When asked what my favorite dessert is, I’ve never really had a definite answer – until I made these. See, me and peanut butter have this ‘special’ relationship that I just can’t describe. I’m sure some of you understand. And my guess is you’re either licking your computer screen right now or gagging at the thought of it, because peanut butter kinda seems like one of those things you either love or hate.
Understanding that everyone’s tastes are different, I’ll simply say it’s my opinion that you won’t find a more perfect chocolate cake or peanut butter frosting than this. Don’t love peanut butter? Don’t worry — these cupcakes are the perfect base for topping with anything your heart desires. Insanely moist, dark and rich, no one will ever know they are made with whole wheat flour and are low in sugar compared to many. Don’t worry, I won’t tell your other recipes you have a new favorite.
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
1/3 cup sugar*
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temp
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon buttermilk, room temp
1/4 cup sour cream, room temp
1/2 cup plus 6 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup dutch process cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
*If you find you like a sweeter cupcake, increase the sugar to 1/2 cup. Sweeter still? Also increase the brown sugar to 1/2 cup.
Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 12 tin muffin pan with paper liners or grease and lightly flour cups.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powders, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and sour cream, set aside.
With an electric mixer (hand or stand) in a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and slightly fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla and mix until well blended.
Next add the buttermilk and the flour mixtures, alternating one third of each at a time starting with the buttermilk and ending with the flour, beating on low speed. Mix just until blended.
Divide the batter evenly among 12 prepared cups and bake at 325° for 17 – 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Cool for about 15 minutes in the pan then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, place all ingredients in a large bowl and beat first on low speed, then on medium high until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Do note that I use natural peanut butter for this recipe, meaning nothing in the jar but peanuts. No sugar, no salt, no additives of any kind. You certainly can use a brand like Jif but it will make a much sweeter and intense frosting, and I don’t recommend it.
I use a pastry bag to pipe on the frosting, and if you do so, you can chill the frosting in the fridge a bit to make it easier to work with. Alternatively, you can simply spread it on with a butter or frosting knife right after making it. Just be sure your cupcakes are completely cooled or the frosting will melt right off.
If you use a pastry bag, I do recommend using a disposable one. After all, it is peanut butter, so you can imagine how fun the cleanup is 🙂
If you wanna go all out, top these babies with some mini chocolate chips or chocolate shavings after frosting. If you aren’t serving these right away or if you have any leftovers (fat chance), store them in an airtight container the fridge but allow them to warm back to room temperature before serving.
So now that I’ve hyped these up so much, I hope you aren’t let down, and I’d love to hear what you think. Enjoy!