These Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes are drizzled with dark chocolate and topped with a peanut butter frosting. They’re perfect for when you’re in the mood for a decadent treat.
There are a few things in this world that I simply can’t resist. Cotton candy, stopping to stare at the stars on clear nights, and the combination of chocolate and peanut butter.
That’s why I had to make these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes. If you’ve been following Let’s Eat Cake, you know that we’re huge fans of the classic combination. We’ve made Chocolate Peanut Butter Fat Bombs and Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats before, but I thought it was about time we made something truly sweet!
And, what I love about this recipe is it’s so easy. The chocolate cupcake base just uses three bowls and you won’t need the mixer (for the cake bit). And, the peanut butter frosting has that super rich peanut butter flavor because it combines peanut butter with heavy cream, vanilla, powdered sugar, and a dash of salt. I did mention these were decadent, right?
What Type of Chocolate Is Best For These Cupcakes?
To make these cupcakes, I first created a rich chocolate cake base using Dutched cocoa and Private Selection 62% chocolate.
You can use any % of chocolate you want (including milk chocolate), but when I bake with chocolate, I prefer to choose a chocolate chip or chunk that has a higher cacao percentage. Since I’m already adding sugar to the recipe, I believe this helps the chocolate flavor still be front and center.
I’m a big fan of Private Selection chocolate – it’s always available at Ralphs, part of the Kroger Family of Stores, at a reasonable price and it tastes like the pricier Belgian chocolate chips that I have to special order. Quality and convenience makes their chocolate a win-win for me.
What Type of Cocoa Powder Should I Use?
No matter what chocolate chip percentage you choose, it’s imperative that you use Dutched cocoa powder. When you’re at the store (or hunting around in your pantry), look for cocoa powder that says Dutch-processed or processed with alkali. This is critical. Without it, your cupcakes will sink and be sad and you’ll be mad at me.
Trust me. It happened to me. On repeat. I wasn’t paying attention and couldn’t figure out why my chocolate cupcake recipe was not working! Batch after batch rose in the oven and sank in the middle. Turns out it was the cocoa I had been using. I switched up my cocoa powder and didn’t realize that I had swapped out my alkalized cocoa powder for a non-alkalized variety. The cocoa powder I used for this recipe can be found here and it combines both types, and is great if you can’t find cocoa that’s entirely Dutch processed. I’ll be doing a much longer post on the difference between the types soon.
But for now, just know that using Dutched cocoa powder will also result in a darker, fudgier chocolate cupcake, which goes perfectly with that peanut butter frosting.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake Tips
Here are a couple quick tips on how to make these the best chocolate cupcakes ever!
- You all know how much I love my mixer, but you don’t actually need it for the chocolate cupcake base! Instead, you’ll need just three bowls: two medium bowls (one for dry and one for wet), and one small bowl (to mix together the chocolate and boiling water).
- Use Dutched cocoa powder or a cocoa powder that’s a combination of Dutched and non-Dutched. I don’t want your cupcakes to sink!
- For pretty piping, use a 1M Wilton tip or an 825 Ateco open star tip. I used the latter for these cupcakes.
- To apply the optional chocolate drizzle without making a giant mess, place the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes on a baking sheet and wave a chocolate-filled spoon over the top.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
These chocolate peanut butter cupcakes have a rich, fudgy chocolate cake and are topped with a creamy peanut butter frosting.
- 1 cup sugar
- 4.1 ounces all-purpose flour (approx. 1 cup)
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. coarse kosher salt
- ¼ cup Dutched cocoa powder
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup buttermilk (shake first)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. white vinegar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp. Private Selection chocolate chunks (1 ounce)
- 3 fl. oz. boiling water
Peanut Butter Frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
- 1/8 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners.
Place sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in small bowl. Stir until combined. Set aside.
Whisk egg, buttermilk, vanilla, vinegar, and oil together in medium bowl. Set aside.
Place chocolate chips in small bowl. Bring one cup of water to boil and pour 3 fl. oz. over chocolate chips. Stir to combine. Pour into egg mixture and whisk until combined.
Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until combined.
Fill cupcake liners using ¼ cup measuring cup.
Bake for 20-24 minutes or until tops bounce back slightly.
Peanut Butter Frosting
Place butter and peanut butter in bowl of stand mixer and combine on medium high speed for 1 minute.
Add confectioner’s sugar. Cover and combine on medium high speed until mixture is even consistency.
Add vanilla extract, heavy cream, and salt. Combine on medium high until mixture is even consistency.
For the chocolate drizzle, combine ½ cup chocolate chips or chunks and 1 Tbsp. coconut oil. Heat in microwave for up to 2 minutes at 50% power stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Place cupcakes on baking tray and drizzle melted chocolate by waving spoon above cupcake.
- To achieve the amount of frosting seen in the photos for all cupcakes, double the frosting recipe.