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.

Buckeye Cupcakes

buckeyecupcakesA while ago I made chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, which were inspired by the chocolate-covered peanut. They were delicious, but I always thought they needed more peanut butter filling and a few tweaks to meet my desired chocolate/peanut butter balance. After a bit of thinking, I came up with this: the buckeye cupcake.

These treats use a basic chocolate cupcake recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens baking book, then get hollowed out and stuffed with peanut butter filling and topped with a cocoa frosting. In the future, I might use a chocolate buttercream instead – while they are delicious, they’re still not exactly what I’m after. And this, friends, is the beauty of baking…you can keep adjusting your recipe until you get exactly what you want!

Ingredients

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

Peanut Butter Filling

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • About 6 tablespoons milk

Cocoa Frosting

  • 12 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • About 6 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation

For the cupcakes, allow butter and eggs to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake tins with paper liners; this recipe makes 3 dozen cupcakes, so you’ll need to re-use one tin for your last batch.

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

In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, scraping the bowl often. Once all sugar is added, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat well.

Add flour mixture and milk alternatively in three batches, beating until just combine between each. Once all ingredients are incorporated, beat on medium speed for 20-30 seconds.

Fill cupcake wells half full and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pans for 1 minute, then remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on a wire rack before filling and frosting.

Make your filling: in a mixing bowl, beat peanut butter and butter together until smooth.

Add powdered sugar slowly, beating well after each addition.

Add vanilla, then add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time beating until well-combined.

Make your frosting: combine melted butter and cocoa powder, whisking very well until smooth. Place mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed for about 1 minute, then increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more.

Add 1 cup powdered sugar and beat on low speed, then add about half of the milk, continuing to beat on low speed, until combined. Follow with another cup powdered sugar and remainder of milk, beating on low until combined. Add remaining powdered sugar, then vanilla, beating until frosting is creamy and spreadable.

To assemble your cupcakes: core each cupcake and reserve scraps for another use.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop peanut butter filling into each hole and gently press down with an offset spatula. You’ll have about 1/3 cup of filling left over that you can reserve for another use.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop drops of frosting onto each cupcake and spread with an offset spatula.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

chocolate pb cupcakesIn the history of the world, has there ever been a more amazing culinary combination than chocolate and peanut butter? Absolutely not.

Granted, these foods are pretty nifty on their own, but putting them together was perhaps one of the best decisions ever made in the kitchen (or in general, for that matter). I think the chocolate-peanut butter combination is such a hit because it has great balance; it’s not too sweet or salty, so you get a bit of both kinds of flavors in one bite.

A few months back, several of the gals in my office and I were discussing the merits of the chocolate covered peanut, and the idea for these cupcakes was born. The recipes below are a combination of a chocolate peanut butter cupcake from Woman’s Day and a few other recipes I found online, but I have to admit that my first attempt at icing, using a different recipe, went totally awry. Though it tasted delicious, the consistency was all wrong, so I quickly substituted the chocolate drizzle icing that appears below for the last dozen cupcake that will go with me to the office tomorrow.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 12 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 eggs

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together until well-blended; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk milk and sour cream together until well-blended; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter and beat until well-combined.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.

Add flour mixture and milk mixture alternatively, starting and ending with the flour mixture and beating until just combined. Scrape sides of the bowl often.

Using a two-inch cookie scoop, scoop batter into prepared cupcake pans. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool completely before filling and icing.

Peanut Butter Filling

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plus about 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons milk

Note: I added more peanut butter to suit my preference, hence the “about 3 tablespoons” above. You can certainly just stick with the 1/2 cup if you like, but I found that additional peanut butter enhanced the filling flavor.

Preparation

In a mixing bowl, beat peanut butter and butter together until smooth.

Add powdered sugar slowly, beating well after each addition.

Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until well-combined.

Fit a piping bag with a 1/4 inch plain tip; insert tip into the top of each cupcake and inject the filling. Stop when the top of the cupcake begins to bulge, as you don’t want it to explode!

Chocolate Drizzle Icing

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • chocolate covered peanuts, for garnish

Preparation

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in cocoa powder, then remove from heat.

Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk and stir well until you reach a very smooth, drizzle consistency.

Using the teaspoon from your measuring spoons, scoop out 1 teaspoon of drizzle icing and spoon over each cupcake, spreading slightly to coat the entire top.

Gently press one chocolate covered peanut into the center of each cupcake; allow icing to harden before serving.