Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

chocolate cupcakes with pb buttercreamYou know how sometimes you have a chocolate peanut butter dessert and it’s not at all what you wanted it to be? The chocolate is too bitter or sweet, the peanut butter is too sweet or salty, one flavor overpowers the other, or the whole thing is just too heavy and rich?

This is not one of those desserts.

This, my friends, is the most delicious combination of chocolate cupcakes and peanut butter frosting I’ve ever made. The cupcakes, originally from the Nestlé Very Best Baking blog, offer a tender texture and smooth chocolate flavor, while the frosting is just sweet, salty, and peanut buttery enough. If left to my own devices, I could have eaten the entire batch.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk

*I actually use Nestlé baking cocoa and find that sifting it into the flour yields a more even texture, although the original recipe did not call for sifted cocoa. 

For the frosting

  • 12 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • About 2 tablespoons milk

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-count cupcake pans with paper liners; this recipe makes 24 cupcakes.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla extract.

Add flour mixture and milk in three alternate batches, beginning and ending with the flour and scraping the sides of your bowl well, beating until smooth.

Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of batter into cupcake wells.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately remove cupcakes from pans, cooling completely on a wire rack.

To make the frosting, beat butter and peanut butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes; mixture will be slightly lumpy. Scrape down the bowl and add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well between each addition. Add 1 tablespoon milk, then beat for 1 minute; if frosting is too thick, add another 1 tablespoon milk to think it out and beat for another 2-3 minutes until very light and fluffy, scraping the bowl well a few times. You want a fluffy texture that will be easy to pipe.

Fit a large piping bag with the tip of your choice; I used a Wilton 1A, which requires a 14-inch pastry bag and large coupler set.

Pipe frosting onto cupcakes in generous swirls or blobs. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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