This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see our affiliate policy.
Peanut butter and chocolate are the lifelong besties of food, and these homemade Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting will prove it. Deep, dark buttermilk chocolate cake slathered with a soft and creamy peanut butter frosting…what a beautiful friendship. Bring a batch to your next party, but only if you want to delight absolutely everyone in the room.
These soft, luscious chocolate cupcakes are the most flavorful you’ll find, and they are perfect topped with lots of peanut butter frosting. Looking for more Peanut butter and chocolate? Try my no-bake peanut butter bars, peanut butter Buckeyes, peanut butter Blossoms, or my favorite Scotcheroos!
Lately, I‘ve been living by these words: Make It Count. In life, in work, and yes, even in food. Some fancy cupcakes look great, but by the time I put down my fork, it didn’t seem quite worth it.
And while this may just look like just another ‘best homemade cupcake recipe,’ look a little closer—it has all the sophistication of a real chocolate cake, just…smaller.
If you’re dreaming of chocolate cupcakes, ingredients matter. This recipe pulls out all the stops to ensure the most tender and luscious made-from-scratch chocolate cupcake imaginable. But it doesn’t stop there; I show you a super-easy peanut butter buttercream (can I just say peanutbuttercream?) that is, literally and figuratively, the frosting on the cake.
If you want to make it count, you couldn’t do better than these cupcakes.
Want to bake Chocolate Cupcakes for 100? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
How to make Chocolate Cupcakes from scratch:
First, brew some strong coffee, or grab an extra shot of espresso from your favorite coffee place. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream (gasp!) buttermilk, and that coffee you brewed.
In yet another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda.
Take turns adding the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture, while the mixer is on low speed. Don’t add everything at once, though, try to space it out into three batches. Mix until just blended.
Measure out ½ cup batter into each cupcake cup. I like to use cute cupcake liners, like these.
Bake at 350 degrees, for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. While the cupcakes are baking, it’s time to make the frosting.
How to make Peanut Butter Frosting:
To make the best peanut butter frosting you’ll ever have, mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt with an electric mixer. You may have to scrape down the sides of the bowl, because this part can get sticky. Once that’s blended, slowly add the heavy cream. Beat on high speed until silky and smooth.
What can you use as a substitute for buttermilk?
Make your own buttermilk, or switch it out using one of these suggestions:
- For each cup of buttermilk, you can use 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes.
- You can also use 1 cup of plain yogurt or 1 ¾ teaspoons cream of tartar plus 1 cup milk.
- Some people use a good quality plain, unsweetened yogurt in place of buttermilk, volume for volume.
Can you make this Chocolate Cupcakes recipe eggless?
If you’re avoiding eggs, you can use one of the following egg substitutes:
- Unsweetened applesauce: Using one-fourth cup of applesauce in place of one egg will work.
- Banana: Using one-fourth cup of ripe, mashed banana in place of one egg might be a nice substitution.
- Make a chia seed or flax seed egg: To replace one egg, whisk together 1 tablespoon of ground chia or flaxseeds with 3 tablespoons of water until fully absorbed and thickened.
What is the best cocoa to use for baking?
I love a deep velvety cocoa like the kind Guittard makes. It can be found online, and it also makes phenomenal hot chocolate.
What other frosting can you use for Chocolate Cupcakes?
Two of my favorites, just in case you have to have the cupcakes but want to pass on the peanut butter.
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine sugar, butter, milk and vanilla.
- Beat on medium speed until smooth and fluffy.
- Spread over cupcakes. Store in refrigerator.
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- ⅓ cup strong brewed coffee
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup melted butter
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine coffee and cocoa in small bowl of electric mixer.
- Beat until blended.
- Add sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla. Beat until blended.
- Scrape bowl, and beat icing until it is smooth and spreadable.
- Spread over cupcakes. Store in refrigerator.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
For the cupcakes:
- 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) butter room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar packed
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
To make the cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners and coat with nonstick spray.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and both sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. Then in another bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
- On low speed, add buttermilk mixture and flour mixture alternatively in 3 batches to mixer bowl, beginning with buttermilk mixture and ending with flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold batter with a rubber spatula to make sure it is completely blended.
- Divide batter among the 24 cupcake liners, using about ¼ cup batter per cup. Bake on rack in the middle of the oven for 19 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
- Cool completely before frosting.
To make the peanut butter frosting:
- Place the powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as you go. Add cream and beat on high speed until mixture is light and smooth.
- When the cupcakes are completely cool, frost each cupcake with peanut butter frosting and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.
Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.