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.