Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes


With today being National Chocolate Cake Day (January 27th), I felt it was only appropriate to shower you with delectable, chocolate cake- in miniature form. And since National Peanut Butter Day fell on tuesday of this week, and with Valentine’s Day only weeks away, I’ve decided to combine them all into one amazingly, irresistible chocolate peanut-buttery dream- chocolate peanut butter Valentine’s cupcakes. Here is that chocolate rendition I promised earlier in the week, and they are soooo hard to resist inhaling at a whim. I’ve been using and tweaking this chocolate cake recipe for as long as I can remember, and it’s my husband’s very favorite. So without any further ado, here it is:

Chocolate Cake

     Recipe: yields approximately 30 cupcakes

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325.

Line a cupcake pan with cupcake holders and set aside.

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, oil, and buttermilk.

Mix until combined thoroughly.

In a bowl, bring water just to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and cocoa. This should make a thick sauce.

Stir into batter, and mix until just combined.

Fill each cupcake holder about 2/3 of the way with batter (about 1/4 cup).

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove them from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting


  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup & 1/8 cup sugar
  • 4 sticks of unsalted butter (2 cups), at near room temperature
  • salt
  • vanilla and/or peanut butter (or whatever flavoring/extract you’d rather add- the choices are endless, really)
  • Whatever gel coloring you want the frosting (optional)

Put the egg whites in a metal pan. Bring a pan of water to boil (as you would do melting chocolates, or use a double boiler). Make sure the water is low enough that it does not touch the bottom of the pan. This could cause the eggs to cook, which you do not want. Whisk the sugar into the egg whites, and add a pinch of salt (this will assist in breaking down the egg protein). Put the bowl over the boiling water, and whisk fervently until the temperature reached 140 degrees on a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, just whisk until the sugar has completely melted (test a small amount between your fingers- there should be no granules left). It usually takes about 2 minutes, but may take more or less. Once it reaches that state (or 140 degrees), immediately remove from heat and pour into the bowl of electric mixer. You can alternatively use a hand mixer, but it can take 15 minutes or more with a hand mixer (believe me, that’s how I had to do it for a LONG time until I got a stand mixer) and it can become very tiresome. Turn the mixer onto medium-high (or high for a hand-mixer).

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Beat until the egg whites reach a stiff peak, and completely cool to room temperature (10+ minutes), making sure to scrap the sides frequently with a spatula.

When they are ready, turn the mixer down to medium-low and slowly add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time until fully incorporated. You want them to be near room temperature or you’ll have chunks of butter in your frosting. You don’t want it too soft though, because then the frosting won’t quite be fluffy but more greasy and a little too soft. If the butter gets too soft, just pop it back into the fridge for a couple of minutes to get a slight chill.

In the middle of adding the butter, you might worry that something went wrong (the frosting looks like mush). Just keep adding the butter, and it will out of nowhere become a sweet, fluffy dream. You can even turn up the mixer some to help it “whip into shape”.

At this point, for vanilla buttercream, I will add 2 teaspoons or so vanilla extract. Since my goal here was peanut butter-themed, I added 1 tsp (although you can completely omit), and then added about 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. Make sure to fully incorporate it in the frosting, and tada! You are ready. Of course, you can add different colors. I used a pink rose gel and just kept adding a little at a time until I was happy with the color.

Heart Peanut-Butter Cups

Items needed:

  • Heart peanut-butter cup molds (I found these at Hobby Lobby, by Make ‘n Mold but you can use regular peanut butter cup molds if you can’t find them- I just thought they’d be perfect for Valentine’s Day)
  • Milk chocolate melts (or milk chocolate chips would work great, too! You can also use vanilla (white, red, etc.), or semi-sweet if you prefer).
  • Peanut butter

While your cupcakes are baking, cooling, or your frosting is beating on the stand mixer, prepare these cups. Each mold makes 9 peanut butter cups, so I had to do this several times. Melt a small amount of chocolate in a bowl in the microwave. Use a pastry or paintbrush to coat the bottom and sides of each mold, then pop the in the freezer for a couple of minutes to harden.

Next, fill each cup with peanut-butter, leaving enough room to cover the top with chocolate. Melt chocolate in a squeeze bottle or bag and flood the backs of the peanut-butter cups with chocolate, gently knocking the plastic mold on the counter to smooth it out. Return it to the freezer until solid, then turn them upside down on the counter and pop each one out gently. Reserve on a plate and repeat the steps.

Pipe the frosting on each cupcake, and top with a chocolate peanut-butter cup. Now, try to pace yourself and not eat half a dozen at once!