Oh yes, peanut butter and chocolate, a pairing right up there with peanut butter and jelly, cheese and crackers, Lucy and Ethel, Fred and Ginger…sorry I digress. I first saw these on Annie’s Eats and immediately bookmarked them, knowing I had to find a chance to make them. The opportunity came when I was asked to bring dessert to a baby shower for two good friends. I loved the frosting and the filling (it is the inside of a buckeye candy – a yummy chocolate-covered peanut butter treat) but was not crazy about the cake. I had my second opportunity to make these for my favorite guy to take to work and decided to try a chocolate cake recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks and substitute Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder for regular cocoa powder (*please note Hershey’s is not paying me to say this ;-). I also decided to fill the cupcakes with the peanut butter filling after they were baked and cooled. With these tweaks, along with sprinkling mini chocolate chips on top (my guy’s idea 🙂 have made this recipe one of my all-time favorite cupcakes. I used a star tip (details below) to fill the cupcakes which you can find online, in craft stores, or cake decorating shops and are generally very inexpensive (usually around $1). I use disposable decorating bags (which I wash and re-use).
**Please note – make sure to sift powdered sugar (for both filling and the frosting) prior to sifting cocoa.
Also, you could make these by hand it will just take a bit of muscle to beat the ingredients together and to get the icing whipped.
I am having cupcake withdrawal – please send help 😉
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
For the cake:3/4 cup butter, softened
3 eggs (at room temperature)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder*), sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (regular table salt)
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%), room temperature
28-30 paper liners
For the filling:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar), sifted
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I did not use natural peanut butter as I was worried it might ruin the consistency)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (I used neufchatel cheese – the 1/3 less fat, I just prefer the taste)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
Mini Chocolate chips to decorate
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Make sure eggs and milk are to room temperature and butter is softened (not melted).
2. Place paper liners in cupcake pan(s) (I only have one pan so I make these in batches).
3. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
4. Using an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add the sugar (about a 1/4 cup at a time). Continue to beat mixture until combined, stopping and scraping the sides as needed, about 3 minutes.
5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
6. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after each egg (1 minute total).
7. Add vanilla and beat until mixed.
8. Alternate adding flour mixture and milk, mixing at low speed after each addition until combined (scraping the sides as needed)
9. Scrape sides, switch to medium-high speed, and beat for 20 seconds.
10. Spoon the batter into paper liners in the pans (I divide batter in half so I don’t use too much in the first batch because I have only 1 muffin tin). Fill liners about 1/2-2/3 full.
11. Bake 25-30 minutes (I check for to see if they are done at 20 minutes then 25 to avoid over-baking). Stick a toothpick in the center of the cupcakes (I test at least a few if not all) and if it comes out clean or with a few dry crumbs they are done.
12. Place pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then take out cupcakes to cook on the rack.
For the filling
1. Combine the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until combined. Set aside, until cupcakes are cooled.
2. To fill cupcakes: fill a decorating bag with the icing (not completely full or it will be a mess, about half-way full) using a star tip (I used a Wilton #21 but you could probably use any tip with a decent opening), stick the tip in the cooled cupcake about 3/4 of the way in (almost to the top of the decorating tip – see picture below). Start filling the cupcake while you slowly pull the decorating bag tip out of the cupcake. I wipe the decorating tip off between each cupcake.
Frost the cupcakes as desired (I used a Wilton #12 tip) and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
Source: Cupcakes: Chocolate cake from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (12 Edition)
Frosting and filling from Annie’s Eats, originally from Proceed with Caution and Good Housekeeping
*Please note Hershey’s and Wilton do not know who I am and are not paying me to say I use their cocoa or decorating tips, I just bought the cocoa because it was on sale and I think it looks really pretty and those are the decorating tips my Mama bought for me long ago…okay thanks!