Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting

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These were a favorite peanut butter cupcake recipe a few years back. Since then, I’ve worked to perfect them. My updated peanut butter cupcakes recipe is extra moist, soft, and completely packed with peanut flavor. Using oil instead of butter, adding sour cream, and extra milk are the secrets. I would love to know if you try either recipe!

The best peanut butter cupcakes I've ever had. Top them with dark chocolate frosting for one out-of-this-world treat!

I’ve never shared my peanut butter cupcake recipe with you before and today I’m bringing the peanutbutteriest recipe I’ve made yet. I slathered these peanut butter cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting. This perfect pairing will give anything “decadent” you’ve ever tasted a run for its money.

You’ll be yearning for a tall glass of milk after your first bite!

The best peanut butter cupcakes I've ever had. Top them with dark chocolate frosting for one out-of-this-world treat!

After recipe testing, I’ve found that peanut butter cupcakes can either be (1) way too dry, (2) much too dense, (3) lacking peanut butter flavor, or (4) all of the above. I was often stuck in a peanut butter cupcake conundrum before this recipe came to life. Dark brown sugar, 2/3 cup peanut butter, 2 eggs, and a little milk work their magic to make these cupcakes extra delicious.

Update: And you know what? I have an even better peanut butter cupcakes recipe on my blog now. After several of you made the peanut butter cupcake recipe below and commented that they still tasted dry, I worked to improve them. I’m so pleased with the new peanut butter cupcake recipe, so let me know if you try them! I’m leaving the original peanut butter cupcake recipe below too!

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting by sallysbakingaddiction.com

While the peanut butter cupcakes cool down, prepare the creamy dark-as-midnight chocolate frosting. For the darkest chocolate flavor, I suggest using Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder. Don’t like dark chocolate? Try my Milk Chocolate Frosting instead.

Keep two very crucial notes in mind: (1) make sure your butter is properly softened. Let the butter sit on the counter for about 1 hour before beginning. (2) Beat the butter by itself for 1-2 minutes before adding anything else. This creates a nice creamy base.

I could eat the dark chocolate frosting with a spoon and be set for life. I’d also need my running shoes too, but that’s beside the point!

The best peanut butter cupcakes I've ever had. Top them with dark chocolate frosting for one out-of-this-world treat!

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Is there anything better than a peanut butter cupcake topped with chocolate frosting? Yes, there is. A peanut butter cupcake topped with chocolate frosting topped with a mini peanut butter cup. 🙂

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting

These were a favorite peanut butter cupcake recipe a few years back. Since then, I've worked to perfect them. My updated peanut butter cupcakes recipe is extra moist, soft, and completely packed with peanut flavor. Using oil instead of butter, adding sour cream, and extra milk are the secrets. I would love to know if you try either recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups (160g)  all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (170g) creamy peanut butter
  • 8 Tablespoons (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk*

Dark Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 and 3/4 cups (330g)  powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup (80g) unsweetened cocoa powder, I used Hershey's Special Dark
  • 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons (95ml) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line 12-cup muffin pan with liners. Set aside.
  2. For the cupcakes: Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. With a handheld or stand mixer, cream together the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar until light and fluffy; about 2 minutes on medium speed. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add in vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed. Slowly beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing until just combined. Do not over-mix. Batter will be thick.
  3. Divide batter evenly between 12 cupcake tins. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool before frosting.
  4. For the frosting: Sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder to assure there are no lumps. Set aside.
  5. With a handheld of stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until fluffy - about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sifted sugar/cocoa powder alternately with the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat on low speed after each addition. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too dark. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. I used Wilton tip #12 to pipe my frosting.
  6. Cupcakes stay fresh at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Store covered in the refrigerator is desired for up to 1 week.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Don't like dark chocolate? Try my Milk Chocolate Frosting instead.
  2. I usually use buttermilk in this recipe. Buttermilk will add extra moisture.

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174 Comments

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  1. Hi! Thanks for the recipe! I tried another recipe that was literally horrific and made me GAG lol, then tried yours and it was exactly what I envisioned when I set out to make a PB cake. However I too had dryness, and I wanted to know what I could do to help it? I thought about doubling or tripling the milk, but I wonder if that would make it too dense.. I thought apple sauce too but the PB is already so heavy I wondered if that would be too much too, then my last thoughts were either add oil, more butter or an extra egg yolk? I’m somewhat an amateur baker obviously, so maybe none of those are good ideas.. just let me know what you think i could do please! Also, I used a peanut butter glaze on mine! With a little more moisture I think this recipe tastes almost like the inside if a reeces cup! YUM!

  2. Way too dry! I even cooked at lower end of baking time range. I thought the batter might have been too thick – should have trusted my instinct and added way more milk / butter. 

    Frosting was very good. 

  3. Good flavor but I could barely make it through one cupcake. Too dense and rich–reminded me of a strange muffin. Also I had trouble with the icing. It was very thick and wouldn’t stick to the cupcake, which was odd. Although they weren’t a complete failure, I don’t think I will be making these again.

  4. I’ve made these three times now, and each time I’ve made them, they have come out really dry.

  5. Try using a combination of butter & oil. Butter for flavor & oil for moistness. Maybe 5 TBSP butter & 3 TBSP canola, melted coconut or other vegetable oil.

  6. I wanted to love these! I really did! They do taste good and the texture is good but they are dry, I read a few other people said this and I thought it’s probably their mistake but I followed this too a T, all fresh ingredients too. I had a lot to make so I messed with over mixing, under mixing and each batch is still dry. They will work, specially covered in frosting as they are not bad otherwise, kids don’t care lol

    1. Hey Annie! These cupcakes are on my list for a “makeover”– I know they can be a little more moist! Thank you so much for trying the recipe and reporting back.

      1. Ooh I cannot wait to see the makeover!! I am a peanut butter addict! But sadly after reading all the reviews, I have been reluctant to try them :'( Please keep us posted, Sally!

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