My sister Lara is the cupcake goddess, and inspired this recipe. She made an over-the-top Cupcake Table for a family bridal shower and had a chocolate one with a full size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in the center. OMG. This should be the National Dessert of the United States. Her trick was to put a full-size peanut butter cup in the muffin pan BEFORE baking! My Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes recipe uses Hersey’s Special Dark coca powder in both the cake batter and frosting to give it an especially deep, dark color and decadent chocolate flavor. This recipe makes 36 chocolate cupcakes, enough for a large party. For even more yummy fun, mix it up and make a variety of dark chocolate cupcakes.
I split the cake batter into three types: White Chocolate Malted Milk filling and Malted Milk Balls on Top, Triple Chocolate with Hersey’s Special Dark candy bar on top, and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting and a mini Reese’s on top.
The cupcakes can be made ahead of time and frozen until ready to frost. Hmmm…a freezer full of dark chocolate cupcakes with a peanut butter cup in the center. Why didn’t I think of this years ago!
- I used a Wilton 24-muffin pan and one 12-muffin to make the cupcakes. The 24-muffin pan is very handy!
- For easy decorating, frost the cupcakes with reusable pastry bag and a Wilton 1M or 2D tip. Clean up is easy.
- Regular Dutch process cocoa will work too, however dark cocoa powder is my fave.
- For a quick cupcake use a cake box mix for the cake batter.
- Some professional bakers use a butter-flavored shortening in the frosting for better structure and longevity.
- If you decide to core a hole in the center and fill with a ganache or filling, use an apple corer for fast and easy results.
- The cupcakes are best served very cold. These cupcakes are loaded with butter and chocolate and will easily melt on a warm day. Not a pretty picture if serving them to toddlers.
- I found a 3-tiercupcake storage holder on Amazon that are perfect for storing/transporting 36 cupcakes with high frosting. If you make a lot of cupcakes this is a perfect accessory.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
- 1 cup Dutch process cocoa
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup butter softened (2 sticks)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cold coffee
- Paper baking cups
- Vegetable cooking spray
- 1 cup butter 2 sticks, softened
- 1 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
- ⅔ cup whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 16-oz. packages powdered sugar
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
Make Cake Batter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine cocoa and 2 cups boiling water in a large glass bowl, stirring until blended and smooth. Let cool completely. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to speed the cooling process.
Place paper baking cups in standard-size muffin pans, and spray the inside of each cup with cooking spray.
In a stand mixer, beat butter for at least 3 minutes or until pale yellow and creamy.
Add the sugar one-third at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating for at least one minute after each addition.
In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
At low speed, add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture alternating with the cooled cocoa mixture.
Add the cold coffee toward the end of the mixing. Be sure to begin and end with the dry ingredients. Beat the mixture well until well blended and smooth.
Using a standard size ice-cream scoop, place a small amount of batter into the bottom of each cup. Place one full size peanut butter cup on the batter, and add more batter until the cup is two-thirds full.
NOTE: If you are making both peanut butter and regular chocolate cupcakes, just fill the rest of the cup 2/3's full with batter.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely.
Note: The cupcakes can be frozen at this time and kept in the freezer until needed.
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
Reduce speed to lowest setting. Add cocoa powder, cream and salt and slowly mix until well incorporated.
Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended.
Beat at high speed 2 minutes or until creamy and fluffy.
Makes 6 cups.
Can be stored in the fridge until ready to frost.
NOTE: You can use the chocolate frosting as is at this point for frosting a variety of cupcakes, or remove enough frosting for the peanut butter cupcakes. If making chocolate peanut butter frosting, continue with the recipe. Since regular size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups come in packs of 12, I made 12 peanut butter cup cupcakes.
For 12 cupcakes, remove 2 cups of the chocolate frosting to another small bowl.
Mix the peanut butter into the frosting at low speed until smooth and creamy.
Can be stored in the fridge until ready to frost.