Sweet chocolate and salty-sweet peanut butter will always be a winning combination in my book, and these Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes are a great example of it. These bite-sized cupcakes were inspired by the desire to add even more chocolate to a chocolate-covered peanut butter cup. The cupcakes each have a whole mini chocolate covered peanut butter cup (I used Reese’s, but there are plenty of brands that make similar sized candies) inside of a brownie-like chocolate cake batter. This gives you a good dose of chocolate, a good dose of peanut butter, and a baked good that manages to have the perfect ratio of those two elements.
To make these, I whipped up a relatively small batch of a fudgy chocolate cake batter. I filled each mini muffin cup almost half way up with batter, then pressed a miniature peanut butter cup into the center. The miniature peanut butter cups are the snack sized pb cups that typically come individually wrapped in foil. Then, I added a bit more batter to each one just to ensure that the peanut butter cups were fully enclosed in batter. I used small paper liners in my mini muffin cups, but if you are using a nonstick pan, the bite-sized cupcakes should pop right out after baking.
The finished cupcakes had a dark chocolate flavor and the sweet-salty peanut butter center that I was hoping for. The cake is fudgy and moist, although there is really only a thin layer of cake around the peanut butter cups. The cake is an excellent contrast in color and texture for the peanut butter cup in the center. Be warned: these are addictive, and because of their small size it is very easy to eat two at a time.
I felt that these little cupcakes were rich enough that they didn’t need any icing to top them off. Of course, if you get the urge to take them really over-the-top, you can top them with a bit of chocolate or peanut butter buttercream. These cupcakes are best when baked in mini muffin cups. If you don’t have a mini muffin pan and really want to try them in a full sized muffin pan, I recommend filling the pan only halfway up with batter, creating a flatter than standard cupcake to maintain the fudginess of the cake and the ratio of chocolate to peanut butter.
Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp water, warm
3 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp vanilla
24 miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 24-cup mini muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, egg and vegetable oil. In a small bowl, stir together water, instant coffee and vanilla, then add to sugar mixture. Whisk flour mixture into the bowl with the sugar, mixing just until everything is combined and no streaks of flour remain.
Place about 1 tbsp of batter into each cup of the prepared muffin pan. Place an unwrapped miniature peanut butter cup into the center of each cup, pressing down gently. Top with about a tablespoonful of batter, just enough to cover the peanut butter cup. It is better to have some batter leftover than to overfill your muffin pan. The cavities should be approximately 3/4 full, or slightly more.
Bake for 11-13 minutes, until cake batter is set.
Allow cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.