Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Chocolate and peanut butter-truly a match made in heaven. Bringing these flavors together in way of a cupcake with a robust peanut butter buttercream frosting is almost too amazing to pass up. This cupcake recipe is fairly simple to make and the batter is generous, making a little over two dozen cupcakes. Another reason why I love this recipe so much is because it uses simple ingredients, including an all-purpose flour. I prefer to use unbleached, all-purpose flour in most of my baking recipes but an enriched flour will work well, creating a very fluffy cupcake. These bake quickly which means you can eat them sooner! In all seriousness, if you need to bring dessert somewhere and you’re short on time, this recipe will not fail you. The time is takes to make these isn’t much longer than the time it takes to bake a boxed mix so why not bake these from scratch? The real perk of this recipe aside from chocolate goodness and out-of-this-world flavor is that it can easily convert to a cake recipe. The hardest part of this recipe? Eating only one cupcake and resisting the urge to eat the frosting by the spoonful!
Let’s bake some cupcakes!
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES
2 cups granulated sugar
1 ¾ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
½ cup coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup boiling hot water
Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin/cupcake tin with parchment paper liners. In the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. After sifting, give the dry ingredients a whisk. Add eggs, one at a time followed by milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for about 1 minute. Slowly stir in boiling water until just combined. Fill cupcake liners about ⅔ full with batter. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes and allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the Peanut Butter Frosting
3.5 cups powdered sugar
1 stuck unsalted butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
In a stand mixer, whisk the powdered sugar and remaining ingredients on low speed. Slowly add in the heavy cream and increase to medium-high speed for up to 3 minutes. Gradually decrease the speed to low and mix for 1 minute to release any air in the buttercream. This will prevent air bubbles.
Some things to note about this recipe:
In place of coconut oil, you can use vegetable oil or oil of your preference. Melted coconut oil is my go-to oil in baking and I enjoy how it accents the chocolate flavor in this recipe but any oil works.
If you don’t have Dutch processed cocoa, try a dark cocoa powder like Ghirardelli’s 100% cocoa. The darker the cocoa, the higher the fat content which will give you a richer cupcake.
I’ve used both whole milk and buttermilk time and time again for this recipe. Buttermilk will give you a very rich and very moist cupcake. Whole milk will help to create a moist crumb but will be a bit lighter so keep this in mind as it’s a matter of preference.
Espresso powder compliments and enhances the chocolate flavor which is why I often add it to many of my chocolate recipes, but it isn’t necessary. I recommend King Arthur’s espresso powder for it’s incredibly fine texture.
In place of hot boiling water, consider adding 1 cup of hot, freshly brewed coffee. It’s an old trick and a good one for the same reasons as adding espresso powder.
Although I always prefer a natural peanut butter for regular snacking and meals, I use a typical jar of creamy peanut butter for this buttercream. Natural peanut butter has more oil and is pretty runny so it won’t hold well in a buttercream.
*To convert this into a cake recipe, grease and line 2 round, 8-inch cake pans. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans and bake on 350 ° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake(s).