I have been in a serious cupcake-experimenting mood lately. Not so much with any more cake recipe comparisons, but more so as far as fun flavor combinations. A few weeks back I made some KILLER Triple Chocolate Cupcakes. Killer. They were so good, I wish I could have one right now, Mmmmmmm : ) Well, I don’t have any more of those left, but I do have some of these Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes, which are pretty darn good too! Since I am not a die-hard PB-choc fan, my love still lies with the Triple Chocolate Cupcakes.
These cupcakes were born out of a suggestion made by a commenter. Under my Chocolate Cupcake Comparison post, it was brought to my attention that I missed out on Glorious’ Treats Perfectly Chocolate Cupcake recipe. I had some free time the other day and thought that I might whip them up and throw them into the batch for comparisons sake. Well! It wasn’t until I had the cupcakes in the oven that I actually went through and read her post about the recipe. It turned out that the recipe was simply the Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe. Wouldn’t you know- I had actually already made that recipe and included it in the comparison! And to top it off I had found that I didn’t like it that much, so I was pretty upset to be doing it twice AND missing out on what I thought was going to be a really great chocolate cupcake recipe.
So I tried to turn things around for myself and turn these repeat cupcakes into something new and fun! Enter: Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes. I took a great recipe for homemade Peanut Butter Cups (which I will share with you later) and I simply used it as a topping for the cupcakes! Not too terribly inventive, but it definitely made for one delicious cupcake. And since I don’t like the Hershey’s recipe for chocolate cupcakes (far too delicate for any kind of topping), I used a better standard chocolate cupcake recipe. But if you want a knock-out chocolate cupcake you should use my personal favorite chocolate cupcake recipe from Cooks Illustrated. The only reason I didn’t use that here in the written recipe is because there are already multiple steps to this cupcake and I wanted to use a simpler cupcake recipe. Or if you want to make things really easy on yourself, use a box mix!
- For the Chocolate Topping:
- 32 ounces quality chocolate (semi-sweet, bittersweet, or milk), chopped
- ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening
- For the Cupcake:
- 2 cups very hot water
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour (11-1/4 ounces)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- For the Peanut Butter Cup Topping:
- ¾ cup salted butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (approximately 28 graham crackers)
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1-2 Tb heavy cream (can substitute half & half or whole milk)
- For the Chocolate Topping: Place chocolate, peanut butter, and vegetable shortening in large heat proof bowl. Set on top of saucepan of simmering water. Heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Set aside to firm up slightly.
- For the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
- In a small bowl, mix cocoa powder and water until it looks like a smooth chocolate sauce; set aside to cool. In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream butter and sugars until nice and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Slowly add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until batter and mix for 2 minutes. Add chocolate-coffee sauce mixture and mix the cake batter for 3 minutes on medium-high or until the batter is smooth.
- Fill each muffin cup until ⅔ full. Bake about 20 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- For the Peanut Butter Cup Topping: Beat together butter, powdered sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in enough heavy cream to make a light, spreadable, frosting consistency (be careful- too much yields peanut butter soup!). Set aside until ready to assemble (if too soft, set in the refrigerator).
- To Assemble: Using large ice cream scoop with release mechanism, dollop each cupcake with peanut butter topping. When thick enough, spoon chocolate topping over peanut butter topping.
Cupcake Toppings adapted from Not Your Mammas Cookie
Cupcake recipe adapted from Sweet, Savory Life