)

        Thank you so much! She is going to be thrilled!

        Reply
  7. Angela
    March 27, 2015 at 5:40 pm (2 years ago)

    Good grief – I just made your cupcakes and can’t believe how great they are – especially the peanut butter frosting. This is definitely going to be a favourite from now on. I am making caramel sauce to drizzle overtop as well. Fantastic recipe – thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      March 29, 2015 at 4:39 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much Angela! These are my husband’s favorite cupcakes 🙂 Caramel or salted caramel will be amazing with these!

      Reply
  8. The Fair Kitchen
    June 11, 2015 at 8:37 pm (1 year ago)

    I’ve seen a lot of cupcakes already, but Shiran, your cupcake recipe stole my heart. Maybe your images really helped a lot, because they are really good and tempting. THUMBS UP! Capslock. 🙂

    Reply
    • Shiran
      June 13, 2015 at 5:51 am (1 year ago)

      Thank you so much! 🙂

      Reply
  9. Pam
    May 24, 2016 at 5:08 pm (4 months ago)

    What if I don’t use whole milk? Will that effect the baking?

    Reply
    • Shiran
      May 27, 2016 at 11:21 am (4 months ago)

      Hi Pam, you can substitute it with water, and use 1 cup of hot water in total. The cupcakes taste delicious this way too!

      Reply
  10. Mara
    June 22, 2016 at 12:46 pm (3 months ago)

    Hi Shiran! This recipe looks absolutely delicious! I can’t wait to try it out! I’d like to add espresso and melted semi-sweet chocolate to the batter to give it a more intense chocolate taste (I add those ingredients to my brownies). How much espresso and chocolate chips do you recommend I add? Thank you! =)

    Reply
    • Shiran
      June 24, 2016 at 1:54 pm (3 months ago)

      Hi Mara, the amount of espresso is really up to you, you can add as much as you like, but make sure to reduce the amount of water accordingly. So if you use 1/4 cup espresso, reduce the amount of water by 1/4 cup. Adding melted to the batter will affect the texture. Try adding a little bit to see if you like the result, about 20-30g.

      Reply
  11. Imani
    August 26, 2016 at 10:45 am (1 month ago)

    Hello Shiran, from your comments the recipe sounds amazing. I am big on moist cupcakes and fluffiness. How would I convert the milk for buttermilk, additional hot water, and using oil instead of butter because I know the recipe calls for the creaming method . I will be making these cupcakes for Sunday Thankyou.

    Reply
    • Shiran
      August 26, 2016 at 12:19 pm (1 month ago)

      Hi Imani, if you’re using oil, you don’t need to use the creaming method, instead, mix all the wet ingredients together, then the dry ingredients and combine the two mixtures together. You can try to replace the milk with buttermilk. Keep in mind that each change would yield a different result. While oil adds fluffiness for example, the creaming method produces more cake-like texture.

      Reply

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