Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cupcakes

Some days, brushing your teeth or getting to the office on time feels like you’re climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. You know those days?

Those are the days that you pray you have some left-overs in your freezer and that there’s something good on TV that night.

I’ve been having quite a few of “those days” lately. By the time I get both ponytails dropped off at daycare and make my way downtown on the subway (which never seems to be running on time), I’ve feel like I need to grab a stiff drink instead of just a coffee. I’m even more tired at the end of the day, so I’ve been sticking to the meals that I know are fast and easy– and I haven’t been trying many new dishes.

I did manage to find the energy to make Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcakes for my husband’s birthday. Peanut butter cups are his favourite and I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate them into my desserts (like the Moose Tracks Ice Cream Pie). This recipe was fun to make with the girls because they could peel the peanut butter cups from the wrappers and drop them into the batter at the right time. I think they were worth the effort. Isn’t is always worth the effort to make things for your family?

I also made my own frosting this time and I was glad that I gave this a try. I must tell you that I never have the meringue powder usually required to make buttercream frosting and I don’t like to use egg whites when kids will be eating them. That’s why I’ve always just used icing from a tin. So, when I found a buttercream recipe that didn’t require either ingredient, I just had to try it. You can make this without the peanut butter for an all around buttercream frosting.

Chocolate Cupcakes With PB Cups

(Makes 18) Adapted from allrecipes; by Ladan

  • 1 bag peanut butter cups miniatures (320 grams/12 oz)
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the oil and sugar until well incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition; add the vanilla. Alternate adding the flour mixture milk; beat well.
  3. Add one scoop of batter to each paper liner, then add one peanut butter cup and top with one more scoop of batter. Liner should be just under ¾ full. Repeat until batter all used.
  4. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker’s Easy Vanilla Bean Buttercream

  • 2½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2½ – 3 ½ cups icing sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 6 tbsp peanut butter

In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about a minute. Add 2½ cups icing sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully incorporated, about 30 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Add remaining one cup of icing sugar (if using) and beat until incorporated.  Then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice. Add peanut butter and beat on medium-high for one minute until well incorporated.

Frost the cupcakes when cool.

Top each cupcake with a piece of pb cup (Cut each pb cup in half; cut each half in thirds)


  • I used an Atecco 843 decorating tip (closed star). I bought it at Placewares in St. Lawrence Market.
  • I found that this buttercream frosting recipe was just enough for 18 cupcakes when piping the icing. It would make more than enough for icing by hand.
  • Be sure to peel the paper liners off the cupcakes carefully, as the pb cup may stick to the bottom on the odd cupcake if you don’t peel carefully.
  • Given that there are so many nut allergies out there, I wouldn’t recommend making these cupcakes with peanut butter for a kids party. However, you could easily omit the peanut butter cups in the cupcakes and the peanut butter in the frosting.
  • I like the consistency of the buttercream with the extra cup of icing sugar added (35 cups in total).

35 Comments on “Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cupcakes”

  1. I know those days – but luckily while those actually mountain climbing have oxygen masks, we have these cupcakes – correction you do so wanna share? 😉
    Scrumptious 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  2. Ooooh.. this was so pretty to look at on a Monday morning when I feel like I need an oxygen mask.. when I’m feeling less overwhelmed I’ll come back for a second look.. and a third… soooo beautifully decorated!!

  3. Eva Taylor says:

    As proof, I will attest that these were FINGER LICKING GOOD! And you know I am not much of a dessert eater, but when someone (who shall remain nameless, JT) presents 1/3 of said cupcake on a lovely plate whilst I am blogging first thing on a Sunday morn, what can I do? Honestly? I had no time to go downstairs and demand a proper breakfast! No, I just shut up and ate it. Icing and ALL. I might have even licked the plate. Seriously. Good. Cupcake.

  4. Kristy says:

    How funny! I actually printed a similar recipe out last week to show to Mr. N for a birthday treat possibility. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are his favorite candy and that’s totally what these remind me of and I think I may give your butter cream a try – although I doubt mine will look nearly as pretty! 😉

    • I suspected that there would be lots of similar recipes out there. It is just such a popular combination. I hope that Mr. N picks something fun for his birthday treat and I hope to learn more about it on your blog! I was pleased with the buttercream, as I’ve always been hesitant to make my own. I know that yours will turn out great — you are such a great cook!

  5. Norma Chang says:

    Picture perfect frosting.
    Know very well about those days, that’s why I always cook for my freezer.

  6. Charles says:

    I know those days, and re: something being good on TV… I find it absolutely amazing that with about 200 tv channels that I have, there is frequently nothing worth watching on it!

    I love the look of the cupcakes Barb – very tasty looking.

    • I agree — there just doesn’t seem to be anything worth watching anymore. Good thing we have blogging to keep us busy! Thanks for your comment on the cupcakes Charles. I didn’t have any from this batch (that darn health kick) but I enjoyed a few from my first batch.

  7. Eva Taylor says:

    Hi Barb, I’ve just changed something in my settings and I wanted to see if my blog is connected to my name in the comment. Feel free to delete.

  8. I have these kinds of days, and I have no kids and work mostly from home, so can imagine how you must feel! These cupcakes look really awesome, Barb. I love peanut butter and chocolate together and love peanut butter cups. These babies with the minis and the peanut buttercream frosting, well, I can just imagine….and it’s making me really want one, or two! You know, I’ve never heard of using egg whites or powdered meringue in buttercream frosting and in fact, the recipe you have above with confectioner’s sugar, butter, milk or cream and vanilla has always been the way I’ve made it. Adding that PB can only make it better! 🙂

    • Betsy, I still have a couple left over so it’s too bad you didn’t live a little closer! Interesting that you’ve never heard of using egg whites or powdered meringue in buttercream — I wish I’d asked you about it sooner! I have Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes cookbook and that was one of my main sources…until I started a web search recently. Do you have that one? (I know we both share a cookbook addiction!)

      • I don’t have her cupcake book but I have her appetizer and hors d’oeuvres book…it’ll drive you crazy just looking at the pictures! 🙂 Wish I was closer, too, that cupcake would make a wicked bedtime snack…or breakfast!

  9. How fun! These look like such delicious cupcakes.

  10. Happy birthday to your husband. Sweet of you to make time for preparing these with your busy day. Also, you enlisted the help of your kids which always makes things more fun.
    They do look picture perfect and the flavors are hard to resist. Great post!

    • You’re so right — enlisting the help of your kids does make things more fun (although a little messier at times). Thanks for your compliment Tina and thanks for dropping by. I’ll head over to visit your site in a few minutes….

  11. Beth says:

    Happy birthday to your husband! This looks like a great way to celebrate. It’s always worth the effort to make something for your family, and it’s even better when the kids pitch in!

  12. Sissi says:

    Gorgeous! I cannot believe you have made such beautiful, equally sized and neat cupcakes. Whenever I decorate anything it’s always messy and every item looks different.
    The photo is excellent too! Even though I’m not a big fan of peanut butter in sweet dishes, I would happily grab one of these beauties!

  13. Karen says:

    I’m sure that the cupcakes were a very much appreciated birthday treat. They sound great and look lovely.

  14. If we had peanut butter cups in Australia these would be on my talbe right now. PBcups are one of the few things I really miss. Beautiful photos!

  15. Ambreen says:

    Wow! Looks fabulous & tempting! Thanks for visiting 🙂

  16. I completely understand the caffeine/alcohol conundrum! I typically go with caffeine but there are those times! I’m Pinning these little beauties 🙂

  17. Devil’s food! I’m drooling here 🙂
    (Glad I’m not in my prac lab with the tutor coming my way ;P)

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