A peanut butter cup is nothing more than chocolate enrobing a salty-sweet peanut butter center in a small paper cup. This version of a peanut butter cup is still in “cup” format, albeit a larger cupcake size! These Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cupcakes should appeal to anyone whose mouth waters at the thought of a peanut butter cup and doesn’t mind a supersized package.
These are chocolate cupcakes topped with salty-sweet peanut butter and chocolate frostings. The cupcake recipe is a great basic chocolate cupcake that has a very strong chocolate flavor and a wonderful dark, decadent-looking color to it. They’re moist and tender, and good enough to go with any type of frosting you could want to put on top, even though they do go especially well with peanut butter. For the frosting, I used a national peanut butter brand (JIF) and got great results. Make sure to taste-test your frosting while you’re making it, since the frosting should have a hint of salt and you might need to add in a pinch if your peanut butter is a low salt variety.
When I was putting these together, I considered putting the peanut butter filling in the center of the cupcakes and topping them only with chocolate frosting to make them look like a regular peanut butter cup. When I did that, I found that I wanted more peanut butter than I could fit in the cupcake, so I switched to a thick layer of peanut butter frosting on top of the cake. This way, you get peanut butter cup flavors that are in better balance – and that means that you will have peanut butter and chocolate in every single bite of cake that you take.
Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup coffee (or water), room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Place liners in 12 cup muffin tins.
In a large bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, white sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt until thoroughly mixed.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, coffee (or water), buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Whisk coffee mixture into flour mixture until all of the ingredients are mixed in and no streaks of flour remain.
Fill muffin cups evenly with the prepared batter.
Bake at 350F for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, or with only a few crumbs.
Remove cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Peanut Butter Cup Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tbsp milk
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
In a large bowl, beat together butter and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in milk and gradually incorporate the confectioners’ sugar until frosting is thick, smooth and creamy. Add a little extra confectioners’ sugar if the frosting is not stiff enough, and a few extra drops of milk if it becomes too stiff. Taste frosting and add extra salt if necessary.
Set aside 1/4 of the frosting in a small bowl. Add cocoa powder and vanilla to this and beat until it is well blended
Use remaining plain peanut butter frosting top top each of the chocolate cupcakes. Top each peanut butter frosted-cupcake with a small dollop of the chocolate peanut butter frosting to finish off the cupcakes.
Note: Using a piping bag makes the process neat and easy, but you can also spread the frostings on with a knife.