Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

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These luscious Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting have a dark chocolate cake made with buttermilk and the most creamy frosting. If you love peanut butter and chocolate, you’ll adore these cupcakes!

A cake stand filled with chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.


 

If you’re dreaming of chocolate cupcakes, ingredients matter. This recipe pulls out all the stops to ensure the most tender and moist 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.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for chocolate chip cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Buttermilk: To make your own buttermilk, in a small bowl, whisk 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice into ½ cup of milk. Let stand until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Step-by-step instructions

For the chocolate cupcakes:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners and spray with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together water, butter, and vegetable oil.
A lined muffin tin next to the ingredients for chocolate cupcakes.
  1. To the bowl of a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or using an electric mixer by hand, add flour mixture. Add melted butter mixture and mix on low speed until well combined.
A bowl of chocolate cupcake batter.
  1. Add eggs and beat until incorporated. Add buttermilk and vanilla and continue to beat until smooth, scraping down beater and sides of bowl as needed.
A bowl of chocolate cupcake batter.
  1. Divide the batter between the lined muffin tins, filling to about ¾ way full each (about ¼ cup).
Chocolate cupcake batter divided in a muffin tin.
  1. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs attached. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
A muffin tin full of chocolate cupcakes.

For the peanut butter frosting:

  1. To the bowl of a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or with an electric hand mixer by hand, beat butter until pale and fluffy., about 3 to 6 minutes.
A mixing bowl with butter creamed until softened.
  1. Add peanut butter, ½ cup of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Gradually add the remaining 3 ½ cups powdered sugar ensuring to beat after each addition until smooth.
A mixing bowl filled with peanut butter frosting.
  1. When the cupcakes are completely cool, frost each cupcake with the peanut butter frosting and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.
A cake stand filled with chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 24 Chocolate Cupcakes. The frosting yields about 4 cups frosting, enough for ¼ cup frosting per cupcake or for a 9-inch by 13-inch cake.
  • Storage: Store frosted cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Unused frosting can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • Freezer: Freeze unfrosted cupcakes in freezer-safe packaging, labeled and dated, for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature before frosting.
  • Chocolate frosting: You can make luscious homemade Chocolate Frosting with just 4 ingredients: Bittersweet chocolate, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt.
  • Vanilla frosting: This easy, fluffy vanilla Buttercream Frosting is a cinch to whip up. You just need 10 minutes and butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, heavy cream, and salt.
  • Chocolate cake: If you’re looking for a fun and festive Chocolate Cake to add to your baking repertoire, try a homemade Ding Dong Cake with a creamy marshmallow filling or a rich chocolate Texas Sheet Cake topped with a buttery cocoa frosting.
  • Chocolate + Peanut Butter: Craving more PB+C? Discover no-bake Peanut Butter Balls, Peanut Butter Pie, Homemade Twix Bars, Peanut Butter Bars, Puppy Chow, Ritz Cracker Cookies, Peanut Butter Buckeyes, Scotcheroos, and Homemade Snickers Bars.
A cake stand filled with chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, 1 cut open to show the inside.

Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between unsweetened cocoa powder and Dutch-processed cocoa powder?

Unsweetened cocoa powder is easy to find and widely available. It is also acidic by nature, unlike Dutch-processed cocoa powder which lacks acidity. Because unsweetened cocoa powder is easier to find and less expensive, most recipes suggest it and account for the associated acidity by including a neutralizing ingredient (i.e., baking soda).

Can I substitute natural peanut butter in the peanut butter frosting?

I love natural peanut butter and use it whenever I can, but for this recipe, the buttercream gets its smoothness from the smooth, creamy, sugar-laden peanut butter. I don’t recommend natural peanut butter here.

Can I freeze these Chocolate Cupcakes?

Yes, the cupcakes freeze well! Just be sure to freeze them unfrosted. Thaw at room temperature before adding a thick layer of peanut butter frosting.

More peanut butter treats

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting on a marble platter.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

These luscious Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting have a dark chocolate cake made with buttermilk and the most addictive, creamy frosting. If you love peanut butter and chocolate, you'll adore these cupcakes!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 24 cupcakes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 398
5 from 7 votes

Ingredients 

For the cupcakes:

For the peanut butter frosting:

Instructions 

For the chocolate cupcakes:

  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners and spray with non-stick spray.
  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together water, butter, and vegetable oil.
  • To the bowl of a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or using an electric mixer by hand, add flour mixture. Add melted butter mixture and mix on low speed until well combined.
  • Add eggs and beat until incorporated. Add buttermilk and vanilla and continue to beat until smooth, scraping down beater and sides of bowl as needed.
  • Divide the batter between the lined muffin tins, filling to about ¾ way full each (about ¼ cup). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs attached. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the peanut butter frosting:

  • To the bowl of a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or with an electric hand mixer by hand, beat butter until pale and fluffy., about 3 to 6 minutes.
  • Add peanut butter, ½ cup of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Gradually add the remaining 3 ½ cups powdered sugar ensuring to beat after each addition until smooth.
  • When the cupcakes are completely cool, frost each cupcake with the peanut butter frosting and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Notes

  1. Buttermilk: To make your own buttermilk, in a small bowl, whisk 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice into ½ cup of milk. Let stand until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Yield: This recipe makes 24 Chocolate Cupcakes. The frosting yields about 4 cups frosting, enough for ¼ cup frosting per cupcake or for a 9-inch by 13-inch cake.
  3. Storage: Store frosted cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Unused frosting can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  4. Freezer: Freeze unfrosted cupcakes in freezer-safe packaging, labeled and dated, for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature before frosting.

Nutrition

Calories: 398kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 4gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 238mgPotassium: 128mgFiber: 2gSugar: 38gVitamin A: 367IUCalcium: 23mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

  1. I made these last night and they are AMAZING. This is the best PB frosting I have ever had :) I halved the recipe to only make 12 cupcakes and it worked perfectly. New go to dessert!5 stars

  2. These look amazing!! I am helping with a retirement party. Do you think these would be ok to make mini? Thank you so much for sharing!!

    1. Hi Stephanie, thank you for your question! I haven’t tried it myself with this recipe, but I don’t see why not. The bake time would be reduced, I would start checking them around the 9-minute mark. I hope you love them! – Meggan

  3. Please proofread next time. You do not list eggs in the ingredients at all. I missed it until I was making them for a party. Can you please let me know how many eggs?

    1. Hi Chris, I am SO sorry. It’s 2 eggs at room temperature. I’m correcting it right now. I am so sorry again and thank you for taking the time to write and let me know. Sorry! – Meggan

  4. Could you use a 9×13 cake pan rather than cupcakes ? Would the same amount of frosting work for the 9×13 or would you have to make more ?

    1. Hi Jane, yes! There should be plenty of frosting as well, a typical 9×13-inch cake needs about 3 cups of frosting and this recipe makes about 4 cups. Enjoy! – Meggan

  5. Oh my. I’m running to the kitchen! Would you recommend regular or dutch process cocoa? Thank-you in advance. love and trust your recipes!

    1. Hi Sharon! You’re so nice, thank you! I recommend natural (regular) cocoa powder, not Dutch processed. The reason is, Dutch cocoa powder is not acidic so it will not react with the baking soda in my recipe. You’d have to use baking powder instead which I’m sure is possible, but I haven’t tested it that way so I don’t know what else would need to be changed in the recipe to make it perfect. I used regular because it’s more widely available in my experience. I’ve seen the Dutch-processed cocoa powder at Trader Joes, but I doubt everyone has access to that. So. Regular it is! I hope that’s what you have on hand! Thank you so much and you’re too kind, Happy Valentine’s Day. :D -Meggan