Moist chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, chocolate ganache, and peanut butter cups. These cupcakes are the ultimate chocolate and peanut butter dessert!
If you follow me on Instagram you may remember seeing a sneak peek of these cupcakes a few weeks ago. I know a lot of you love chocolate and peanut butter, so I’ve been wanting to create a chocolate peanut butter cupcake for a while now. And these cupcakes deliver! These are literally like a Reese’s peanut butter cup in cupcake form.
I originally planned to stuff these cupcakes with a peanut butter cup in the middle. But, since the cupcake batter is so thin they sunk straight to the bottom and stuck to the liners. It was not pretty. So I decided to just top them with the peanut butter cups and I think they actually look better that way.
This recipe for chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting requires a few ingredients you may not keep on hand, but everything is easy to find at the grocery store. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:
- All-purpose flour: Spoon and level the flour when measuring it.
- Cocoa powder: I recommend using unsweetened natural cocoa powder.
- Baking powder and baking soda: Gives the cupcakes a little lift.
- Salt: Balances out the chocolate flavor.
- Sugar: I used a blend of brown and granulated sugars to add sweetness and flavor.
- Oil: Keeps the cupcakes moist. Use vegetable or canola oil.
- Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can try making your own.
- Egg: To help bind everything together.
- Vanilla extract: Use pure vanilla extract, if possible.
- Water: Should be boiling hot.
- Instant espresso powder: Doesn’t make the chocolate cupcakes taste like coffee, it simply enhances the flavor.
- Butter: I recommend using unsalted butter since the amount of salt in salted butters can vary between different brands.
- Peanut butter: Use creamy peanut butter from a brand like Jif or Skippy. Natural peanut butter doesn’t work as well in the frosting.
- Powdered sugar: This sweetens and thickens the frosting. You may need to sift the powdered sugar if it seems lumpy.
- Heavy whipping cream: Should be at least 36% fat. Helps thin out the homemade peanut butter icing while still keeping it creamy.
How to Make Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
You’ll start out with my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe. I’ve been using this cupcake recipe for a while now and it never fails. The cupcakes always turn out super chocolatey, soft, and they stay moist for days.
You’ll also be topping these cupcakes with an easy peanut butter frosting. Remember my post about how to make buttercream frosting? The recipe for this frosting is pretty similar, with the addition of some peanut butter and a little less powdered sugar. I found that 2 cups of powdered sugar was just enough to create a nice thick frosting that piped well and wasn’t too sweet.
And the ganache? Is it not just so gorgeous dripping down the frosting on these Reese’s cupcakes? I did a post last week about how to make ganache and it’s extremely easy. All you need is a little chocolate, heavy cream, a microwave, and 5 minutes. You do want to let the ganache cool some before you spoon it over the frosting, so it doesn’t melt it.
Then, you’ll cut some miniature peanut butter cups in half and stick them on the cupcakes. You can leave the peanut butter cups off if you want or just buy a small bag to use. I really love the extra little treat on top of the cupcakes. It’s like a dessert on top of a dessert!
Can I Freeze These Cupcakes?
You can freeze the frosting and cupcakes separately in a freezer bag, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before frosting. Or you can frost the cupcakes, freeze them on a baking sheet first, then store them in a freezer bag.
Can I Use This Recipe to Make a Layer Cake?
Yes, you could double the cupcake recipe and bake it in two 9-inch cake pans or three 8-inch cake pans. The frosting will either need to be doubled or multiplied by 1.5 — it depends on how much frosting you like!
- If you want to use a box mix for these cupcakes, you can do that as well, but don’t let homemade cupcakes intimidate you! I promise they’re easy to make and you can mix everything up in one bowl.
- The recipe will make 16 cupcakes, so if you have 12-count muffin pans you’ll need to bake them in separate batches. I actually bought a 24-count muffin pan a while back and I LOVE it. A lot of cupcake recipes make more than 12 cupcakes, so it’s great to be able to bake them all at once. If you don’t have one and love to bake, a 24-count cupcake pan is a great investment. Trust me!
- If making this recipe ahead of time, I recommend storing the cupcakes in the fridge and bringing them to room temperature before serving.
More Chocolate Peanut Butter Desserts!
- Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Cake
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars
- Soft & Chewy Monster Cookies
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie
- Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
For the chocolate cupcakes:
- 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (100 grams) brown sugar
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) oil
- ½ cup (120 ml) buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120 ml) boiling water
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
For the peanut butter frosting:
- 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter , softened
- 1 cup (250 grams) creamy peanut butter
- 2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chocolate ganache
- 8 miniature peanut butter cups , unwrapped and cut in half
To make the chocolate cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two 12-count muffin pans with 16 cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined. Add in the oil, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla extract and mix until just combined.
- Add the instant espresso powder to the ½ cup boiling water and mix until fully dissolved. Add to the mixing bowl and mix until everything is just combined. The batter will be thin, this is okay.
- Evenly distribute the batter between all 16 cupcake liners, making sure to just fill each one a little over halfway full. Bake at 350°F for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven, carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the peanut butter frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Add in the peanut butter and continue mixing until well combined with the butter.
- Add in the powdered sugar, heavy whipping cream, and vanilla extract and mix on medium-high speed for about 1 more minute until the mixture is thick and creamy. Pipe on the cooled cupcakes, top each one with chocolate ganache, and half of a miniature peanut butter cup.